Hold my M-40, I’ve gotta find my bird book

by tobias crabtree

21 years ago, give or take a month or two, I came to a stop on a steep hillside.

my buddy, Brian, waited patiently for me to move, I was looking down

at a nest with two blue-ish eggs the size of jelly beans in a miniscule nest laced

into the branches of a dead mustard plant.


Brian moved to my side and asked me why I was stopped.

Time is of the essence during this kind of training, clocks tick

and superiors comb the terrain with high-powered lenses.

There is not space in the day for contemplative moments and tiny wonders.


But there we were, in the hinterlands above the pacific, as witnesses

of a secret place where life moved under blue-ish calcium husks

and where helicopters searched for two snipers in training

and where the Future stood on it’s tippy toes to look back and see how Now would arrive.


And Now arrived yesterday as I sat in line for a coffee, Brian at the wheel,

and we talked as old friends do, about anything, because we can.

and I pointed at the California Gnatcatcher in the spindles of a tree

as he looked under leaves for spiders, hiding from the rain.