Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Great Blue Heron Innsbrook Missouri
Who has ever heard the song of a Great Blue Heron?
A Question About Birds
I am going to sit on a rock near some water
or on a slope of grass
under a ceiling of white clouds,
and I am going to stop talking
so I can wander around in that spot
the way John James Audubon might have wandered
through a forest of speckled sunlight,
stopping now and then to lean
against an elm, mop his brow
and listen to the songs of birds.
Did he wonder as I often do,
how they regard the songs of other species?
Would it be like listening to the Chinese
merchants at an outdoor market?
Or do all birds perfectly understand one another?
Or is that nervous chittering
I often hear from the upper branches
the sound of some tireless little translator?
From Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems by Billy Collins
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Friday, May 25, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Clovis spear point in the hand of Richard Martens.While I was taking a course on Faulkner's novel, The Sound and the Fury, at Washington University's Life Long Learning Institute I asked my friend Richard Martens what he did in his "spare" time. It turns out that he is an amateur archeologist who has discovered and participated in excavations in St Louis County.In 1968 Richard found artifacts on a hill east of Olive Boulevard near Faust Park in west St Louis County. The hill, which was the highest surrounding point (670 feet above sea level), was on the bluffs of the Missouri River and the find resulted in an archeological exploration of the "Martens site" in 1997. This allowed for the location of a relativelyintact Clovis habitation site with subsequent recovery of over 38 Clovis tools. Study of the tools linked them to plant materials (soft or woody)and bone, antler, and ivory. Site activities were oriented not only to huntingbut also to agrarian manipulation of woody and other plant products.Clovis is the name archeologists have given to the earliest (maybe not the first) well established human culture in North America. The Clovis people were the first big game hunters of the Palleoindian tradition. Their sites are dated from 11,00 to 10,800 RCYBP (Radio Carbon Years Before the Present). Thisconverts to 12,500 to 12,900 years before the present. As big game hunters they used spears mounted with Clovis points made from chert. Chert is a silicabased rock that occurs in large beds or as flint nodules. Clovis points have been found in various areas in North America but not often in St. Louis County.Martens and others have published extensively. For example:Martens,RE, et. al. 2004 The Surface Collection from the Martens Site (23SL222) The Missouri Archeologist 65:1-43Sometimes innocent questions bear amazing fruit.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
This little angel lost her feet to frostbite many years ago. Now she just sits on a
mound of creek rocks and ponders her future.
I met a Traveler from an antique land,
Who said, "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them in the sand
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on those lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings.
Look on my works ye Mighty and despair!"
No thing beside remains. Round
The decay of that Colosal Wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Percy Bysshe Shelly 1818
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Monday, May 14, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
We need a break from all those flashy iris. Lily of the Valley has always had a very
calming effect on me. For the first eighteen years of my life I could see them outside the dining room window.
It is mentioned in the Song of Solomon (2:1): "I am the rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley". But for its simplicity, purity, and effortless splendor, I prefer Luke 12:27, "Observethe lilies, how they grow. They neither labor nor spin. And yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was as beautifully dressed as one of these."
Have a wonderful Mother's Day.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Monday, May 7, 2012
Friday, May 4, 2012
Hesperis This tall plant with striking purple flowers has many names including Dames Rocket, damask violet, summer lilac, night scented gilliflower, and mother-of-the-evening. For years I thought this was early blooming phlox. Hesperis has alternately arranged leaves and four petals per flower while phlox has opposite leaves and five petals per flower.
Hesperis is Greek for evening.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
You may remember that last summer my son Lee Sessions was on a canoe expedition on the Lorillard River in arctic Canada when a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) surprised them
in their tent. These images show the curious bear turn into a predator. Initially the bearwho has retreated because of noise from the paddlers returns to the rivers edge. His
head is up and his ears are forward.
At some point his ears go back and he starts sniffing around.
He swims the river toward the camp. His ears are definitely back.
Now he is on high alert and intent. His head is down. His ears are back and he begins advancing.The following information is from Jim Gallagher, retired Us Forest Service biologist, who was on the trip with my son Lee.
The polar bear is the world's largest land predator. It combines the attributes of being immensely curious as well as being absolutely fearless. Because of this the polar bear
is respected, feared, and accepted as a part of life by the Inuit.Paddlers under these circumstances must be prepared for interaction. Possible ways to prepare for a bear surprise include posting a watch or having an electric fence. Once
contact has been made, possible deterrents include yelling, banging pots and pans, airhorns, bear bangers, and the use of pepper spray. Because this apex predator is fearless
and can be aggressive and dangerous, having firearms with non-lethal and lethal ammunition is important. Locals who live and work in polar bear country carry fire arms. In telling their
story to the local Inuit of the hamlet of Chesterfield Inlet Lee's group felt fortunate that no one in their group was injured. The Inuit heard the story in a very matter of fact way and couldn't
wait to tell their own polar bear stories.
Other bonuses and flowers can be found on my blog: