Epitaph for a Ball of Feathers
By Robin van Tine

Swirling ball of black feathers flying into the roadside bushes.
I glimpse you through my rearview mirror.
Feathery spirit, flying through the air.
I weep for you.

Fledgling on the Continental Divide
By Robin van Tine

Little peeping baby with tiny wings,
Hopping uncertainly along the frozen ridge dividing Atlantic from Pacific .
Tiny fluffy ball of life,
Teetering on the lofty brink -- miles above the canyon floor,
Where are your parents?
Which way will you go?
Will you thrive?
Are we all fledglings on the continental divide?

Caddis Fly Dance at Fish Lake, Montana
By Robin van Tine

[presented at the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment,
3rd Biennial Conference, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, June, 1999]

Beyond and above the lake,
craggy sides of snow-capped peaks glow with sunset’s crimson.
Bedding plains are streaked with colors.
Rainbows refract in the clouds.
Streams of bluish mist rise from the icy water.
By morning it will hang in the glacial valley.
Caddis Flies perform an elegant mating ballet, up and down, up and down,
Pairs fly conjoined in loving dance – ecstatic union in flight.

A middle-aged woman squats on a boulder in the lake, fly fishing in the sunset.
All about her, fishes jump.
The practiced pattern her fly casting etches in the air mimics that traced by the dancing Caddis Flies.
Is she still dancing too?
Does she also fly in ecstatic union?

On the rocky beach,
a pair of young lovers snuggle together in the chill air under a brightly patterned blanket.
He serenades her with his guitar and then,
removing his shirt in one graceful motion,
he leaps into the frigid waters.
He swims a mating dance beneath the Caddis Flies.
Will she be pleased ?Will it be enough?

A family of many noisy young children breaks the revere
excitedly skipping stones,
sending out many ripples over the surface of the deep waters.

Ecstatic union.
The mating dance continues.

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