Broken glass falls in the forest
and from green dreams we wake to song.
Dark eyes unseen pierce our night
to watch us stumble out of nakedness
into day. Slowly,
we perceive their glances.
We shove off rough covers,
abrading the skin of our sleep,
and from our beds we step to feel
rhythm in these hewn floors.
Unclear echoes from dawn mirrors
meet us, pounding the shapes
of our congruities. And silent,
in reflection, we let down our hair,
each strand to notify our spines of flesh and light.
It is the 50th anniversary of a trip from July 4 to 13, 1970, I made with Edgar B. Kincaid, Jr., Nancy McGowan, Jim Pruitt, Fred and Marie Webster, and others to Rancho del Cielo cloud forest in Tamaulipas, Mexico. I first went to Mexico with my parents in 1960. But Rancho del Cielo was the first of many birding trips I have made to Mexico and other countries in the New World Tropics — with Edgar to Mexico until he died in 1985 — and with David and my other beloved birding friends. The trips continue, the most recent to Ecuador in February 2020. I wrote this poem shortly after the Tamaulipas trip. I first heard the cascading crystal song of the Brown-backed Solitaire singing at Rancho del Cielo. Fifty years later, I continue to hear it singing around Alamos, Sonora, and throughout Mexico.