The best we did was to establish that they were there. The “Honey, I’m Home” quonks of a red-bellied woodpeckers* were audible, as they have been around the river and in our front yard and we could hear canaries, nuthatches and chickadees. But the loud hammering had to belong to a pileated and Jon did finally spot him. We had brought the long lens and Jon patiently manoeuvred around twigs to find clear shots.
Equally patient, Theodore and I waited on the main path. Usually we all walk north and return another way. but yesterday I happened to glance back just as the Easter sun emerged from behind a cloud, and there it was! I had tried many times to find that scene again but yesterday I was reminded why I had originally taken the shot: a shaft of sunshine was strewing shadows across the path and highlighting the mossy exposed roots which comprise the focal point. I had been starting to wonder if I had made it up but once more the real deal took my breath away and proved that it's hard to improve on the truth.
Finding the exact spot was like running into an old friend —the same attendant sense of strong recognition. Theodore had no reaction whatsoever. He was still smarting from the indignity of being forbidden to keep a prize short rib his sniffer had located in the parkland, and there was a bur or two to be chewed out. I have always thought that shared moments are the best. But yesterday reminded me that while my primary sense is vision, Theodore’s magnificent schnoz is for him the bearer of most good things and that it is enough to celebrate beauty in whatever form it takes. Sometimes it will smell like a short rib.
* see 19/5/16