Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bird Report

A wax wing. (Thank you, Wikimedia)

Last night before Wine Hour I was resting on the couch on the porch and listening to the birds. There was something making a high twittery, churring sound nearby, so high pitched it was almost out of hearing range. A couple of somethings by the sound of it. I couldn't tell if it was coming from the oak tree off to my right or from the tangle of lilacs, apple trees, scrubby bushes and pines over across the drive. I thought maybe it was hummingbirds. The other evening a green hummingbird darted out of the the oak tree and hung in front of the porch inspecting us for 10-20 seconds before making a curlicue dance and darting off towards the lilacs. Finally I got up to investigate and found that the big fluffy orange cat from the big house was also prowling around our yard. I determined the sound was coming from the somewhere in the lilacs and just as my father in law came out of the house and asked me what I was doing, a pair of cedar wax wings leapt up out of the brush and lighted on the top of the tallest pine tree. They posed there prettily for a few moments then flew into the woods.

Yesterday we also came upon a gray catbird perched on the back of a bench at the top of the stairs from the beach. We paused a couple stairs down, our heads level with the bench but far away enough that I guess we blended in with the tall grass and raspberries because the bird didn't seem to notice us at all.

In the late afternoon, one can often spot the local osprey flying out to sea to hunt. Once I saw it returning with a fish.

Other coming sightings are a pair particularly plump robins tugging worms in our yard, oodles of goldfinches, scads of chickadees, and something fast, big, and black and white (a woodpecker of some sort, methinks). On the water there are gulls, of course, including a large all-gray gull that I can't identify, cormorants, flotillas of young loons, and quite a few terns. There is also something that rasps loudly in the woods near the cabin in the morning and something that sings prettily in the woods at dusk. These may be the same thing. I'm guessing maybe it is a mockingbird, although the rasp could be a particularly vociferous squirrel or a very large insect.

Reading: I finally finished reading American Gods yesterday, 2 days after I was hoping to finish it. I read the last 40 pages or so very slowly, reluctant to part with the book. It is an American epic, a hero's journey, complete with tests and battles and a trip to the underworld. I'm not sure what the book says on a larger scale about myth or religion or America, but whatever it said when it was written in the late 90s is different than what it says now ... maybe? It really affected me to see that the author's note, which comes at the end, was written on January 15, 2001. Gaiman launched this book into the world at the beginning of that terrible year. Would he have been able to write the same book after? The climax of the book is the avoidance of a great chaotic bloodbath. What did it feel like to him to see the towers fall after that, to see the wars that followed? The sadness is overwhelming to me. And now, I guess, the are making a miniseries, because that is what we do now. All of prior culture will eventually be turned into a cable tv miniseries. You know, I think someone like Neil Gaiman should write a book about that. Or maybe someone like me.

Now on to The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, which I rereading in preparation for school.

Writing: Made some notes.

Dinner: For wine hour I made a "caponata" of minced up leftover grilled eggplants, patty pan, and butternut, combined with black olives, garlic scapes, fresh basil & oregano, lemon & orange zest and juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of cayenne.

Soundtrack: There is a cricket that sings in the oak tree in the evening.

Random thing: Z got seasick and O had an unfortunate run in with a dog too enthusiastic about its stick. He has a puncture by his thumb. Many people helped to nurse him in his great upset over the wound, but it looks fine. Prognosis is good.

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