OK, let's start by throwin' our first blog on the fire. How about the outdoor enjoyment of bird watching also called "birding" and "twitching" in the southwest? Twitching is the old Englishman's term for bird watching. In this country the whole idea of bird watching began on the east coast. As the English inhabited the native land so did their passion for watching birds. In fact, the famous artwork of naturalist and twitcher, John Audubon, was mainly to record and identify the new found birds for the English royalty, on this new found continent, called America. There were no wildlife cameras and lenses back then, not even an instant Polaroid! So it is that, in the USA, everything about "birding" and "twitching" began on the east coast. In reality, not much has changed in the academia of birding.
On the Trail & ‘Round the Campfire
Welcome to my little diversion from the daily grind. Pull up a log or, just sit on yer’ fist and lean back on yer’ thumb (put a smiley face here) and let’s share a moment. I’ll throw another blog in the fire every now and then and, we’ll chew the fat about such mundane things as birds, nature, cowboys and the southwest, USA. I may even wax poetic or philosophical occasionally, but always honoring our creator. If you like something you read, please leave yer’ tracks.
Funny how the colorful past has a way of coloring our present with its own color. I have walked and hiked and driven the steep dirt road going up the southwest side of Palomar Mountain for years, Nate Harrison Grade. The road is very rough and gets worse with washouts and boulders in the road after the winter rains. I love old dirt roads no matter where they lead. Each one extends it's own invitation and sometimes interesting curiosities.
Cowboy and The Constable
The cowboy was fishin' where it was posted
The sign plainly said, "No fishin",
When a Ranger rides up with book in hand
For lack of better things to do after a hard days work on the range, cowboys of the old west would sit around the campfire in the evenin' and entertain one another with poems and tall tales, known as "windies". Many of their tales and poems are derived from real life experiences.
Now in my book, "Cow Chip Poetry—Lies, Lingo 'an Lore," you've been readin' about 'ol Gabby fixin 'Possum Roast' and Rattlesnake Soup'. Well, here's some of his recipes I stole from his "receipt book." Like every chuck wagon "cookie," he could only carry the simplest of ingredients to fix his vittles. Stuff like corn meal, flour and dry beans were staples. Line shack cooks varied from outfit to outfit dependin' on their stored supplies. On the ranch, bunkhouse cooks had the luxury of more shelves and greater availability of foodstuffs. So, dependin' on the outfit, bunkhouse cowhands could be "eatin' high on the hog."
I came to seek the beauty of the undefiled
The serenity of panorama and seclusion of woods
The quiet presence of the pristine
And magnificence of the unexplored wilds
And never-ending expanses
The awesome feeling of discovery
To sense the timelessness of distant views
—Some esoteric thoughts and intro to a nature poem
What is there about a certain place that we feel its influence pressing on our spirit? What are the elusive influences that make themselves felt along a faded trail rising from the desert floor to the piney woods? What particular spirit seems to color our mood or quicken our feeling of existence? Are they not the guardians of our very being, the sentinels of our longing?
Besides tracking the seasons, birding is a migratory addiction, whether afoot or horseback.