Thursday, September 1, 2016

Welcome to meteorological Autumn #phenology

If you visit this blog with any regularity, you've probably noticed that turkeys are regular visitors to "The Property" we call home and so, are often mentioned in My Minnesota. They have been for the more than twenty years we've lived here. Yesterday morning a small flock did something for the first time as far as we know.

turkeys sunning themselves
turkeys sunning themselves
Photo by J. Harrington

We didn't notice if the small flock came across the fields or out of the woods. We did see them sunning themselves at the edge of the woods on top of the back yard's far slope. They weren't actively feeding, as they often are, nor were they headed from point A to point B. They were just kind of squatting and stretching and soaking up the sun. After fifteen or twenty minutes, they gathered themselves together and started pecking and feeding their way south toward the pine plantation at the boundary of The Property. As far as I can recall, it was the first time ever that I've seen a turkey loafing. My suspicion, but it's only speculation, is that the recent combination of extended cloudy weather, plus lots of rain or thunderstorms, had the birds feeling a need to soak up some Autumnal sunshine and warmth while they could. Rain's back in the forecast for next week. Could it be that humans aren't the only two-legged creatures that anticipates enjoying this interlude before temperatures start a noteworthy decline?

The Tree Sparrows


We suffer through blinding equatorial heat,
refusing to unfold the suspended bamboo shade
nested by a pair of hardworking, cheerless sparrows.
We’ve watched them fly in-and-out of their double
entryways, dried grass, twigs clamped in their beaks.
They skip, nestle in their woodsy tunnel punctured
with light, we presume, not total darkness, their eggs
aglow like lunar orbs. What is a home? How easily
it can be destroyed: the untying of traditional ropes,
pull, the scroll-unraveling. For want of a sweltering
living room to be thrown into relief by shadow.

The sunning couple perch open-winged, tube lofty
as in Aristophanes’ city of birds, home made sturdy
by creature logic and faith that it will all remain afloat.


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