Friday, July 31, 2009

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole (ICTERUS GALBULA) 1950 edition Audubon print, with commentary on the reverse by Roger Tory Peterson. Printed in the USA, slightly larger than 9"x11". Rescued from a church bazaar, the pages have a slight yellow patina to them, to be expected after 60 years.

"As if following some invioble schedule orioles make their annual pilgrimage over tropical jumgles, across or around the Gulf of Mexico, through the plantations of the Gulf states and ever northward until in early May they reach the elm-shaded towns of the Great Lakes and New England. A few continue into southern Canada. Bad weather might hold them up a little, but not much, and they arrive within a day or two of the same date from year to year."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer is almost over

Summer is almost over.
School will be starting soon.
Schedules and routines will begin
to carve away at time and energies.
The seasons will begin their shifting.
It's still July,
but I can already see
a few yellow leaves under the maples.
(Hopefully these are a harbinger
of a colorful fall, and not
a sign of impending drought.)
Before we know it,
we will wonder where
all the leaves went,
and The Dreaded Daylight Savings Time
will arrive,
plunging those of us who toil
deep in the windowless bowels
of lecture rooms,
cramped impromptu conference areas,
and ergonomically-challenged office spaces
designed by sadists
vehemently opposed to the concept of feng shui,
to commutes in utter darkness.
(This is the part
where you may join,
with the marching goblins
of the Wicked Witch of Western Oz,
in singing, "Ohh-wee-ohh, o-waaaay-ohh!"
The lament of teachers
and schoolchildren across the country
rises into the stifling summer sky,
mixed with the sobs of bus-drivers,
cooks, janitors
and an occasional part-time ice cream truck operator.
This mournful chorus is counterbalanced
by the long, grateful sighs of soon-to-be-liberated mothers, grandparents, babysitters and
(rare-as-hens-teeth) househusbands.
It is an annual call-and-response.
(This where you may insert
the gleeful caregivers as they parody
Snow Whites' dwarves in singing,
"Heigh, ho! Heigh ho! It's off to school they go...")
Soon most households will push the young
out of the nest,
if even for a few blessed hours.
Cats will nap peacefully.
Any doors remaining on their hinges
will remain closed.
Dust will settle.
To the goblin horde,
duty calls.
To the rest of you,
enjoy for now.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Mourning Dove (ZENAIDURA MACROURA) 1950 edition Audubon print. Printed in the USA, slightly larger than 9"x11". Rescued from a church bazaar, the pages have a slight yellow patina to them, to be expected after 60 years.

Audubon himself wrote:"On the branch above, a love scene is just commencing. The female, still coy and undetermined, seems doubtful of the truth of her lover, and virgin-like resolves to put his sincerity to the test, by delaying the gratification of his wishes. She has reached the extremity of the branch, her wings and tail already opening, and she will fly off to some more sequestered spot, where, if her lover should follow with the same assiduous devotion, they will doubtless become as blessed as the pair beneath them."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Purple Finch

This weekend we went to a book sale. One of the finds was a portfolio of 50 bird prints from 1950, designed by Audubon. I've had fun scanning them.


"Purple hardly describes the rosy hue of these attractive finches which Audubon has shown dangling from the tips of larch twigs."