When we moved into our current house four years ago, weÂ noticed a pretty, tortoise-shell cat crossing the yard frequently, alwaysÂ on her way to somewhere else.Â Her usual route brought her in from fields to the north, from which she traversed our weedy plot then went under the fence on our south property line, across the grazed-down pasture, and into the pinyon-juniper forest that slopes into the head of the canyon.Â Or we might see her on the return trip.Â The catâ€™s small build suggested she wasnâ€™t full-grown, and while she appeared to be wild, we wondered if this might be our cat.Â You know—that catÂ that comesÂ when you need a cat. Continue reading Dazzle
Forgive, please, the late, overhasty and not especially informative nature of this post, but I wished to get something up for Earth Day before the opportunity passed.Â As usual, consider yourself invited toÂ report on your own Earth Day activitiesÂ in the comments section.
Here in SE Utah, Earth Day opened gorgeously.Â Warm and blue.Â To the south, only a few drawn clouds showing, thin as weeds that snow flattened.Â Around the Abajos to the northÂ rise those striking cloud formations that always provoke my wonder.Â Can’t remember what they’re called, but IÂ think ofÂ them as the “jellyfish formations,” because to my eye they resemble man-of-war jellyfish: small, top-heavyÂ clouds trailing long, wispy tentacles of vapor that appear to dangle into lower reaches of the atmosphere.Â As I’ve sought to understand those cloud structures, I’ve read what’s actually happening is that the tentacles areÂ water vapor rising out of unstable air, seeking a more settled region of the atmosphere.Â Once the vapor finds that more stable region it forms a cumulus cloud, which may in turn provide the seed of a cumulonimbus cloud, a thunderhead. Continue reading Earth Day 2009 (Field Notes #4)
April 21, 2009 (pre-Earth Day)
Today, as I head out for the trail into the canyon that will take me past the dead coyote, I decide toÂ call that trail Coyote Trail, or maybe Coyote Way, to remember that coyote mouldering at the trailhead.Â As I pass those remains, I try to satisfy my curiosity about the animal’s gender, but the back legs are frozen together in a rigor of modesty.Â A cloud of black flies on and around the carcass goes a-buzz at my intrusion into its communityÂ feast and fur-lined creche. Continue reading Field Notes #3
Parts of this entry rise a little above-average personal in nature.Â I don’t mean to make this an “alms before men” post.Â I wantÂ to try to show how easily — for me, anyway —Â thinking can slide between myÂ experiences withÂ animals and the ones I haveÂ with people.Â Â Also, I don’t remember ever having written down the “Hillbilly Dilly” episode noted below, and since the hummingbird called it to mind, after my notÂ thinking about it forÂ many years, IÂ imagined the moment right for the telling.
April 22, 2008
At the cliff this morning, I findÂ a colony ofÂ white-throated swifts fully active, hunting the wild blue, tangling into the wind gusts that streamÂ through the canyon’s channelÂ and splashÂ againstÂ its rocks.
A vulture passes by, very low, slightly out from the ledge where I sit.Â
A swift just cut inÂ quite close, the vrrrrr of its wingsÂ as they slicedÂ air sounding like a miniature jet.Â A pair of hawks circle high overhead.
Will eagles come?Â I barely finish writing the questionÂ when IÂ look up to see a golden eagle, juvenile or maybe second year, brown feathers flecked with white.Â Â As IÂ gaze upÂ at the eagle, a black-chinned hummingbird rises like a helicopterÂ into my line of sight, directly between the eagle and me, probably examining the burgundy tones in my shirt, faded overall but most vivid in the cuffs.
by theric jepson
Worm on the sidewalk
as the sun comes outâ€”
How did they miss him?
How’d he escape breakfast?
A gentle flick to the
dirt under a bush,
and walk on.
May he survive.
To find more theric, sift here.
First published at A Motley Vision,Â this essay explores theÂ nature ofÂ stewardship by wondering ifÂ we understand what stewardship is orÂ if we’veÂ merely assumed that we understand.Â Are we fully conscious of the needs of other creatures, as good stewards ought to be? Are we imaginative enough to visualize the possibilities of faithful stewardship, which may include providing other species with opportunities for â€¦ oh, I donâ€™t know â€¦ progression, maybe …Â orÂ perhaps gainingÂ from them insight thatÂ endows our own progression?
An abridged version of “Bird in the Hand”Â was published in 2007Â inÂ Glyphs III,Â a regionalÂ anthology containingÂ writings by local writers and visitors toÂ southeastern Utah’sÂ redrockÂ countryÂ that Moab Poets and Writers publishes every two years.Â Â I’ve written moreÂ about MP&WÂ here.Â Â
In July 2005 my brother Jim and I threw camping gear into his new Toyota 4Runner and headed for a canyon in the San Rafael Swell. The object of our trip: try out the 4Runner on real four-wheel-drive roads and see petroglylphs at the canyonâ€™s mouth. We arrived at the canyon at dusk and as evening fellÂ helped each other wrestle up tents in a whipping canyon wind. Continue reading Bird in the hand
PostsÂ in this series are semi-polished exerpts fromÂ the pocket-sized hiking journal I carry when I go out walking in local canyons, etc.Â Â If something interesting happens or aÂ bolt from theÂ blueÂ strikes, IÂ pull out the old journal andÂ get down the basics.Â I’ve left Field NotesÂ elsewhere around the bloggernacle,Â such asÂ here and here,Â but I thought that for Wilderness Interface Zone and simplicity’s sakeÂ we’d just start over again at #1.
As always, if you, dear reader,Â have field notes or vivid memoriesÂ of trips taken, you’re invited toÂ make entriesÂ you’dÂ like to share in the comments section.Â
February 18, 2009, a.m.Â Approaching the trailhead into Crossfire, I glance at the knoll northeast where reposes the horse skeleton.Â My eye catches a flash of movement.Â I stop.Â Small deer maybe?Â No. TheÂ tail endÂ ofÂ some other kind ofÂ animal slips into a juniperâ€™s scant cover.Â Will the animal reveal itself?Â
Wait for it. Continue reading Field notes #1