Morning flight

This morning at the flats the tide was out
the earth remaining watery-grey
with long-billed sandpipers stalking, bending low
seizing what they found.
In the channel nearby the pelicans swooped
practicing crash-landings, legs stuck out before
webbed feet braced for impact.

I ran past stands of fennel and sage,
eyes squinted in the morning light,
my own feet kicking up gravel and dust.
I paused to watch the sandpipers sweep their beaks
left and right
in swivel motion with round bodies
mirrored in the slick mud they stood on.

Twenty minutes out, and fifteen back:
not much time required
for grace.