A Wish Granted


“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty.  It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.  The quality of cranes lies, I think, in this higher gamut, as yet beyond the reach of words.”
 from the chapter “Marshland Elegy” in A Sand County Almanac ~ Aldo Leopold


For several years, I’ve experienced sandhill cranes (Antigone canadensis) only at a distance: as shadowy forms feeding in far fields or as harsh, mysterious calls echoing across the landscape. At each encounter, I’d say — to myself, if to no one else — “I wish I could get a good look at some.”

When I sighted a small group of cranes on the west end of Galveston Island last Sunday, they weren’t precisely close, but they were close enough for a few photographs. I was surprised by the brightness of their red crown and the varied colors in their feathers; their willingness to parade back and forth across the prairie while I admired them was both unexpected and delightful.


Comments always are welcome.
Photos can be enlarged by clicking on the image.

Plant Birthdays: Baby Blue Eyes

Texas Baby Blue Eyes Bud

In A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold writes:

During every week from April to September there are, on the average, ten wild plants coming into first bloom. In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them… 
Tell me of what plant-birthday a man takes notice, and I shall tell you a good deal about his vocation, his hobbies, his hay fever, and the general level of his ecological education.

The buds are bursting in Texas, and I’m doing my best to heed their arrival. To share my enjoyment of the season, I’ve decided to offer a short series of daily posts highlighting some of our local plant-birthdays. I hope you enjoy them, too.

Previously  a member of the waterleaf family (the Hydrophyllaceae), the plant known as Texas baby blue eyes (Nemophila phacelioides) has been moved by the taxonomists into the Boraginaceae. N
ative to Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, as well as to Texas, the flowers often are found along woodland edges or stream banks; both characterize Piano Bridge Road outside Schulenburg, Texas, where I found a large, spreading colony of the flowers on March 21.

Their three-month season ends in May, when temperatures begin to rise. Until then, their just slightly frosted petals make a lovely and colorful addition to the countryside.


Comments always are welcome.