A silent watcher perches on the extended limbs of the Franklin tree, patiently observing the daily heavy flow of traffic, and more recently the expansion from two lanes to four on that segment of road. During the digging and reallocation of land process, workers cut down trees on the neighboring property. Daily, while navigating the orange barrels directing traffic into lanes to circumvent the road work, I expected one day to see the Franklin tree meet the same fate. The prospect of that sickened me.
I first noticed the Franklin tree after moving to Meridian several years ago. The nest and large unidentified bird, which at first I thought might be an eagle, charmed me and drew my focus. No, not an eagle, but possibly another bird of prey sits among the branches. I need to remember my binoculars the next time I leave the house to try to identify the elegant form nonchalantly seated on the survivor tree.
I feel like a tree stalker, or a bird stalker, and at times cannot decide if it is the lone scraggly tree against the Idaho sky that mesmerized me, or the unidentified bird lounging on the tousled limbs; probably the combination. After the road construction started, it really was not a wise idea to stop along the road and take more pictures, or a get a closer look. For the rest of the project, whenever I drove by, I held my breath hoping that the tree survived and the construction noise had not driven the stoic watcher away.
Late afternoon on Thanksgiving Day, before going to a friends gathering, I took a left turn instead of right to travel east down a nearly deserted Franklin road and check on the watcher. With the street empty, I was able to whip around several times, pull over and snap photos with my little pocket camera. Of course once again I forgot my binoculars and do not having a fancier zoom lens camera, so I am still not sure the species of bird. Nonetheless, the photos produced an intriguing, haunting image of the tree’s poetically extended limbs and the silent observer.