What We’re Reading: “Elegant Trogon” on Terrain.org
Posted by on July 18, 2014

I haven’t been birding this week, unfortunately.

So things are off.

But I read “Elegant Trogon” by Michael Onofrey today at Terrain.org. It was not a substitute for being out in the woods or the prairie. Nothing is. But it is a beautiful piece; a short story that combines rhythmic narration, tension, and best of all, birding. Claire is a curious, bored woman who lives alone. She is in her mid sixties. She watches a mysterious, new neighbor. Both are birders. This is a story about observation, loneliness, and the beauty of remaining wild spaces.  It centers around the interaction between Claire and Roy, her new neighbor:

“Are you a birder, Roy?”
“Yes.”
But that’s all there is—a simple, dead-end “yes.”

While there are lots of nonfiction stories involving birds or other wildlife, it was a pleasure to discover this fiction piece about birding. It helped keep me sane during this week without birds.

You’ll have to read to see if Roy finds his elegant trogon:

“What I’d really like to see,” says Roy, “is an elegant trogon.”
“An elegant trogon? They’re not down here. They’re in the mountains, the sky islands.”
“I know. But what I’m hoping for is to maybe catch a stray on its way south for the winter.”
“Catch a stray?”
“Yes.”
Claire sips her coffee.

Posted by Roger

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  • Photo by Tyler Malone