Monday, January 26, 2009

Bluebirds of Happiness

Wind Farm, Woodward County, Oklahoma

After yesterday's gruesome post about the dark side of western Oklahoma, I thought I would counter today with the proverbial bluebird of happiness and celebrate the beauty of that same part of Oklahoma with its big skies, rolling prairies, formidable sunsets and...bluebirds!

Mountain Bluebird, Freedom, Oklahoma

Let's not think of relentlessly slaughtered coyotes for a moment, let's think only of mountain bluebirds flocking and foraging -- reaping the bounty of nature in arboreal splendor on a crisp January day in western Oklahoma.

An overcast, hazy, windy, dusty day that makes a perfect sepia-toned backdrop for birding in the wild west. Ok, it wasn't that perfect - there was a 30 mph ice cold wind coming right out of the north and my hands ached trying to hold the camera; but it looks good on film.

American Goldfinch, Motmot Manor, Little Axe, Oklahoma

However, the weather the day before was a perfect 75 degrees at Motmot Manor in Little Axe. That's what we are famous for here in Oklahoma - both the changing weather and the weathermen famous for preempting your favorite TV show with the first sign of a snowflake. You can expect an ice storm to descend at the exact moment American Idol starts. Zip it Gary England - and keep your doppler-loving, net-rad trapped closed until the Idol finals are over or until the first tornado is spotted - in Oklahoma!

Bewick's Wren, Motmot Manner, Little Axe, Oklahoma

It was, as always, a delight to visit Motmot Manor and watch the flock of regulars that feast on the Zick dough. If you are an Oklahoma Blogger passing through today - please stop over and visit "Drawing the Motmot". And then go here and vote for Motmot in the 2008 Okie Blog Awards for Best Unusual Blog.

OK, if you insist, while you're at it - you can also vote for Jean Warner or for little ole M.E. for Best Cultural Blog - Jean has done an enormous amount of good for women in this state and deserves to win -- but I am a Leo and am astrologically predispositioned to wanting to win - so it's up to you - vote for Oklahoma women or coddle my starbound little leonine ego. If I win, I promise to do my best Norma Rae and I am also paying out $25 per vote, just so you know. I mean honestly, what's the big deal about women's mental health and equality and self empowerment? Geez. Who else brings you fried sheep's private parts and the Closing Ceremony from China; make-up wearing shamans from Siberia, first hand accounts of Amazon adventures and snorkeling with endangered monk seals in Hawaii all while waxing poetic about the beauty of dragon fruit and running with kites? Vote for me dammit!!!

Regardless, I am glad that people are finally discovering the abundant and emergent culture we have here in Oklahoma (just don't read yesterday's post).

Ok, back to bluebirds. Should we think it odd that the flat plains of western Oklahoma which stretch on and on and on in prairie glory have an abundance of "mountain" bluebirds. And yet a "western" bluebird is a much sought-after rarity? Who gets to name these things, I wonder. I vote for a re-do and mandatory geography lessons for all future taxonomists.

Ok, I'm done now talking about bluebirds and prairie sunsets and the happiness they invoke. It's time to get back to things that really matter:

Sacrificial Coyote, one of five hanging on Highway 34 toward Boiling Springs, Woodward, Oklahoma

The plains of western Oklahoma "are giving birth to a Coyote Clan - hundreds, maybe thousands of individuals who are quietly subversive on behalf of the land. And they are infiltrating our neighborhood in the most respectable ways, with their long, busy tails tucked discreetly inside their pants or beneath their skirts."*

Oklahoma is my heritage and my birthright. The geography of this land is the language I first learned to speak and I intend to serve and protect it. I did not move back with the intention of putting my head back in the sand or keeping my mouth shut -- but I do promise to tuck in my tail. This is My World - the good, the bad and the sometimes very, very ugly.

*Terry Tempest Williams - from "Red - Passion and Patience in the Desert"
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