[Tweeters] My Office Window

jeff gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sat Mar 24 17:43:19 PDT 2012

I have a short film clip that occasionally surfaces in my mind. In my imagination I'm floating very slowly down some exotic jungle stream in a canoe when I spot a bird perched on a log near the bank. Obscured by tangled branches, I can only see little bits of it at a time: a bit of crisp white and black; a smooth expanse of tan, like ornately textured suede; a glimpse of glowing iridescent purple and Quetzal green; a patch of bright iridescent blue sharply edged with black and white stripes; flashes of bright red-orange and yellow; and lastly a patch of deep glowing chestnut. Quivering with anticipation I round a bend and there the bird is wholly revealed- A male Mallard.

I got a taste of that sort of excitement just the other day. I was sitting in my field office (front seat of little toyota truck). Blessed with great windows (a lot easier to drive that way) I had a nice view of my temporary locale; parked facing the riparian swamp at Everett's Rotary Park, on the Snohomish River. With the sun at my back, mid-day I was contemplating the tangle of sunlit branches beneath the towering swamp Cottonwoods. Back a bit into this tangle were a few patches of standing water. In the quiet I heard a Mallard back there somewhere.

Soon a bit of movement revealed a male Mallard, and much as in my mental movie, little bits of it were visible as it moved behind the scrim of branches, and in and out of little patches of dappled sunlight. Quite a bird, it soon moved back farther into the shadow. Noticing another movement I lifted my binocs up, expecting another Mallard, when a brilliant male Wood Duck emerged into a spotlight of sun, every detail of it clearly revealed. Like a lot of great art, it's all in the lighting sometimes. With the lighting just right it was about the clearest view of a Wood Duck I've ever had. Soon a female emerged also fabulously lit; I was able to notice a bit of iridescence on the females head, which I've never seen before, and really enjoyed the subtleties of the females spots, which I noticed are not hard -edged, but soft as if they'd been airbrushed on.

While I thought I was being quite stealthy there sitting in my truck, the drake Woodie had my number and was staring at me with vigilance,while the female quietly fed. In the background the male Mallard re-emerged, and possibly feeling 'covered' by the Wood Duck lookout, was busy feeding it's face like person at a food-eating contest. Still good lookin' though.

Another day at the office.

Jeff Gibson'
Everett Wa

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