The Commerce of the Mountain

Pepper Trail

The bumblebee, squat and hairy bagman, trundles around his neighborhood, one flower
to the nearby next, filling his sacks with gold, humming to himself all the while. On a fine August day, there is no more self-satisfied citizen on the mountain.

The warblers are in motley now, their badges of black and yellow worn to tatters, the dramas
of song, courtship, nest and eggs and hungry mouths forgotten, mingling in the ragamuffin democracy of migration, nothing left to fight for and enough for all.

The hummingbird harbors still his zest for rage, his blood hot, his pride easily pricked, his honor forever to be defended. Lord of his patch of penstamon, he is on the dash, looking for trouble, flashing his sword, seeking a challenger, exulting in heat, and sugar, and speed.

Overhead, the vulture walks the tightrope of sky, balances on dark wings, ignorant of flowers, disinterested in bumblebees, hummingbirds, warblers, all too small in death to reach him with news of their decay, blind to the bright, with no taste for the sweet, meadowless and alone.



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