Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bird and Birds: Writers' Workshop

One of the reasons I began this blog was to practice the craft of writing. As part of this undertaking, I discovered a lovely community over at Pictures, Poetry, and Prose, aka PP&P. Laura Jane daily posts a picture and a prompt. Sometimes I dive into the pool of creativity and make a splash.

Since not all of my readers follow that blog, I've decided to post a copies of most of my contributions to PP&P on this site. I'm also posting a link to the photographer sites and the original PP&P site. For the adventurous, you can see more photos and read more entries on the picture of the day. Perhaps you'll be prompted to wade in too!

Today, I've pulled two stories that loosely share a common topic: birds.

Photo by Jim Pankey "WildSpirit"
Jim's Photography can be found at Picasa and fotonothing

(Here's where the picture and prompt appear on PP&P with the contributions of others.)

My poem:

A Complementary Hummingbird

What marvelous evolutionary adaptations!

What improbable aerodynamics!

What lovely shades of green, yellow, and lavender!

What? A non-bug-eating bird?

What? No more overly brittle eggs?

Pretty bird!

Lured by the sumptuous scent of the lavender-hued blossom, the hummingbird suspended its flight mid-air and hovered miraculously in an apparent defiance of gravity.

Scientist, engineer, artist, entomologist, environmentalist, child, and poet:
complementary paradigms converging for a moment in time.

The second "bird" post is based on the following photo and my past:

Photograph by Tammy Vitale
Visit her website -

Here is my post and the originals at PP&P:

Closing Time

The college Job Finding Center had been helpful, and I had a job: groundskeeper at a large private residence. I'd been working for a month or two when it first happened: they came.

My school schedule allowed me to work late afternoons, and as the days were shortening, I soon found myself working until early dusk. The combination of working late and the change of seasons brought about my encounter with the birds.

Each day, about 45 minutes before dusk they would arrive in the avocado trees of the estate. It was as if they were waiting, waiting to go home before the sun finally set.

I was working in the avocado grove doing weed control when the first bird arrived, a fore-runner of the coming flock. They gathered in the trees until the sun began to fade, and then they moved up the hill to higher ground.

I'd like to think they were enjoying the sunset over and over again, but I think the sun was escorting them to their roosts. The day was ending for them, and it was almost time for me to go home too. It was closing time.


  1. Don, I enjoyed reading both pieces. I like how you elevated the hummingbird to his rightful place as an evolutionary miracle. I can feel your admiration for this fine feathered friend in your questions. The second piece was also lovely in spirit as you think of these birds as companions to the end of the day. Keep writing Don! I agree that Pictures, Poetry and Prose is a wonderful place to exercise our creative muscles.

  2. @septembermom: Thanks for the comments. Hummingbirds are amazing. I was also playing with the concept of how different specialties view the same thing through different "lenses." Who's right? (They all are!) Fiction is fun, because you can embed your personal philosophy/insights in an unobtrusive manner.

  3. You reminded me of something that happened on my trip...we had just gotten to Doughton Park (where we hiked to catch that sunset) and were lugging our luggage along the outside balcony. I stopped and looked over at my friend, and out of nowhere, a hummingbird flew between us and hovered there!

    And I had never seen one before in my life (in 'person') until then. Very cool bird.

  4. @Saphron: Bird sightings are special gifts from Above. Congrats on your first *real* sighting of a hummingbird. Their quickness gives you an appreciation of what it takes to capture them with a camera.