I sat for a long time and watched this lithe fellow stalk his dinner. He positioned himself so that the angle of light spangled on scales and threw his own shadow back; he didn't move until he sure of the right moment, and then, decision made, he moved without a moment of hesitation. There seemed to be a lesson in that. Quiet, and a gathering in of strength and intention. Speed, but not just that, though the power of the swift strike alone was formidable. It was that surety of aim and purpose that moved me. "He who hesitates is lost." I thought of the cliches around lightening strike movement. I suppose there are times that is true. But how often are we given the chance to move with such stealth and speed? How often do we allow ourselves to strike with such abandon? To decide, and "go for it"--to use the modern cliche.

The view out my bedroom window is of the primordial ooze, when the tide goes out and leaves behind the mud flats. My sons and I spent a few nights in a rented house on the California coast, and I got the boat house for my bed. Impossible to heat the room, but the electric blanket made the bed so toasty that I threw open the windows and watched the constellations wheel through the early morning sky.

It reminded me how much I used to love camping out, sleeping under the stars, warm in my sleeping bag, the cool moist night air on my face. Always the decision, when to take off my glasses and give up seeing such hard glittering beauty. Why don't I camp out any longer? This seems to be part of aging; one of those things I have given up doing. Drat. So hard to find the night stars now, our own bright lights outshine them.

Hundreds of birds flocked to the mucky stew each evening, picking out the rich bits. I could almost feel the wet, spongy ground and envied the birds' hollow bones. These are the moments when a mad passion for the world fills my own hollows, suffuses my dense bones, and tears me up longing to know that my children's children will be able to one day enjoy the primordial muck from which we all crawled and spun.

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