Tuesday, May 28, 2013

field works

After two days of field work—in as much as we spent most of the time in two local fields several miles and over 2,000 feet in elevation apart—looking for the birds that inhabit the edges around them: chats, buntings, cardinals, towhees, warblers, grosbeaks.

Fields nurture the soul. They're open and spacious, good to holiday and laze around in. Think Monet, "Les Coquelicots à Argenteuil."

There's this lovely juxtaposition: this sense of vastness and intimacy. People are not suited for cages, we evolved in the open where we could hide in plain sight. See far and imagine plenty. Think Monet, "Woman with a Parasol."

You want to get naked, sloth off civilization, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, and metaphorically you do. Fields are expansive. There's an observable sigh, a loss of tension.

Perhaps this is why we so admire the birds, they represent this untethered freedom, tied to nothing earthbound. Blue sky and slow moving clouds and birds. A hallelujah chorus with the choir in feathered robes.

One species very common and vocal in both fields we visited was the pink-billed field sparrow (Spizella pusilla).

No real surprise except they are listed as number 9 on Audubon's list of Top 20 Common North America Birds in Decline, having lost an estimated 68 percent of their overall population in the past 40 years due to habitat loss. We found them but they are disappearing from other places.

Perhaps we are turning our fields into something they shouldn't be...cages.


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