Saturday, March 7, 2009

Correction and direction

The sharp-eyed Sam Venable informed me I had misidentified the hawk in my Feb. 27 post. What I purported to be a red-tailed hawk was actually a red-shouldered hawk. I checked a secondary bird book and Sam was spot on. The red-shouldered hawk is a mite smaller than the red-tailed and has a rust-colored breast instead of the red-tail's light-colored breast.

I was explaining my faux pas to a neighbor when he asked a tough question: Why do you write Deerfield Diary? A good question without a ready answer.

Ernest Hemingway said that you can only know something if you write it or paint it. Since I don't paint, writing is my outlet. I believe I was placed here on this scraggly but very-alive 10 acres in East Tennessee for a reason. It seems only fitting that I should pay close attention to what is likely to be the last chapter of my life.

When I swing a leg over the steering wheel of my tractor, I'm taken back to summers on my grandfather's farm in West Tennessee. When I plant something, I think about the miraculous cycles of life. I walk the woods in wonderment, mulling over how much I have to learn about the ground under my feet. I grow younger as I age.

This piece of earth teaches me. Where else would I have learned the difference between a red-tailed and a red-shouldered hawk and that the wood from the lowly locust tree is the prime wood in the manufacturing of xylophone keys?

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