Note: This summertime poem from my classmate Mary Lou is perfect to cool us off during these hot August days.
The sandpiper, walking at an angle;
the rapid firing of his little feet
keeping him from toppling over;
plunging into the outskirts of the surf,
then beating a fast retreat.
Kissed by the sea,
but straining the sand,
picking here or there at the bounty.
There is no stability
to the slanted world he inhabits,
the dizzying enterprise,
waves constantly entreating and beating,
till all at once he takes off
sailing through the sky,
but keeping his level eyes forever peeled
on what he left behind.
With all our exposure, our open pores,
our ability to think things over,
why don’t we beat a fast retreat
away from the chartered Universe,
we extol the pathos and the virtue of,
until Reality unfolds from a distance.
How easily we can register distress,
become victims of Timeless egress,
one minute bracing,
straining trying to find what we’re seeking for——,
and the next propelled by the force
leaving us destitute without recourse.
Sandpipers are a large family, Scolopacidae, of waders or shorebirds. They include many species called sandpipers, as well as those called by names such as curlew and snipe. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.
Sandpipers have long bodies and legs, and narrow wings. Most species have a narrow bill, but otherwise the form and length are quite variable. They are small to medium-sized birds, measuring 12 to 66 cm (4.7–26.0 in) cm in length. The bills are sensitive, allowing the birds to feel the mud and sand as they probe for food. They generally have dull plumage, with cryptic brown, grey, or streaked patterns, although some display brighter colours during the breeding season.
Most species nest in open areas, and defend their territories with aerial displays. The nest itself is a simple scrape in the ground, in which the bird typically lays three or four eggs. The young of most species are precocial.