Full and happy

Los Angeleno by birth, Northwesterner by choice, Second-hander by nature. Librarian, housebound chef, father, and lowly subject ruled over by the needs and whims of a very old house.
Partial to Mexican, Italian and Vietnamese cookery but will eat damn near anything. Collector of many strange things..the result is chaos and anarchy and a very pleasant place to live.
There is pleasure in accumulation, not just "collecting": music, books and film, in all their multi-formated glory. Outsider artists and those kinds of prints you would recognize if you took liberal studies classes in college. Cooking implements and gadgets for recipes still untried or those ventured. Glasses for most types of libations. Flowers in the garden, herbs in the pot.
It's a life of the senses and a good home life reflects that. Walking helps take in all the rest. Requires no special equipment, opens up the pores, brightens the taste buds, clears the decks for further adventures, puts on the miles, widens the eyes and helps fuel the imagination.

Live boldly, play graciously and love with all your heart knowing that true love comes only once or twice in this lifetime. Speaking of which..donde estas, Empress of my Heart?


"Lack imagination and miss the better story" Yann Martel

"Life is a great adventure and I want to say to you, accept it in such spirit. I want to see you face it ready to do the best that lies in you to win out. To go down without complaining and abiding by the result....the worst of all fears is the fear of living." Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

"Not I - not anyone else, can travel that road for you
You must travel it for yourself" Walt Whitman

And above all, friends should possess the rare gift of sitting. They should be able, no, eager, to sit for hours-three, four, six-over a meal of soup and wine and cheese, as well as one of twenty fabulous courses.

Then, with good friends of such attributes, and good food on the board, and good wine in the pitcher, we may well ask,

When shall we live if not now?

-From Serve it Forth,
M.F.K. Fisher

Saturday, August 3, 2013

"Bird Show"

Two years ago Punkin and I ran down to Portland to catch the Saturday Evening Bird Show. "Bird show". That was her term, but funny how apt it was, and what an event it turned out to be.

I had only heard about it only a few days earlier at the Kitsap Audubon monthly meeting. It was at the beginning of the meeting, that part where folks could share their latest birding events or sightings. One of the officers had just come back from a weekend in Portland with his wife. His wife handled the shopping part, he handled all the birding events. But that whole vortex thing the Vaux Swifts went through really spurred on my interest. I had to see this flock going down the chimney drain thing for myself.

Well, not by myself. I had to take Punkin. She was, at that time, all in love with her Papa and anything, as far as outings were concerned, was good with her. We fit in a stop at Goodwill for a bag full of books, a quick stop at Krispy Kreme for a bag full of fresh glazed donuts and then played innumerable games of sugar induced I-Spy as we sped down the road towards Portland.

We got there with plenty of time to spare. The Chapman elementary school site is right up against a city park, so playground time was in order. The school is set the middle of a somewhat toney neighborhood, nicely nestled up against a hillside, providing a somewhat expansive theater type viewing arrangement, so all city view seats in the field were good ones. What struck me most was the grand cross section of Portland's citizenry that turned out for the gig. Sure, for them it's an every night extravanza in September, but for those of us new to the deal it was a pretty far out way to blow a Saturday night.
The hillside was covered with picnic blankets, families out with friends, wild packs of punks with their hair all spiked up, hillside sliders with cardboard sheets, wagons and snow sleds. It was full carnival effect, a wild city fair with Mother Nature the star of the show. Meanwhile, the sun headed towards the west and I had to wonder what the hubbub was all about. The occasion siting of a Vaux Swift would send the crowd into rapturous applause, but as we got closer to that down-the=drain moment the birds began to gather in mass. First close in to the school, then winging their way out over the river, to return and depart over and over again, gaining in numbers, bringing in hawks, upping the cheers and commotion in the crowd to near pandemonium.

But it was that moment when the swifts started to go down the chimney where the crowd went completely and totally wild. You would think that those bird were practiced performers out to please a crowd the way they gathered and joined together in sky, Busby Berkley style, for their final dance of the evening. They gathered together and swirled and within moments nearly all had disappeared down the old brick chimney, a genie bottle in reverse. A few hawks darted about trying for snacks, and more than a handful of swifts had to flit off and find lodging elsewhere, but it was a performance and a half and the crowd roared as the swifts finished up and retired for the night.

Punkin still refers to that night as one of her "most special" moments and asks fairly regularly to go back to watch it all over again. I recently read about a couple of sites here in Washington that favor largely in the Swift's annual migration story, but what was even more exciting was to read about a school in Monroe that has a big "bird show" happening, only because Monroe is much closer to me than Portland. I don't mind the two and a half hour run to Portland only because I like to drop into Powell's Books to pick up some some quality used titles and I like to grab some pizza at Rocco's for that long drive home. But when time and money and gas prices are working in the favor of a shorter trip, who am I to argue?

This go 'round I will be taking The Boy, who I think, after hearing about his sister's adventures forever now, is game to go along and experience the event for himself. It's a happening that everyone, not just birders, should witness at least once in their lives. So, see you in Monroe. Maybe we can even do a stop at Krispy Kreme, too, just for old time's sake.

Chapman School, Portland: Home of the real deal "bird show":
Washington Vaux Swift page:
The Seattle Times article that rekindled my interest:


David Carmack Lewis' page: What incredible paintings, including the one posted above:

1 comment:

carmackart said...

What a great story. I look forward to taking my own daughter to watch them when she's older. Just 3 months right now. And thanks for the compliment and link
David Carmack Lewis