Running. With Whippoorwills.

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Mile Marker 0:

It’s 4:25 am, and Quiet but for the whippoorwills which break the silence. How do I know they are whippoorwills? Because I like to say w-h-i-p-p-o-o-r-w-i-l-l-s. And because that’s the only way I can work in this beautiful poem by Howard Moss.

And then the whippoorwill
Begins its tireless, cool,
Calm, and precise lament—
Again and again and again—
Its love replying in kind,
Or blindly sung to itself,
Waiting for something to happen.

~ Howard Moss, from “Going to Sleep in the Country,” New Selected Poems

Tireless, cool, calm, and precise lament. Again and again and again.

Not the tireless. Not the cool. Not the calm. But I’ve got the lament part down. And the again and again and again part. And I excel at waiting for something to happen.

GET UP. GET MOVING. TIME TO RUN.

My lips form wwwwhip, wwwwhippoor, and there it is: whippoorwill. Soothing. I repeat it Again and again and again.

There’s magic in the formation of these letters.

Or I’m a circus monkey. [Read more…]

Fly. Pause. Fly.

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Source: Journal of a Nobody

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

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Federal Recreation Lands Photo Contest. Honorable Mention selection for “Wildlife” by Koustav Maity, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Source: Recreation.gov

Kill the lights

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Eleanor Randolph, NY Times: Kill the Lights, Not the Birds:

As many as a billion birds die each year in this country as they attempt to follow their seasonal routes — flying north in summer months, south in winter.  Because many songbirds, sea birds, and other avians rely on stars to navigate, they grow confused by artificial lights.  As a result, these birds die in droves as their ancient routes are interrupted by tall, brightly lit, glass buildings.

We can’t unplug the nation for the birds, of course.  But bird lovers in New York can celebrate another conversion in their intrepid campaign to dim non-essential lights during the bird migration seasons. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York promised on Monday to begin right away turning off excess lights in state buildings from midnight until dawn as the birds fly across his state. […]

Bright lights once helped define human success, a triumph over the limits and perils of nighttime. Now we know that dimming those lights can mean a different kind of success — the survival of thousands and thousands of migrating birds.

Read entire essay:  Kill the Lights, Not the Birds


Photo Credit: wiki commons

Sunday Morning: They have chosen us

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It is afternoon — the time of gathering. The long shadows of the day stretch out behind us. I am watching the birds land on the feeder outside our window. Grackles, chickadees, songbirds, and jays. Why have they chosen us? Despite cats, squirrels, noise, human intrusion, they brave everything to return here. I marvel as they make their peace with each other and share this common space…

They take their turns. The songbirds flutter, alight, grab a few grains, and retreat. The jays strut and preen. The grackles swoop down with impunity, take what they will. Far in the background, perched in a small pine tree, the chickadee sits patiently…[and then] swoops in and takes a small grain of corn…The chickadee flutters upward and disappears into the orange glow of evening. She was the last, and now she is gone. But she will be back. They will all be back. Though they have the freedom of the air, they have chosen us.

~ Kent Nerburn, Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life


Notes:

  • Credits: Thank you Susan for photo from backyard, 4pm, April 24, 2015.
  • Related Kent Nerburn posts

Lightly Child, Lightly

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It soared, a bird, it held its flight, a swift pure cry, soar silver orb it leaped serene, speeding, sustained, to come, don’t spin it out too long long breath he breath long life, soaring high, high resplendent, aflame, crowned, high in the effulgence symbolistic, high, of the ethereal bosom, high, of the high vast irradiation everywhere all soaring all around about the all, the endlessnessnessness…”

James Joyce, Ulysses 


Notes:

  • Image Source: gifdrone
  • Quote: Fables of the Reconstruction
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

A ceaseless rustle of wings

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I knew without being able to see them that a few thousand feet up, there would be star-reading birds migrating north out of this heat toward our unrolling Wyoming mountain summer: owls, thrushes, orioles, sparrows. I knew that for some birds, migration is almost all they do, nonstop, hundreds of miles north, hundreds of miles south, back and forth, a ceaseless rustle of wings, years shaved off their wild lives with all the effort of near perpetual motion. Once, twenty-five years ago, camping near a waterfall on the Zambian border with Zaire, I had caught a glimpse of a distant flock of birds traveling at night against a full moon, fleeting black cut-out shapes, intent on destination. Often since then, I’ve searched the night sky, and although I have caught the brief twist of bats flitting through currents of insects, I have never again seen that nighttime miracle of birds, secretly stitching together south and north with their hunger, with their collective, insistent, mounting realization of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. […]

And in any case, what life had taught me is that where we come from is a point— not the starting point, not the defining point— just a point. It’s where we are that really counts.

~ Alexandra Fuller, Leaving Before the Rains Come


Photo: Joe Chan

Nest


Watch. For 120 seconds.


4:59:57. 4:59:58. 4:59:59. 5:00:00 Bell!

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Source: Galapagos Albatross Mating dance @ Nichijou. Don’t miss youtube video here.

Sunday Morning: An epic spectacle on par with the annual wildebeest migration

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Charu Suri @wsj.com: Have You Ever Seen the Crane?

North America’s sandhill crane migration is one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles. To witness these frequent flyers on their favorite plains, head to Nebraska now.

From mid-February to mid-April (peaking during the last few weeks of March), the densest influx of migrating sandhill cranes descends on Nebraska. 80% of the planet’s crane population, 650,000 birds, have been making seasonal stopovers in the region for at least 10,000 years, an epic spectacle on par with the annual wildebeest migration in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

These slate-colored winged beauties with crimson foreheads and cream-colored cheeks gather along the sinuous, braided channels of the Platte River, which offer them protection from predators, and feast on corn left on the fields after harvest until not a kernel remains…(In a perfectly symbiotic dynamic, the cranes help the farmers by leaving them a clean field ready for planting the following year.)

I could hear the distinctive, low and throaty call of the crane — as insistent as cicada song — even through the closed windows of our car. (The song of one sandhill crane can carry well over a mile.)…It sounded as if an avian orchestra was tuning up just a few feet away, as a blend of sharp trills and lush cooing filled the air. Though the sun had not yet risen, I could make out the silhouettes of wings and of reedlike legs supporting the birds’ hefty bluish-grey frames. A few frisky, early rising males did the mating dance, flapping their wings and leaping a few feet into the air like giddy, light-footed schoolboys, while the females seemed to look on approvingly. But most of the cranes were still asleep, their heads tucked under their wings…The entire scene was accompanied by what sounded like countless chamber orchestras riffing simultaneously on Stravinsky.

Fun Facts on Sandhill Cranes: Sandhill cranes travel up to 10,000 miles, as many as 500 per day, on their annual migration from the Southern U.S. and Mexico. Their wingspan: 6.5 feet for adults. Their average height: Just under four feet for adults. Special Talent: They are known for their ability to dance. Like humans, they boogie to find a mate, relieve tension and just for fun.

Read more here: Have You Ever Seen the Crane?


Photo by Siena62 taken near Kearney, NE