Red-Breasted Sapsucker

He flew above high in the crisp sky. From the bottom you could only see the slight green on his lower belly. The red feathers that magically blended into black laid on his head only making an appearance when he landed with his gray claws clinging to a bigleaf maple.The air was moist and cold and clung to the birds feathers. It had been a cooled September but nothing unusual for Oregon. He began softly pecking at the tree out of boredom. Making a deeper and deeper hole with each peck until  he ran out of beek. Swiftly he pushed off and began to glide towards the land of the grapes. The sun began to peek out through the halo sky and shine directly on the bird’s wings. The black feathers turned brown in the light. It made him feel warm and for a split second he didn’t feel so alone in the sky.  As the woodpecker flew the trees and desert below him blended like a mixture of water and paint. He finally began to search below him to find a assortment of grape vines that climbed the hill. The vines climbed the wire that held them trying to reach high and higher towards what was left of the sun.
Gerald was waiting to see the six inch long red-breasted sapsucker to appear above him. He held a fresh cup of black coffee. Sometimes, he found himself getting lost in the darkness of his cup rather than looking for the bird. To most the beautiful red of the woodpecker represented Oregon and beauty but all Gerald saw was little red devil horns. He had worked most of his life working job to job to finally own his winery.  It was never about the wine but rather what we would be able to wake up to every morning. To see all the different colors of his landscape. The dark blues of the merlot and syrah grapes. Deep blacks of the zinfandel and the polar opposite color of the chardonnay grapes. All laid out in front of him allowing his eyes to travel over all the different colors. They appeared so vibrant he could almost smell them. He called the bird the little devil due to his tendencies. Calling at him anytime he swooped down and slowly pecked away at a grape.
The little devil landed atop the sign  that hung before the long gravel road that winded past all the vines and finally leading to Geralds house. The sign read,” Red Valley Winery.” He hooped around the sign adding little scratches to the others he had left before. He crawled down to the wood that held up the sign and began to sing with his beak as he began to punch another hole. The sign was made of out Douglas fir a softwood making each peck glide through like butter. He got carried away with his pecking making four horizontal holes in a line. The taste of wood lingered in his mouth. Something in his brain was wired to always make horizontal lines. It was his art form. His instincts kicked in before his preference as he began to eat as many grapes as he pleased. His tongue made up of stiff hairs grabbed on to the grape skin tearing them open allowing the rich juices to pour out into his mouth. The dark juice from the zinfandel grapes began to stain his red feathers.
He hopped around the winery cutting off any other sense and fully emerging himself in the grapes. Before he could react the rock pierced the side of his left wing sending him spinning down to the ground. Unlike the mixture of colors when he flew this was much different. The colors began to spin in rapid speeds with a flash a red dancing around. He began to hop towards anything that seemed safe. The shock alone could kill him.
Gerald stood above the little devil like a tower. He thought about the book he had checked out of the local library the week before about native woodpeckers. It talked about their independent tendencies and how they spent most of their lives alone. He picked up the bird and began to wonder if it ever dreamed and if it did what about? Did he dream about the grapes? Did he ever feel lonely? His feathers felt thicker than clothe but as smooth as silk. They held eye contact both with deep brown eyes. They couldn't tell who was more scared. Their eyes locked as Gerald realized they weren't so different. He began to feel powerless and overwhelmed with the small bird in his hands. He placed him on the group as it started to rain and quickly walked away.






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