By Michael Suchorsky

A thread of tension slowly invaded my dreamy late morning brunch on the deck. At first it was just a small part of the morning symphony, dominated by the pulsing of strong breezes through the leaves (welcome back!), the occasional hushed murmur of a vehicle passing on the far side of the reservoir, the buzz of a honeybee on its appointed rounds, all wrapped up in a mélange of birdsong hither and yon, Gold Finches, Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, Song Sparrows, Orioles, Black Billed Cuckoos and many more. As I drifted between the shimmering trees and fields, the mountain scape beyond and my responding to emails, the tension built. Finally it became the central theme. I thought, danger! The source, a Catbird’s cascading melodies with an urgency that bordered on strident. I thought a predator was near but no other birds or chipmunks joined in. Then I heard a second Catbird 75 yards away singing with equal vigor. A battle of songs. Sonny Stitt and Charlie Parker perched on branches trading licks.

Last week I forgot a bird-feeder on my deck and upon hearing some sturdy movements in the night turned on the light. The fattest black bear I have ever seen turned from the feeder and walked right up to the sliding door to stare at me. From my point of view he was a series of concentric circles growing in width, nose/head/shoulders/belly/hips. Unfortunately, as much as I love bears, this kind of behavior gets bears killed, so I introduced him to my snare drum and crash cymbal—he vaporized. Last night I walked around the property immersed in the glitter and magic of thousands of fireflies, in the back of my mind leaving one channel open for tracking a fat black mass moving in the night. And just now after lunch I went down the porch stairs and picked rain soaked cherries from the tree there. I thought the bear might snack on what the birds drop to the ground. I’m in a bear, light, cherry, music state of mind, state of place.~