The Sandpiper

By Linda Schandelmeier

At the edge of the muskeg ponds,
near the place
where the boardwalk turns
toward the mountains,
a solitary sandpiper
bobs on its greenish-yellow legs,
probing for insects in the murky water.
Sun shifts through jumbled branches,
a wisp of breeze keeps away mosquitoes,
and cobbly rocks line the dry creek bed
we hike over.
Flowers unroll everywhere,
the yellow and rose louseworts,
violets, nagoonberries,
smolder with color.
But the bird with its
brown and white-splashed feathers,
long beak and elegant legs,
and unassuming grace and form,
is breathtaking.
As we approach
it flies to the top of a ragged spruce tree,
its wary high-pitched call
echoing off the wall of trees.
That call opens inside me.
It knows life’s sorrow and desolation,
even today, this day in June,
punctuated with such impossible sweetness.

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