Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ringnecked Pheasant

All photos copyright by Paul K Anderson 2011

The sun and moon were aligning and we were having a "King Tide" here in the 4th Corner.  Tides up to three feet higher than the traditional high tides were arriving and possibly causing damage that we might find in the future as the climate warms.  This morning fortunately was calm and beaches remained intact, dikes weren't scoured away by the tides.  I didn't photograph any damage thankfully but I did find and follow 15 or so Ringneck Pheasants as they fed in early morning light along the banks of the Samish River.

Ringnecked Pheasants are iconic birds for me. Growing up in the mid-west these were the birds of choice for "sportsmen" and I remember how proud I was when my Mom and Grandmother served the family roast pheasant that Sunday evening after I had brought home my first trophy.

Mom had a hat made from the feathers - as it was very stylish for women to wear their best pheasant feather hat at church.  I could tell which of my 10 year old buddies had had a good hunt the previous year when their Mom showed up with a new pheasant hat.

Those hats were a distraction for all the young hunters sitting in church.  I would gaze at those hats and daydream away whole sermons thinking about the next time Dad was going to take my brother and I and a couple of friends out into the cornfields of eastern Iowa. The preacher may have been talking about loaves and fishes but I was sitting there salivating over the potential for roasted pheasant thigh and mashed potatoes smothered with rich brown country gravy.

Those were happy times and that led me to thinking about the role nature plays in our own happiness. I don't know how to describe that in such a short missive but I know we are fortunate to have places like the Chuckanut Range and the surrounding valleys, farmland, deltas, and waters so close to all of us.

I leave you with this short paragraph from Kathleen Dean Moore's latest book of essays titled:

Wild Comfort - The Solace of Nature.

"The earth offers gift after gift - life and the living of it, light and the return of it, the growing things, the roaring things, fire and nightmares, falling water and the wisdom of friends, forgiveness. My god, the gift of forgiveness, time and the scouring tides. How does one accept gifts as great as these and hold them in the mind?"

No comments:

Post a Comment