“He really was an enchanting person. In some way he was like the spiritual father of everybody…. It is hard to imagine Central Park without Charles Kennedy.” Marie Winn, author of Red-tails in Love, and close friend of Charles, remembering him after his death in October 2004

Monday, December 7, 2009

On Beauty

Today is my father's birthday.  "The Coyote" is Charles's only sibling.  The best of our family birding traditions was snaking along the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the day after Christmas, with Charles, my dad, and my wife, in search of Bald Eagles. One year, 125 Baldies, in glorious mobs and clusters, adorned the trees and owned three miles of that river.

I was on the road today, on a consulting trip in icy Eastern Colorado; blowing light snow, muted grays on white.  Red-tailed Hawks hunted from fence posts and telephone poles every couple of miles.  Along the Platte River, Bald Eagles glowered from cottonwood towers.  Each bird on each perch whispered, just loud enough: "Snap the shutter, inhale... exhale a haiku... and smile."  Even at 60 miles per hour I was rolling from one 'Charles moment' to another.  It brought to mind a clip from the introduction to The Fish Jumps Out of the Moon.  

In personal notes, Charles wrote: “Is there anything to live for besides beauty?”  Of his birding hero he wrote, “Roger Tory Peterson … taught us how to find joy in the identification of the gems of our world, to see the exquisite beauty that goes flashing by us.”  Charles adhered to this discipline of being ready, awake and waiting, in rapt anticipation.

on the bridge
waiting for first fireflies
with Venus

His haiku are Zen camera shots, composed to capture the flashing beauty and poignancy of a scene and then cropped to their lean, evocative core.


ombsmith said...

Belated happy birthday to Larry. xox,

Steve Kennedy said...


Larry was happy to receive your good wishes. Thanks for reading the blog! Steve