Déjà Vu Hiking and a Warbler

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

— Bashō

IMG_5536
Apple blossom season! Photo by Molly S.

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

2 comments

  1. Yes- the riotously serious but hilarious Basho appreciation of Nature while irreverently relating it to the daily human grind.
    Deja vu is a weird experience- reminds me of Jung’s collective mind.
    Thanks for the post. GT

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