Several mornings ago, early in the dim light, I was walking in the rain when I saw a very large bird I thought must have been a heron or a crane, winging slowly overhead near the treetops, between firs, past poplars and redwoods, at a speed that seemed hardly enough to keep it aloft. It changed directions, then again, before disappearing behind and beyond other trees. In that light, at that hour, everything was gray, in darker shades for the larger evergreens, in lighter for the bare maples, with the bird somewhere in between. A living shadow. I have thought of the bird every day since. It is like a character in a story, whose life goes on after the book ends. It wings, then rests. Wings, then rests. Finds food. Tends to its cleanliness. Makes its own observations. It reminds me of the secret lives going on around me at every moment, some of which, in all innocence, I crush underfoot. And when I say you have no idea how happy I am that I came to myself again this morning and am able to put down these thoughts, however awkward and limited their form, and however similar mine, I know you will understand. It is a secret life.