leaves wings and other such things

up & down nuthatch











the little nuthatch runs up & down & upside down & up & down one tree trunk then another.

Winter & the Nuthatch

Once or twice & maybe again, who knows,
the timid nuthatch will come to me
if I stand still, with something good to eat in my hand.
The first time he did it
he landed smack on his belly, as though
the legs wouldn’t cooperate. The next time
he was bolder. Then he became absolutely
wild about those walnuts.
But there was a morning I came late &, guess what,
the nuthatch was flying into a stranger’s hand.
To speak plainly, I felt betrayed.
I wanted to say: Mister, that nuthatch & I have a relationship.
It took hours of standing in the snow
before he would drop from the tree & trust my fingers.
But I didn’t say anything.
Nobody owns the sky or the trees.
Nobody owns the hearts of birds.
Still, being human & partial therefore to my own
though not resentful of others fashioning theirs—
I’ll come tomorrow, I believe, quite early.

—Mary Oliver, from Red Bird
   Winter & the Nuthatch    ©Beacon Press, 2008

the provided link is from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds website.

Posted on by stanislawa in toes&nose

About the author


i am a hand-drawn line. an illustrator & designer who is curious about flora, fauna, human creatures, & glyphs.

2 Responses to up & down nuthatch

  1. Darryl Moland

    Beautiful. There’s a spare quality to this one that I absolutely love!

    • stanislawa

      thanks darryl. they are such precious magical creatures & i am pleased that you enjoyed this little round one.


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