The Stilts’ Gait

The water is nearly still on San Rafael Bay at lunchtime.

The lagoon behind me is nearly full for the first time in two months, the salty cracked soil mostly covered. The black necked stilts are wading along the shore with their heads tipped down, studying the water in front of them, the area that can be covered within one or two steps of their springy gait. The bird in front is being chased by the one behind him. They run at double speed, the chased bird calling out little peeps every few steps.

A stray dog has circled around from the opposite shore. He slows when he spots me watching him. When I sneeze suddenly, he turns and flees.

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