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.
and I am reminded again of who I am,
what I see when I look up at the night sky,
the scent of the earth in spring–
I feel the summer lingering,
long days of sun and sand
and the salty taste I carry
through days that follow me in rhythm
with the waves–
I see the sharpness of blue sky
behind black branches,
a playground of white snow
that culminates in hot chocolate,
the inside warming the outer—
I have been uprooted and transplanted
so many times that nowhere is home–
everything is temporary–
I’m always expecting to move on–
but I remember looking up
through the shade of oak trees,
the roses in my mother’s garden,
lilacs filled with butterflies—
the rust and gold of autumn
singing beneath my feet
For the earthweal challenge, a song of earth-praise from 2019. How far away that seems now. But I am still thinking of my mother.
remnants of autumn bending
landscapes into dreams
beneath winter’s frost
ancient stonesongs murmur
from seed to spring
haiku and gogyohka from the Oracle
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.
condensed into light–
gold tinged with tides,
rising and falling
I did a similar grid with circles a few years ago, but I’ve always wanted to give it another try. As with the last one, I first painted a landscape (wishing I had my gouache, but done with watercolor), then cut it up, rearranged it, and added collage dots from my collage box. Here’s the original landscape:
David Hockney-ish I think. Not my usual style, and perhaps a bit brighter than I intended. But I like the colors.
I’ve done a tanka for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday form challenge, which also works for Frank Tassone’s challenge of harvest moon. The paint oracle is totally responsible for turning my moon painting into a tree.
My new view of the full moon. I have to catch it when it passes between the buildings.
I did this painting for a prompt (which I later altered and will post at some point), but it works for this message from the Oracle today.
death aches us
in black chants
do not ask me
to stop time
watch the sky–
her ship is a light
singing through the moon
in the language of
a shining wind
May our actions and words continue and honor the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
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.
our bridges reflect themselves,
shimmering as we cross
between the solid and what
we cannot control–
the light tells us stories
about what we think we see,
about what lies beneath
the surface of where and who
we think we are–
more, there is always more
that stays unfocused,
that contains what can’t be
seen it its entirety,
that reconfigures itself
with wind, or clouds,
or tides rising from the unseen–
they say humans prefer the mirrored
image to the camera’s eye—
the uncapturable moment
For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above.