Except as noted, all images copyrighted by and should be attributed to E. Bourland Hawley.
I had become many eons ago a traveling literary gnome, inquisitive about places I had and had not visited,
walking the same paths of peoples from the past, through places once grand and still grand,
photographing images that now show me the places about which I still dream . . .

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On the Way to Big Bend






Pinyon Jay and Wood Rat in Big Bend


In the fall, the Pinyon Jay will migrate to the Big Bend area, heading straight for the Pinyon Pine. The Jay can extract with its beak the nuts of the Pinyon and hold as many as twenty-five nuts in his diverticulum, or esophageal pouch. If a Jay sees any more nuts in the cone, he will try to stuff his beak with as many as he can before flying away to the nearest mountain. On the mountain, at the base of a large tree, generally a Ponderosa Pine, and on the south side, a jay will accumulate a pile of nuts, most of which he will eat throughout the winter. In the meantime, sentinel Pinyon Jays remain on the mountain keeping watch over the nuts; if an intruder seeks to steal the nuts, the jays will squawk an alert for their fellow birds, who will all come up from gathering nuts, fly to each pile and relocate the nuts to another mountain.
The process of gathering nuts precedes the mating ritual of the Pinyon Jay. While the females stand by, a male Pinyon Jay will approach them, raise his head as high as he can – in an attempt to make himself look tall and handsome – then “dance” before them. The females pretend to ignore him while he performs for them; at a determined point, the male will thump the ground with the tips of his wings, then rush toward one of the females, and then place before her a pinion nut that he has held in his diverticulum during the pre-mating ritual. After placing the nut before her, he walks away, and in a seemingly nonchalant way, casting side-long glances in her direction, he will wait to see if she takes the nut, or not. If she does not, he returns to her, picks up his Pinyon nut, and begins the dance again, and then places his nut before another female. If she does take it, she holds the nut in her diverticulum while together they fly up into the mountain to build their nest. When the eggs hatch, usually four nestlings per couple, the female will feed them the pine nut that the male presented to her after his dance. Perhaps because the Pinyon Jays focus on the entire group, each year, each jay has a different mate; they will gather nuts and catch insects for the entire community, flying from nest to nest feeding every one of their fellow jays.

The Wood Rat has a white belly and throat, and a fluffy tail similar to a squirrel. They gather sticks, place them at the foot of a tree, and build a nest within the structure, called a midden. Inside, the middens have different chambers, several containing pine nuts and one used for nesting, and all of which the Wood Rats have connected by tunnels. Interestingly, the Wood Rat has an eye for objects of beauty, or of unusual shapes, such as small granite or semi-precious stones, such as turquoise, and arrowheads made of quartz, or potsherds. As they gather nuts, they gather these objects of beauty or interest and carry them home. At times, they will bury nuts in order to have room to carry their newly found objects. At home, the Wood Rat will place the objects upon the walls of the tunnels and the nesting chamber. Archaeologists enjoy digging up Wood Rats’ homes, some dating 10,000 years, to find interesting objects.

Let Lovely Turn of Phrase Begin

Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On

Listen, will you? I think that . . . literature, poetry, music and love make the world go round . . . while mathematics explains things; I fill my life with them, then go walking in snowy woods.
Let us go then, you and I
like two etherized patients floating
through life, together feeling prufrockian.
DDB Jr. makes my world go 'round; during his absence, Pachelbel fills it up.
One summer I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, then through the Gulf of Finland to reach Saint Petersburg; I pursued Joseph Brodsky in its alley ways. I dream of making that two summers.
I read “Biking to Electra;” found my way in a Jaguar car, and glanced at the flashing steel grasshoppers at sunset. I’ll follow K.O.P.’s footsteps after he followed N.Scott Momaday’s; find warmth and inspiration on a rainy mountain.
Throw chinese coins for the I Ching.
Save the whales, the spotted owl, the woman in toil.
Cast a fly for trout; my memories of fly fishing under the sunny blue Colorado sky remain; I yearn to build more . . . with more trophy Browns.
Listen for the swan’s calls on the Baltic Sea. Feel KKII's joy, his arms spread wide in Yazilikaya.
Good night, Jimmy Durante, where ever you are.