Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Chicory, like the sparrow of my first blog, is said to be alien and invasive. Well it can be ubiqutous. It's a beautiful plant, the blooms of which can range from pale mauves to sky blue. At Lois's community garden last Saturday, very late in the afternoon, chicory were showing a very deep blue bloom. This color is unusual. Maybe the silvery light from the drizzling rain "popped" the color. Unusual also was the time of day of the blooms. Chicory blooms close even by noon often.
Chicory is everywhere around here. It actually likes the dusty ground beside roads. It grows by itself or surrounded in fields. I sketch it often when I'm out. I can forget that the blooms will close, starting with a wide dotting of the blues across the field on my paper or canvas and, oh, six hours later suddenly looking out and wondering about their disappearance.
The blooms open one at a time, my books say. I'm not entirely sure what that means. I've sketched a sprig with one bloom, thinking that I might see a bud open as I sketched but no. In a vase, the blooms' color looks, I think, wan. Spent blooms are milky pinkish, almost milky white. The color has faded. In a vase I suppose the chicory fades fast, like some wildflowers do, even ones that can hold a bloom in hardscrabble places. The bloom here is slightly wan in color.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

chipping sparrow

The chipping sparrow was letting fly tiny chips of earthstuff while it beak-picked around for food: busy.

This sketch is 5"x5," mostly pastel and charcoal, on Stonehenge paper.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Sparrow sketch: 07. 19. 2009: Ubiquitous, yes, these sparrows. They are all around us in our yard and in our neighborhood. They are said to be bad, alien, crowders-out of other birds, and worse. The sparrows of course are oblivious to these charges. I've seen no bad action. It is true, though, that they crowd the feeders, that they are many.

I came across a poem last month, entitled A Ubiquity of Sparrows. The poet is Craig Arnold. His poem appears in the summer 2009 issue of Paris Review, where I saw it. Here is the quote that Craig Arnold puts above his poem, under the title:

A certain traveler who knew many continents was asked what he
found most remarkable of all. He replied: the ubiquity of sparrows.

-Adam Zagejewski

Here are three lines from Craig Arnold's poem. The poem is wonderful.

Sparrow whose feet barely sway the twig of a willow
who leaps into the air with the smallest of leaf-shivers

Sparrow the color of dust and mud and dry grass-stems

I start my blog with the sparrows because of the convergence of bird, sketch, and poem: a convergence I am glad about.