Three days after Easter I see my first red-winged blackbird by the river.
I was sitting on the porch after supper. It was my son who spotted them first, and told me, face flushed with excitement. Then I realized I had been hearing them for the last ten minutes, but my eyes had been focused elsewhere. I hadn’t recognized them.
As soon as I begin to scan the bushes, I see him. He perches in the young sugar maple, calls loudly, and ruffles his bright patched wing as if to say, “Look! It is me. I am here!”
Birdsong of all kinds sounds through the mist of the chilly evening, giving the valley a hidden, intimate feel. An eagle appears from the blurred edges, noiseless, a shadow that merges into other shadows of spruce upstream. But I am fixed on the flash and fortissimo of red by the river.
Why do birds sing in the evening? A dozen reasons there may be, shrouded in mystery, to my understanding at least. But I know one of them.
The red-winged blackbird sings after supper to remind me that spring comes to every valley, and my own shall be exalted.