16″


   The heron stands on the branch in the creek like he owns it, again this morning. I’m calling it Janssen, after the conference center located opposite, part of Penn State University, Berks Campus.

    Herons are out and about flying, fishing, and keeping busy.

   About midway in the walk out, a robin rests at the base of a tree that was recently marked with spray paint numbers. It is a plump, older bird.

Robin Clings to Tree, Life by Allison Huyett

    When I reach the same point on the way in, the robin has moved into the path. Its motion is that of a stunned or dazed bird. It tips over when it walks. I feel sorry for it. Either it is ill, or  it has struck something, like a window, or something has struck it, like a moving car.

   It walks and rests.  A man comes bicycling along the edge of the path. 

    “Watch out for the bird!” I say.

    He lays two and a half feet of skid marks in the screenings.

  “Usually they fly away, ” says the bicyclist.

   “It’s hurt,” I say.

    The robin hops and walks and teeters into the grass along the edge. I think it will be all right. I replant a length of wild geranium someone pulled out at the root. It is a seven-day and a sticker that reads 16″ is on the path.

   Four more herons on the way back, including this one framed by wild roses:

Heron with Wild Roses by Allison Huyett
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