I love Dillard's writing. I want to keep a notepad and pen beside me as I read her words so I can look up all the ones I don't know. Tinker with them. Roll them off my tongue. I want to play outside and find the casings of the caddisfly larvae too, by the creek off of the Greenbelt, or is the caddisfly larvae prejudiced only to Virginian creek beds? I wonder.
The Wildwood Park and Nature Center has a staff that might know- retired expertise with willing smiles and eyes that contain the same enthusiasm of a child on Christmas morning. Maybe they won't be able to tell me about the larvae, after all, but instead share the secrets about the painted turtles that reside there, that are covered in mud this very minute, trying to keep warm.
Or not. Turtle instincts don't require that they try at all. They just do.
The birds have their secrets to tell, as well. At the nature center, there are several windows that offer a view of the park and the various species of birds who come to enjoy their free meal at the bird feeders, placed about twenty feet or so from the building. March is a particularly fun time to visit because of the many nonmigratory birds that begin selecting their territory- prime real estate for mating. What is most helpful at the center for those of us who need assistance in figuring out which bird is which, is the wall on the other side of the windows which has a poster that identifies all of the birds seen below, feeding at the feeders. The tufted titmouse is there as are the Carolina chickadees, and the red winged blackbirds.
Notwithstanding my teenagers' grumblings, I'll rest a little and then make plans anyway. Because I want to catch that moment, the one that has us on our walk on the Greenbelt, as the sudden cry of the peregrine falcon overhead falls onto the knowing ears of my boys, who then turn to me in wonder and whisper, "Look, Mom!", while their smiles assure me that all of the effort has been worth it.