By flight..... the other day between LAX and Tucson, I spent with a nice young man....we chatted in 9A and 9B. Only until he borrowed the bathroom on this short flight, did I notice as he moved from his seat to that of standing; did I mind you, take note that he had no legs. He walked...with the help of implements. As he was gone, my mind wandered to how lucky my life has been.
He returned....and told me his story of war. Sad.........but he started life once more. He moved on, he survived...he became.
But it reminded me of an artist....who returned after a war and found himself working around demons and forbidden dreams. But upon finding his future wifeGeorgette, he moved on with life and took his demons and turned them into surrealist existence of what was, for after all in his own words 'no matter how naturalistically we depict an object, we never do catch the item itself."
So true...with the young man on the plane. We or us or anyone who views will depict his existence based upon what is not existing, as opposed to what is. So, we lack the ability to catch the person themselves as our eyes are deceived by what is, rather than, well.... the deep forbidden music.
Now this connection between man and artist and artist and man and painting, made me think, if not just for a minute. You see, once a time and not that long ago, I was walking past a wall in a shelter on the beach in Australia and startling myself to a degree, came across this juvenile mynah merely existing....staying alive. Far from its mom...it had none too much of a life to look forward to I was afraid. Just a mere manikin, a mynah pretending to be.
With respect.....with respect....I gave the bird 'space'....so as not to alarm. I left and wandered on down the beach, thinking all along of the juvenile bird and pondered the time it had left.
I dined that night with my daughter and as her kids fell asleep and she came about, I wondered what was in their future? More perhaps than that of the mynah I hope. All tucked in and ready to face another day with mom and dad to support and guide with loving hands. Not that much difference between the Mynah sitting in the nest and having the shelter of being high and the privilege of a mom who provided food...
Or....Magrette, prior to war....prior to demons....or to the young man on the plane, prior to war, ....to a time when he ran down the block or thru the park.
For you see....I hope you understand....that we all start out with 'all'....and one by one we lose a bit of what defines, as the years consume us... Be it legs....be it realism, be it the safety of a nest or arms of mom.
We too will reach a time where we come home and find our belongings entwined with other things. We are simply left with 'us' and perhaps a dog and find hidden within the cabinets of our hearts; a moon that continues to glow, for now and ever after......as it was before.
Meet me in the Morning..meet me in the night. Yes...here I am in the middle of the night (sort of speaking...relatively....about) and find myself tramping around in the dry high country of Arizona looking for nighthawks. There are two species to look out for, the lesser nighthawk and the common nighthawk.
Now...essentially these are the same as the elevation itself is going to be the deciding factor. If you haven't tried it yet...come out to the desert and simply drive around after dark. Your headlights will attract em...just drive. Pretty easy to 'bird by car' this way. Driving along I take note of where I am and know the elevation. Lesser Nighthawks are below 5000' feet while common ones will range about 5000'.
So..as we start out from my house which is round 3000' feet, any nighthawk I find will be a lesser nighthawk, and the ones I fine closer to Madera Canyon proper, will be common nighthawks. It will be the ones 'in-between'; around 4000-4500'' elevation that I will have to worry about.
Sounds like a plan....off we go. Into the night to find who meets me in the night, for quite frankly I don't care about the morning as I will be asleep. We travel and get past most houses and find ourselves in the land of the 'wicked', at night that is. I like to think myself as being liberal and, as to be honest, I have what I need and no use just denying someone else an opportunity just because. But high country in Arizona means a bit more than just what people think of me, but rather, what I accidentally might stumble upon at night.
We travel on into the dark. Lights awaken our illusion of being alone...of being in the night. Flashlights upon us. We stop..... for it isn't just one light but actually several and from several directions, all aimed at us. I think....I think I tell ourselves that we have just 'stumbled a bit' onto what exists here in AZ at night, and all,...all to find a common or lesser nighthawk.
As one drives to Madera Canyon you see....you have a few options. You can continue up the gorge and into the Canyon where you elevate your height stature to above 6000' rather quickly and see the common nighthawk with ease, or...you do what we did and take the left turn. I know we didn't miss the left turn at Albuquerque as one would think if you remember the Hanna Barbara cartoons but we did take the left, and not just 'miss the left'
Strange as it might be though, we stumbled onto the 'right..... the right being Border Patrol and all decked out in what appears to us to be giant flashlights. But as a flashlight approached us, and then another....prying into the backseat with falsity, we were told that this is not too 'safe of a place to be at' ...whether we were birding or existing.
Hmmmm...perhaps so.....perhaps it is best to take one's pride or if not, one's inner thoughts, and move on.
But the fact remains one unchanged or one that we could change and understandably so. We backed up and edged out and took the high route to Madera Canyon and saw Common Nighthawks. Perhaps as we came down and made our way to 'safety' we might have seen a lesser nighthawk. Not sure, but our minds were not on that, but rather just in the grasping of the morning. So not just 'meet me in the night' but we did now understand the 'morning aspect of it all'...
Australia...... need I say more....Does the sign make sense? If I say Australia, yes; it makes sense. Sharks, crocs, snakes, spiders, snakes, spiders, snakes, spiders, snakes......
This past month I have spent my time in Melbourne hanging out with grandkids and family. My bird count in Australia is not much over 140, but the birding is 'fun'. Now here is why. The images in the guide book actually connect to what my eyes see in the field. I see a bird, I look in the guide...I can ID the bird. I can learn about the bird and it's habitat etc. Pretty fun. And, the birds are not so close in coloration that I have to find road-kill to ID (warblers and peeps and and and and and). The only thing I do have to worry about is 'is that a twig or is that a snake? I when I mean 'worry', I do mean 'worry'. Local parks, be it city and certainly country, always have these little signs that 'snakes live here'. This time of the season (spring for them) is prime snake season and you learn to quickly stay on paths and out of the bush, tall grass, under trees and if out and about in a remote place, you bird by two. Sounds like being a cop in Watts.... Two per car for safety.
Well, so I thought. Now I have to actually worry about the birds I am birding. Look at the image below and you will find a fairly common occurrence during breeding season.
Ho hum....hummy ho.....what a nice day for a ride...ho hum...wow...nice weather. Dog poop, let me swerve around it....ho hum....nice gentle ride with no hills here in Melbourne. What a beautiful park...lets go in it and ride the trails. Ho hum, ho hum...hum ho. Egads, what was that? WTF? What...hey, what's going on, hey get out of here, scam...ooo ouch... WTF....out man, ouch,.... hey......"
The inevitable occurs as a person falls off the bike and skins their knees. And the beat goes on...flies by...the beat continues as your legs push on; move the bike thru the park. The bird flies on, continuing to nab, grab, peck... yes, the beat goes on.