I saw him from a distance, short blunt body, boldly crested head, waterbird's long bill, and he was within a few yards of LaBarque Creek: The first kingfisher I'd seen here in ten years. The creek is shallow and slow but it must provide what the kingfisher likes to eat or it wouldn't be there.
Excited, I approached, listening for the kingfisher's distinctive "rattle" of a voice. Heard it. It saw me coming and flew to the top of an electrical pole, leaving me only its silhouette. Wouldn't let me get close even to that, flying away over the bridge into the woods, rattling. I savored its voice for a while, and thought the voice followed me for a bit, but then I continued my walk past the creek along Doc Sargent Road and heard it no more.
On my way back, same route, I listened but didn't hear any rattle. It made sense: LaBarque Creek is slow, shallow and currently frozen in places; there's better hunting in the larger river not far away. I stopped on the bridge over the creek to listen again . Heard nothing. I felt blessed by even this rare scrap of an encounter with a kingfisher, and, filled with divine love, I said to its afterglow, "I love you."
Far away, a rattle. I smiled and knew that I am truly blessed.