In Plainfield, Vermont, my daughter and I start up a wide hiking road, after a discussion about why I so frequently fail to read directions — and yet, as I pointed out, I generally arrive where I’ve planned to go. This is not an abstract, metaphorical conversation. The truth is, I’ve taken the Gazetteer out of the car, failed to print directions, and my daughter — with her adolescent orientation to cartography — navigated by cell phone to the trail head.
Amicably, we’re walking up this wood-flanked, pleasant road, when I have the strangest sensation that I’ve hiked this path, many times, although I know I’ve never been here.
My daughter’s ahead, around a bend in the forest, when a warbler lands on a slender branch near my face, its chest flame-gold, so stunningly beautiful I simply stand there, alone. A second, then a third, fluttered by. Later, Peterson’s guide indicates this is the Blackburnian warbler, fairly common.
The mystery of déjà vu and extraordinary fiery feathers.
O bush warblers!
Now you’ve shit all over
my rice cake on the porch