Features

Checking In

By Rebecca Moon Ruark

The osprey came back.

They came back, like they do each Spring, to perch where they will, high above the marine yard, atop the athletic field light poles, and in the stern of an abandoned sailboat on the river. The osprey own that boat now; it will never again sail the Bay, but the osprey don’t care.

I have secretly loathed my fish hawk neighbors, for their shrieking cries that wake me before five in the morning. But I’m happy for them now, happy they’re keeping to their seasonal schedule of migration and procreation.

Social media is speculating how many people babies will come from COVID-19-induced isolation. I can’t say, but there will be osprey babies again next year, screeching things that will draw graceful arcs in the sky like their parents and grandparents, before. They will protect their own, hunt, eat, and probably never experience ennui.

The osprey came back, as did the daffodils, which I once thought of as only cheap harbingers of tulips, my favorite flower. Give me any bloom, these days; orange ditch lilies will look like gold.

Yesterday, the osprey may have seen us neighbors, below, plucking flowers from the ground for the birthday girl. She was three, and all her people shared their blooms from inside their nests and joined their voices in song over something called Zoom. How strange, we people.

How perfectly ordinary, the osprey.

I'm a writer, editor, and blogger. My fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in CutBank, Carve magazine, Sou'wester, Little Patuxent Review, Flock literary journal, and elsewhere and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. My articles and profiles appear in university magazines and other nonprofit publications. I earned an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and am the associate editor of Parhelion Literary Magazine out of Richmond. An Ohio native, I am at work on a novel and short stories set in the Rust Belt, and I hype the literary voices among my fellow native Midwesterners at my blog, Rust Belt Girl.

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