Recently I watched a woodpecker hunt for insects along a tree trunk outside my window. The wind tossed the boughs, mostly swept clean except for a few clinging yellowed leaves, as the sun faded, barely clearing the low-slung roofline of the apartments across the street.

I was sitting at my desk, finishing another day. This woodpecker hopped up and down the trunk for several minutes, hammering its red-capped head into the wood, prospecting for dinner...

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