Friday, August 29, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
This is one of the many benefits of creative practice. It is not about the end result, though the result can be a reminder of who you were in that moment. But more importantly, it’s what is gained, what creating gives you, how it deepens your experience, your seeing and your awareness.
Once you see a tree so deeply, see the light dancing around its edges and the stories it whispers of life and death and change, you never again feel quite the same about trees. In New Mexico the pines spoke of silence, of space, of the whispering breath of mountain winds. In New England, maple, birch and sweet gum towered over Queen Anne’s lace and Joe Pye weed and unveiled edges newly dipped in gold and scarlet after a chilling rain.
Our trees--living, breathing gifts to enjoy, to protect, to revere.
Friday, August 15, 2008
So, I’m treating myself to a week with Ann K Lindsay and catching up with art friends at a cozy B&B in New England. This is like ‘old home’ week for me, since it’s my eighth such trip. Add together home-cooked meals, a homey atmosphere and all-day painting and it feels like pure pampering to my soul.
Ann is an intuitive instructor. And what I love about intuitive art, the art of creating what is wholly your own in a process that leaves behind the opinions of others, is that you express what is uniquely you. You begin to recognize in your own creations, who you are and what matters to you. And that strengthens.
This involves a rocky crossing, one that moves you through fear and self-criticism to that place of intuitive freshness on the other side. But because you show up and keep moving, you eventually arrive. You have created. And as time goes by, you begin to notice that what you have learned in making art touches every aspect of your life.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
A fledged peregrine falcon remains with his parents for as long as two months, while he learns to hunt. High speed flyers, peregrines primarily feed on birds that they catch in flight or from a perch. But both the strategy and precision of this hunt must be learned.
The radio transmitter allows Dale and John Stokes to monitor Rocky’s progress for the next few weeks so they can assist if something goes wrong. Dale and John obtained Rocky from a falconer in Minnesota for a fee of $600 in order to release him in a process called hacking. The hacking box (see previous post) serves as an artificial nest and fledging home. Raptors are known to imprint on their fledging area and will generally return to that area when it is time to nest and raise their own young. Peregrines nest on high bluffs and it is hoped that after adolescent wandering for the next two years, Rocky will return to nest in the Lookout Mountain area.
It was falconers like Dale and John Stokes who alerted the world to the effects of DDT on our raptors and subsequently saved many species from extinction. Peregrine falcon populations plummeted from 1950 to 1970 due to DDT poisoning, but the hacking re-introductions that began in 1970 have restored species numbers. Peregrines were removed from the national endangered list in 1999 but remain on the state endangered list in Georgia and TN.
More than falconers, Dale and John Stokes have a combined 49 years of experience with birds and have devoted their lives to educating the public about raptors. They conduct live birds of prey shows at Rock City, near Chattanooga and visit regional schools, parks and festivals to provide programs.
Links to peregrine information: Dale and John's S.O.A.R. blog site with update's on Rocky's progress. Chattanooga Times article on release. Cornell's interesting facts on the peregrine falcon.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Here Dale and John remove Rocky from his hacking box to secure leg bands and telemetry the day before release. More about Rocky and his stewards next post.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
This was a new experience, the reliance on visual memory rather than reference photos. The detail stored is attached to what was most impressive or enjoyed. For me it was the drum beat, the native language, the women’s costumes, especially their boots and hair, the blankets the men wore over one shoulder and the overall reverence for ritual and tradition.
Only some of this can be rendered visually, but the images created hold the essence of the experience and bring to mind what matters. When I look at these sketches, I also recall what is not depicted, the two young German boys, ages four and six, who sat near me on a log bench in the courtyard as we awaited the ceremony. They had just moved to the states with their parents. A large thunder cloud darkened the sky and big, cold rain drops began to fall. The parents walked over to a shelter to avoid the rain, but the boys and I remained on the bench. I opened a small umbrella, anticipating a sudden down pour as the cloud moved overhead. But no sooner had I opened it, than the gusting wind flipped it inside out. As I struggled against the wind to correct this, I looked at the boys who were now staring at me, and muttered something silly like, “a lot of help this umbrella is.” The older boy laughed and turned to his brother to interpret. The younger child collapsed into contagious giggles and the three of us giggled together while the wind blew rain in our faces. Watching from a distance, their father laughed, too.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Given that golden eagles prey on birds occasionally, especially the inexperienced or injured, this peaceful co-habitation seemed unlikely, but the area biologist said it is a fairly common occurrence.
Monday, August 4, 2008
But I can say that a deeper look, pulls at the heart strings. It's enough to wonder if The King will survive his daily challenges, as well as a long migration to Central or South America. I hope so. There will be lots of hardy genes passed on to the next generation.
But the fledglings are another heart-string matter. Their survival depends on their ability to quickly learn the skills of maneuvering to catch insects and navigate nectar sources while escaping combat. This little soul tugged at my heart this morning. A beauty in the making, it's clear life has not been easy thus far.
Below, a pristine beauty awaits The King's arrival.And The King?
He still salutes me at the feeder with a blur.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
As the smallest bird in the world, it makes sense that hummingbird personalities would be fired with spirit and tenacity. Watching migrant visitors line the tree limbs around the feeder in plain sight and the King executing his precision U-shaped dives despite being sorely out-numbered, I am in awe of his heart and perseverence. He leaves no doubt--he is The King.
But on chance occasions, when he is otherwise occupied, a visitor gets to linger at the feeder, and when this happens, some amusing antics emerge in this serious business of hummingbird feeding. Above, after a lingering drink during which he sipped from each blossom, this visitor perched facing the glass as if to conceal himself..."Shhhh! I'm invisible."
But not for long. The King on his perch, looking very kingly.
Friday, August 1, 2008
In his book, The Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Robert Sargent says hummingbirds have very keen eye-sight and hearing and the buzz of wings agitates the male into action. The Scruffy King on July 23.
July just eased into August and at some point the drive to procreate shifts to the drive to migrate. But I don’t know exactly when that occurs for our Tennessee resident males. So I check for him at his perches, recognizable by his scruffy appearance and that pillow-shaped ponch, and I watch to see what happens next. Hopefully, he will spend some time feeding and resting for his journey south. But then, if he spiffs up too much, will I recognize him?
Ocean Trail at Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, California--2015
Bird-banding at Seven Islands State Birding Park--2014
Bird-banding at Seven Islands
Enjoying Gray Jays in Churchill!--2014
Smithsonian National Zoo with one of my Whooping Crane banners and son, John--2014
The Incredible Muir Woods near Stinson Beach, CA--2014
Me and Denali--2012
For the Love of It...