Watching the Sunrise in St. George, Utah

10 May 2008

by Tyler Chadwick

I wish I knew the names
of all these birds: I’m sure that’s a sparrow,

wings wound tight against the wind,
dropping to the tip of a cypress

before re-mounting the sky; and
two more there, circling the birdfeeder,

vying for seed. And there, a robin, breast flared
even at this hour,

sifting the xeriscape for a meal,
prouding its head to swallow, then

vanishing down a nearby bluff.
And there, scrambling from beneath

a tuft of backyard sage, what must be a mourning dove
throws dust and air at my presence. And yesterday,

as we came into town, I’m sure it was a raven
that arced across the road, tilting its wings

against the updraft from our car
to gather sky around its violet-

blue gloss. But that brooding coo,
too long and low

for the dove, covering the crickets’ trill,
charming light from its clay vessel €”

did Adam, at first,
even really know that name?


Originally published in Irreantum 9.2 (2007)/10.1 (2008): 206-7.

Tyler’s personal blog:  Chasing the Long White Cloud.

Patricia and the beetle

November 2008, I sat in Sacrament Service  between my two ambulatory children, daughter aged eleven years, son aged eighteen.   As the program moved into the blessing and passing of the Sacrament, my mind began its shift from observation to meditation.

Movement atop the empty pew just ahead drew my eye.   A beetle about a quarter of an inch long followed the ridgeline of the pew’s wooden back, rear end waggling as its six legs paddled its body along.   It had a dark gray carapace and a rounded, yellowish head with black eyespots.   Two short antennae sifted the air questioningly. Continue reading “Patricia and the beetle”

Bird in the hand

First published at A Motley Vision,  this essay explores the  nature of  stewardship by wondering if  we understand what stewardship is or  if we’ve  merely assumed that we understand.   Are we fully conscious of the needs of other creatures, as good stewards ought to be? Are we imaginative enough to visualize the possibilities of faithful stewardship, which may include providing other species with opportunities for €¦ oh, I don’t know €¦ progression, maybe …  or  perhaps gaining  from them insight that  endows our own progression?

An abridged version of “Bird in the Hand”  was published in 2007  in  Glyphs III,  a regional  anthology containing  writings by local writers and visitors to  southeastern Utah’s  redrock  country  that Moab Poets and Writers publishes every two years.    I’ve written more  about MP &W  here.    

In July 2005 my brother Jim and I threw camping gear into his new Toyota 4Runner and headed for a canyon in the San Rafael Swell. The object of our trip: try out the 4Runner on real four-wheel-drive roads and see petroglylphs at the canyon’s mouth. We arrived at the canyon at dusk and as evening fell  helped each other wrestle up tents in a whipping canyon wind. Continue reading “Bird in the hand”

The fly

Late summer of 2008, I was sitting in Crossfire Canyon (here are parts two and three) at one of my favorite sandstone perches when I became conscious of a persistent buzzing noise. Looking down, I spotted  an insect hovering just above the ground about a meter below me.  The insect  looked something like a yellow jacket, black and bright yellow in coloration, but in morphology it more closely resembled a fly than a  wasp. A yellow jacket’s buzz changes pitch constantly as it moves, and it’s always in motion  because it has no real talent for hovering. This look-alike hovered  like a champ, so it  droned at a fairly constant pitch  rather  higher than a wasp’s.   Continue reading “The fly”