voice of crow under grey skies–
how to fill the hole
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
“Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles; Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances. Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it. Cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
for earthweal open link weekend
flashes of yellow
Last fall my daughter and I were sitting on Columbia’s campus, talking and drinking coffee and tea, when we noticed a tiny yellowish bird looking for insects in a tree nearby. It looked a lot like the wood warbler I’ve drawn, above.
We didn’t see it well enough to positively identify it, but a birder friend suggested from my description that it was a warbler. Many species migrate through the area, in addition to common local residents like the yellow warbler.
The Blackburnian Warbler can also be found in New York, but I haven’t been lucky enough to see one. I would like to watch the intricate aerial dances they perform when protecting their territories.
I first drew the yellow warbler by itself, and scanned it, as backgrounds are always a problem for me. I’m still not sure about this one, although I like the colors.
the world becomes new–
opened into new visions
One weekend sitting on campus with our coffee and tea, my daughter and I were surrounded by birds. A mockingbird sang a complicated repertoire of songs for about a half hour, blue jays and cardinals visited, crow got in a word or two, and there were lots of sparrows–at least we assumed all the small birds were sparrows–until one started going up and then head down around a tree trunk. Sparrows definitely don’t do that.
When I looked it up in my birdbook at home, I discovered it was a white breasted nuthatch. They like to forage in the bark for insects, and even cache seeds in the crevices. They are quite common in the United States, although I don’t recall ever noticing one before.
I had found my subject for draw a bird day, and wrote a shadorma to accompany the art for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday, poet’s choice.
hungry birds scatter
blue wings appear
a raucous throng
A gogyohka for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, poet’s choice.
I’ve been hearing blue jays everywhere I go for the last month. Since I’ve already featured blue jays, I decided to draw and paint its West Coast relative, the Stellar’s Jay. Like all jays, they are excellent mimics, and imitate hawks to scare other birds away from food they want to eat. They also pretend to be dogs, cats, squirrels and chickens.
Stellar Jays prefer dense coniferous wooded habitats, but being scavengers and opportunists, have adjusted well to the encroachment of humans.
we find your habits
impaling your prey on thorns–
killing to survive
our own destructive
disconnected from earth–
we pull life apart
The Loggerhead Shrike, also known as butcherbird or thornbird, is a medium sized songbird that acts like a raptor. With a short hooked beak, but lacking the talons of a true bird of prey, it hunts in similar ways, diving from an elevated perch or hovering and flushing its victims. It then impales its food on thorns or barbed wire. It can kill prey larger than itself by spearing the head or neck and twisting at a very high speed. Sounds gruesome, no? And many of the reference photos I looked at showed it either consuming or impaling its next meal–amphibians, insects, lizards, small mammals, small birds.
But it’s part of the food chain. And that’s how it obtains it’s food.
Loggerhead Shrikes, like many birds, have become endangered as their North American habitats shrink or are destroyed. Climate change and pesticides have also caused populations to decline.
How did I post this? Several people suggested going into the WP Administration page where you can do a normal post without dealing with the blocks. I looked at the block again briefly, but without success.
Still in the midst of moving, but should be back posting (as long as I can do it this way) in a couple weeks.
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–
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.
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.
The Carolina wren is common throughout the eastern United States, but it is more often seen than heard. Ground dwellers who prefer the undergrowth near forests, they live in pairs, and are believed to mate for life. The male is the most vocal, but they can also be heard in duet. Although shy of humans, these small brown birds are active and inquisitive.
deep rivers wander
tree to earthstone,
brown birdsong grows wild,
seeding wind with ancient light
A gogyohka from the Oracle for Colleen’s #tanka Tuesday, poet’s choice.
waves form patterns
mermaid songs rising falling
on currents of air
I used the photo supplied by Sally Cronin, above, for Colleen’s #tanka Tuesday gogyohka. The colored pencil drawing is one of water currents I did earlier this year. I meant to do more of these, but it requires a focus I just don’t have right now.
Also posting on dVerse Open Link Night, hosted by Mish.
we decoy ducks–turn
them into sitting targets
for the play of guns,
cartoon them with characters
that ignore their balanced grace
I did a lot of drawings and paintings of ducks and found them to be a challenge. Often they ended up looking more like decoys than something alive. I was interested to discover that the expression “sitting duck” came from how easy ducks are for hunters to shoot and kill–less sport than slaughter.
I also did not know that they spend 2 weeks in late summer or early fall molting, replacing all of their feathers. During that time they can’t fly.
Mallards are good parents, and prefer shallow freshwater wetlands to raise their families. They are one of the most recognizable and abundant duck species in the world, and ancestor to most strains of domesticated ducks.
For Colleen’s #tanka Tuesday, poet’s choice. I’ve written a tanka.
I follow you
into the dark crescendo
of sleepless nights
I was inspired to draw a nightingale by Rose Ausländer’s beautiful elegy, “My Nightingale”.
Once upon a time my mother was a doe.
The gold- brown eyes
stayed with her from the doe-time.
Here she was
half angel half human –
the middle was Mother.
When I asked her what she would have wanted to be
she said: a nightingale.
Now she is a nightingale.
Night after night I hear her
in the garden of my sleepless dream.
She is singing the Zion of the ancestors
she is singing the long-ago Austria
she is singing the mountains and beech
forests of Bukowina.
sings to me night after night
in the garden of my sleepless dream.
Once again, Draw a Bird Day is holding the fort at memadtwo, hoping Nina will be back soon.