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Red Knot/Moonbird (Draw a Bird Day)

Birds need no maps of the earth,
no compass to locate the forces
that pull and repel.
Their geography is larger
than what can be painted, written down.
Their landscape is contained inside
their very bones,
invisible roots woven through
the air.

Birds move on currents
of sun sky wind and water–
alert to the pauses,
the imperfections
in the movement of the light.
They hear the world
as it slumbers, as it awakens,
as it waits.
They have no need to build bridges
for crossing over.

Birds don’t need to mark their path,
to provide proof
of their connection to the cosmos
with signs or constructs.
Who they are
is part of their being.
The way is within
the first cell of
the first song of
the first particle of
dust from the first star.

I recently read an article about the red knot B95, nicknamed Moonbird. B95 is a banded bird that was both trapped and photographed through 20 years of migration between the tip of South America, where it winters, and the Arctic, where it summers and breeds, a distance of 9000 miles each way. B95 traveled enough miles to go to the moon and most of the way back–hence, Moonbird.

Considering the fact that one half of juvenile red knots dies during their first year’s mirgration, that is quite an accomplishment.

Red knots are robin-sized shore birds that have greyish feathers during their southern winters, but grow red feathers for the summer layover in the Arctic. As recently as 1995 there were over 150,000 red knots making the north-south-north trip, but half of the adult red knot population died between 2000-2002 due to climate change and human intrusions on their habitat. Of particular concern was the reduction of the horseshoe crab population in the tidal waters of the Delaware Bay, an important last feeding stopover before the final flight to the Arctic. Red knots time their migrations to coincide with the yearly egg-laying of horseshoe crabs, feeding on the eggs laid on the beaches. Horseshoe crabs are important to many other species in the bay as well, and scientists are working to restore this vital component of the ecosystem, which was dying due to overfishing and overdevelopment.

Red knots fly in acrobatic groups and perform evasive movements in unison meant to confuse predators like hawks. How do they “know” where to go? One theory is that they have an internal genetic flight map, but they are also known to respond to the position of the sun and the movements of the stars as they often fly all night. Red knots may also recognize both landmarks and magnetic fields. No wonder they have been called “a flying compass”

Moonbird was last spotted in 2014, 19 years after he was first caught and banded.

Red knots were the first bird ever listed under the Endangered Species Act.

shell

conch 1 2

well, first the wayward wind—grey—if you tried to hold it, your hands remained empty–

the song of the sirens, spilled into a traverse of stone and sea—perhaps some dragon’s breath—a shape becoming uncovered, a shape turning into a wheel that reminds itself to spiral—

the beach is hungry, but in a subtle way—do not conclude that it can be ignored–

gaping portals
azure shimmering
meeting places

postcard shell 1

 

Stream of consciousness for Grace at dVerse.  I’ve been doing a lot of this because of a recent prompt I saw that incorporated this technique, where you took a treasured object and wrote a bunch of unedited stories about it.  This was from my origin story.

whelk 1 2015 comp

The original writing for this haibun took up a whole page–I just selected a few parts and made a kind of haiku by removing words from one “sentence”.  The drawings are once again taken from my archives.  I’ve spent a lot of time drawing shells.

shell tattoo close up s

on the possibility of seeing a painted bunting (draw a bird day)

painted bunting s

caught like a
shadow just beyond
the watching
eye, barely
imprinted on the synapse
of remembering

it flies on
the winds of held breath–
covering the
air with blurs
of moving feathers, colors
surrounded by song

My NaPoWriMo poem today has nothing to do with the prompt, and everything to do with it being the 8th of April, which is National Draw-a-Bird-Day.  I have never actually seen a painted bunting, but I have painted this bird before, in 2015, when one was spotted in Brooklyn.  This version was done with a new set of watercolor pencils I received for my birthday earlier this year.

napo2019button2

 

Weekend Sketching 3/25/19

I love sketching the old Paterson buildings. This was a black and white photo which I took the artistic license of coloring. A lot of the old buildings were constructed in brownstone and I imagine this one was too. I gave it some stained glass windows.

Spring is arriving but slowly. Yesterday I went over to take care of my neighbor’s chickens only to find they had “flown the coop”. I can’t figure out how as the fence was up and all doors locked. But the girls cooperated and I got them back in (as a large hawk was circling). They also laid a few eggs in the yard making same eggs certifiably free range. Love those chickens!

Sketch

A sketch from a Facebook photo my cousin posted of him and his family.

I intend to paint it in but can’t find my brushes. Things are a bit disorganized here but maybe some progress.

I better not post the photo without my cousin’s permission.

Blood From a Stone

blood from a stone_still my shivering s

My words repeat. Nothing. Your ears are closed like frozen air. You always move away, shrinking me, disappearing me into invisibility.

My words repeat. I am naming flowers. I am calling the names of birds. They remain unretrieved, hesitating on the edges of sound.

My fences are broken. My guard is falling deeper and deeper into the ground. My map shows no return.

Whispering, I stand
trembling with the elements,
my cells unmoored.

The currents swim without me,
expanding the gulf between.

blood from a stone close up

Jilly at dVerse asked for an unconventional haibun this week.  That was easy–all my writing seems somewhat alien to me right now (or maybe my poetry is just always strange and I’m only now noticing it….)

The drawings are from photos of ancient Roman sculptures that have been broken by time. Amazing how much depth and emotion hidden inside the stone was revealed by those artists.

 

Buddy breathing

I was discussing swimming pools and memories with our friend Claudia McGill and remembered when my Dad used to sit at the bottom of the pool with his scuba tank. All the kids would dive down and he’d hand them the breathing thing; we would hang out down there and take turns buddy breathing. I hadn’t thought of this in a long time. This is just a prelimary sketch and I’m going to paint it.  Claudia said early memories are the strongest. I’m going to have to think of more memories that I can translate into visual ones.  Maybe a series?

Cement blocks

They’re doing construction in my neighborhood. There are piles of Belgian blocks for the curbs, wood and other building materials. The pattern of these stacked concrete blocks appealed to me so I did a drawing. I must admit I’m rather pleased with it. 


This is the photo. I did the drawing at work and didn’t have the right colored pencils to catch the color nuance but I think I caught the pattern. Have a great weekend!

My Dad and Emily

Em must have been around nine here. It’s a sketch from a photo of them sitting at the table in France. She wasn’t drinking wine. She just liked to drink out of a wine glass like we all were. 

A Strange but Nice Dream

I dreamed the neighborhood kids put all sorts of fairy structures around my house. They were dug into the ground in my dream. I really like the kids in my neighborhood and could actually imagine them doing this!