December 6, 2019. We returned to our haunts near Rio Grande City the week of Thanksgiving. One very good birding location is Salineno World Birding Center located on the Rio Grande River and thus in danger. The current expectation is a wide caliche roadway between river and birding, nothing to spoil the birding center so long as the birds aren’t repulsed by construction. (But there are those insisting we need a continuous WALL …) If anywhere near Salineno in the November-March months, this place is worth the search. (The birds go elsewhere to breed summer/fall.)
I’ve been thinning and tweaking photos since we got back, looking for a green jay image that captures their playful energy. Today, I encountered a poetry form that so fits the experience of watching green jays – birds flapping around noisily, people holding still quietly. I don’t think I’ve seen a puente poem before, and this is certainly the first one I’ve written. Thanks go to Ken Gierke @ https://rivrvlogr.com/2019/12/06/finding-direction-puente/ for stirring my creativity. The puente form puts two perspectives together with a single common thread, and I knew immediately which photos to collage together to show the two “sides” of Salineno: birds on the far side of a large Mesquite growing laterally; birders a few yards away on the entrance side.
December 3, 2019. Our rosemary has not looked all that well since the freezes a year ago, and cutting it back was on my list after our first 2019 freeze. Well, good thing I’m slow getting to that list!
November 20, 2019. Seems Brie gets into just about everything, even my meditative moments. I concede laughing and then snapping a photo of my cat constitutes breaking the trance … but it led to an enlightened attitude on the spot and a poem later that day. I will post it now as an odd-ball “gratitude poem” for this Thanksgiving … a bit early as I’ll be traveling during the holiday.
October 19, 2019. Monarchs have begun appearing among our blue mist blooms … any day now we expect a large number to swoop through on their way South. This is an annual delight, but now comes with a complication named Brie. She’s spending prime outdoor hours indoors – unless I’m available to go intervene on behalf of the Monarchs. Monarchs seem quiet swift in rising if a cat appears. But. Brie is under restrictions! I found her huddled on the kitchen counter with bananas, clearly pouting.
August 30, 2019. Summer travels included a week in the National Forest near Lake City, Colorado. Beautiful country – in spite of recent destructive avalanches (record snowfalls continued into June) – and in spite of beetle demise of once-lush Spruce. Spruce is “old news” there, avalanches and floods garnering all the attention. For most. My eyes kept going to the Spruce. No longer alive, yet holding form through assaults of weather, marmots, bears, moose. Like a feather: you can mess with it, but it goes back to original form.
Big grey “feathers” were everywhere, mostly in multiples that made capturing the form with camera difficult. Might be time to work on my sketching skills! One solo Spruce stood at road’s edge, and I managed to get there in sufficient light and zero traffic on departure morning. Took a while to isolate enlarged branch from background, but: a labor of love.
August 6, 2019. After a long trip comes an indefinite period of prowling through camera images and phrases noted in journals, piecing together highlights of experiences to be savored (likely not repeated). In June we camped several days in the National Forest up above Cloudcroft NM, where we frequent in August for the annual Gathering Of Circles. This year our mountain time had to be earlier, as Gary’s school year shifted earlier. Tonight the Gathering begins; but yesterday teachers were already back at Stony Point High School. Since I cannot be at the Gathering, I am instead immersed in photos and memories of June’s mountain bliss. Wild irises were in bloom – something I’d never seen before, as they finish their cycle well before August. I found this haiku in my journal.
July 31, 2019. I’m still vibrating from Monday evening in the midst of purple martins amassing at dusk — preparing to migrate into South America. For a few evenings in July, the sky darkens with wings swooping down from way up high, collective perpetual motion, each bird merging into position, settling to rise again, resettle. Quite the party scene! Not sure if they wait for sufficient flock size, or weather cues, or perhaps the just-so moon cycle? One morning their signals dictate, and away they go — migrating amassed.
I first experienced this rush in 2014. We’ve missed out in recent years due to summer travels, but this year home early enough. This collage is from 2014 photos (I had a real camera with me that night). Some challenges an iPhone simply cannot meet. And no camera (still or video) can capture the energy of all those wings! Nor the compatibility of humans in awe.