Sunday, March 4, 2007

Sun, twigs, and celebrity dead finches

A glorious day in the heart of the Rockies... clear blue skies, NO WIND, and according to the local weather bug it's close enough to 50 degrees to round up and call it good.

The house finches seem most enthusiastic about this turn of environmental events-- when I walked downtown this morning they were raucous in their vocalizations. Flickers are calling, too, which will make neighbors with metal chimney flashing unhappy in a few more weeks. Territorial and flirtatious drumming sounds SO much better when one can crank up the volume on tin.

En route to a pot of tea and a gratefu
l stopover at the home of friends who will deliver the now-completed tax documents to my accountant for me tomorrow, I found this interesting little gem. It comes from a tallish shrub at the corner of the courthouse lawn... nothing I ever noticed in its green stage, but today in its lovely mahogany spikiness it was a show-stopper. Or at least a walk-pauser.

I carted this pilfered twig off to Susan's for her expert opinion, and she immediately identified it as Shrubbus courthouseus. It's good to be able to rely on one's friends at times like this.

Later this afternoon I'm off on that promised trip east, to meet with colleagues at
Audubon and the Academy of Natural Sciences (with its current scintillating exhibition "The Scoop on Poop") and generally muck around with an artist chum from France. There's always some sort of silly adventure to be had when the two of us get together. Hopefully I'll be able to check in from the road, but it's possible the stories will have to wait. The thing I am MOST excited about? The Academy has in its collections some of the very finches collected by Our Boy Chuck Darwin, and I am twitchy to draw them. How cool is THAT?

When "normal" people travel they pack clothes and a toothbrush. Me? Clothes, toothbrush, paintbox, portfolio crammed with paper, sketchbook, pencil box, brushes, journal, binoculars, camera.... but you'd better be impressed to note that I've got it all squeezed into one carry-on suitcase and a daypack. It's now T-minus 90 minutes to departure, so I'm going to make one last run around the house, drop off a few more flyers for the upcoming Breeding Bird Atlas meeting, and spend a few lovely minutes soaking up some vitamin D on the porch.

And, oh. I finished those linocuts from last week. You'll have to settle f
or the not-very-revealing prints-on-rack shot again. Not quite ready to reveal the full effect yet. But at least now I can leave town without print guilt, tax guilt, illustration guilt OR blog guilt. Phew.

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