Saturday, March 11, 2017


 Mallard pair
Canadian goose
Here are a pair of mallards and a Canadian goose.  We saw them together last year, well into winter, and then again as soon as the lake thawed in February.  The goose concerned me.  Geese are very social; this one did not mix with other geese.

There is an exhibit at the Japan Society in New York City, "A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints," in which many wakashu are depicted, young males who in Edo-period Japan are considered the height of beauty.  For a short time only, after puberty, wakashu permissibly could have sex with males or females who sought them out.  And so I thought of our "lone" goose.  Maybe he hadn't had a late molt last year, or a set-back or a loss.  Maybe this goose simply liked ducks.  And the ducks liked him well enough.  They shared a short time of species- if not gender-mix.

This week we have seen groups of odd-numbered geese, often 5, sometimes 3.  We now think our lone goose is mixing with other geese.  Whatever!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


I saw this field of winter cover crop, with a line of thaw, and some remnant of corn stubble. Thousands of rye seedlings -> one powerful color.

Sister Mary and I walked Saturday through a savanna near the Kankakee River watershed.  The ground there is already softening.  These clumps of wintered grass dotted a patch of ground between the savanna and a railroad bed.  They are as powerful as stumps, little plant mammoths.

Rhinoceroses are big, the second largest land mammal after elephants. They have very small eyes, and their eyesight is poor; still, no one says they are not powerful.  There are two southern white rhinos at the Detroit Zoo.  Will I ever see them as they are?

I put a rhino in the treeline of the rye field sketch.  If we live with them well, this gives power, yes?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Nuthatch signals new year

This Red-breasted Nuthatch did not give up his place at the feeder while I made noises nearby, amazing bird.  During the day I noticed a lot of bird activity: a Flicker had returned, not seen since October, and was eating ants in the grass.  Canadian geese had returned, and a pair of mallards flew over the thawing lake.  Many Tufted Titmouses were around for the first time this year.  All were busy and making fine trills and tweets, Americans all.

I've returned to Ai-jane because the birds prompt me to do what I do, busily, not giving up, with tweet-song-joy.