I'd like to share a  passage from a wonderful novel I recently read, "The 
Yellow Birds" by Kevin Powers, which takes its place alongside Tim Obrien's 
"The Things They Carried", Mailer's "The Naked and the Dead", and Remarque's 
"All Quiet on the Western Front"  -- this time the setting is the Iraq war. The 
protagonist is by a stream near his Richmond, VA home -- it's an magical 
experience most birders have had or at least can envision with a large wader 
but just can't express nearly as well:

"My feet were in the water, and the river ran docilely by and I was hardly a 
speck on the landscape and I was glad. An egret flew just over my shoulder and 
skimmed the water so close and I thought there was no way a body could be so 
close to the edge of a thing and stay there and be in control. But the tips of 
its wings skimmed along the water just the same. The egret didn't seem to mind 
what I believed, and it tilted some and disappeared into the glare of the gone 
sun and it was full of grace."

I see that Brett Bonkamp's brilliant bit of Hammond's flycatcher satire has 
been censored from the archives. Thus, it seems that when posting especially as 
the Holidays approach and an insane 2017 comes to a close -- and while I enjoy 
a good put down as much as the next person -- perhaps we should all give a 
listen once again to John Prine's "People Putting People Down". 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY0VmRR8FHU  Or better yet, spend some time 
admiring his amazing canon listening to Sam Stone, (apropos the war novels, I 
guess), Hello in There, Souvenirs, Paradise, Angel from Montgomery or Lake 
Marie.

Good flycatchers to all.


L. Trachtenberg
Ossining



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