Here be quail–Quail Diaries, Redención Parte Uno

They called and left tracks and even in the presence of the Cooper’s hawk I saw them.

I’m here to work with the quail–today was just a walkabout and bit of observation as well as the setting out of seed and unset traps.  If you look carefully at the photo, what you’ll see is a mixture of the tracks of  adults and young.  One of the birds I saw was clearly a juvenile–about 1 month old perhaps.

just to watch

All I want to do is sit and wait for them, but they are roosting right now.

such a little dove

While I was out, waiting for them to emerge I saw the greater roadrunner Geococcyx californianus.  I say “the” because I think of the roadrunner as the only but of course, this is unlikely.  I hope it is unlikely–it must be since I was working here more than ten years ago and, at the time, regularly saw a male roadrunner  with a lizard in his beak, calling softly to females.  They apparently live 7-8 years so it would be surprising, to say the least, if the bird I saw was the same male I saw a decade ago.  He sounded so lonely though, all those years ago.

fly away.  

No one who does research does it in the absence of their own human relationship to the work.  Of course, we try to keep the relationship out.  And I know that I can make no assumptions about the way the male cow-calling earlier today exists in the world.  i have to find a means of understanding that does not require that I put my own self in little quail shoes and sit up in that tree and yell.

all shall be convey’d

But.  One cannot help thoughts that come up.  And one cannot help when one brings certain sorts of baggage along on the drive down.  I will, in a future post, write about the drive from Seattle.  Right now I just want to mention a bit a about ghosts.  It is out of temporal order because I wrote it last night, after I’d arrived  I was trying to settle myself and time is out of joint. My time at any rate.

The First Night:  Last Night

The first Day’s Night had come— 

I am always interested in ghosts when they belong to time outside of mind.

And grateful that a thing/so terrible–

But the ghosts with me now are my own. Memories that become hauntings are the materials of ghosts.  They are icy cold and leave shadows on the wall.  The cats and dogs can perceive them but are not alarmed because they’ve been around the ghosts as long as they’ve been around me.   I know nothing of the perception of the quail.  I suspect I am so other that all of my accreted ghosts are part and parcel of my strangeness.

had been endured–/I told my Soul to sing–

I have a habit of entering a new sort of crucible each decade.  The repetition of this process means, perhaps, that I’ve not cooked long enough before.  Perhaps I’ll cook longer this time and  I’ll come out and never have to enter again.

the world of the spirits…/they come and talk to me just the same

The ghosts are what are in the crucible or are what put me in the crucible or are the heat of the crucible.  Connection is too, of course.  My connection to my children in particular—to what they are today and what they were yesterday or a year ago or three years ago.  The children that were my children a year ago are gone now.  Parenting is a process of endlessly grieving the loss of the children that were because, of course, those earlier manifestions are gone or at least very buried in the children I have now, whose perfect being at this point will, in some future time, have, for the most part, vanished into the being they are at that point–one year older, or ten.

they are simply lodged there [in us], and we cannot get rid of them

There are other things I have to grieve—they are locked in here with me as well.  I am being cagey about these things because I am not comfortable telling you about them—let’s just say what I that was really wasn’t and now I’m trying to work my way back into what is.

gospels, trees, animals, waters, shall be convey’d

I’m to work in the field.  Tomorrow I go out and look for my birds.

Something’s odd—within—

All thoughts are prey to some beast

I have the flowers of myself/and my thoughts

hell must break before I am lost


Quotes are by Henrik Ibsen, Emily Dickinson, William Shakespeare,  Walt Whitman, Bill Callahan, HD, William Carlos Williams


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