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November 5th 2010    Tim Candler

    Sanderlings have the black legs and the shorter beak and they are the ones that feed on the edges between surf and sand.  As well they have busyness and those qualities of busyness that suggest a purity of lifestyle.  Like Field Sparrows.  And like Field Sparrows a Sanderling that snatches an edible morsel must fairly quickly decide to eat it otherwise others will follow after him with questions.  When food is plentiful those questions contain qualities of curiosity, but when food is scarce those questions increasingly simplify into “mine not yours.”

     It would be nice to think that if ever I am beside the sea again I’ll remember what a Sanderling looks like.  Past suggests that in perhaps two days time Sanderlings and fish and salt air will be gone to what I loosely call memory.  There they will fester a while, slowly become less visible, ooze their way into the categories I may or may not have seen.  Categories which as time passes become increasingly diverse and I have to say increasingly subjective.

    

    The Whale Headed Stork, the Caribou Stork and the Crested Crane have their places in memory.   They are I suppose lighthouses to the families of birds with longer legs, unpleasant feeding habits and the ability to dance.   Weaver Birds, Bee Eaters and  Banana Quit all have marked the color yellow as curious rather than cowardly.  Swallows and Cuckoos,  distant lands where the sun shines also.   Magpies.  The Herring Gull.  Starling.   And I have heard of Albatross who range the Southern oceans and North Pacific, and wouldn’t it be nice to go there to watch them fly.

      Inevitable that time away be viewed as an opportunity to refresh.  Examine being.  And I look to see what new thing I might have acquired.  Something that adds to the horizon.  Makes time stop a while.  And I find that the Sanderling is no Field Sparrow.  He is parts to observe, a collectable.   So now I know how it would feel to see a Crested Crane, or a Weaver Bird again.  They would look at me and I would hide my face in the way that a deserter might.

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