We saw some rare birds today during our annual Christmas Bird Count in the Rockland (ME) area (errant Yellow-throated Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, possible Pacific Loon--check the range maps to understand our excitement), but to me the coolest spectacle of the day was coming upon a crow roost just before sunset.
Swirling masses of crows
gather at their evening roost--
thus darkness falls.
This morning I birded with my friend Derek at Reid State Park, which features two lovely, long, sandy beaches washed by sparkling surf. At one point in our ramble up the strand, a very loud ship's horn sounded. We later learned that this noise came from a new stealth destroyer that had just launched and was headed out to open ocean from the Kennebec River. Earlier, we had seen people standing on the Bath bridge looking down on Bath Ironworks, where the ship had been built, obviously waiting for the launch. Derek had commented then that it cost over $1 billion to build; hard to reconcile a toy of war with such a bright and peaceful winter's day.
I've been reading the catalog for the current show at the MFA Boston, "Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer," which we hope to see in person in the next few weeks. I've also been engaging closely with several specific paintings from the Dutch Golden Age for a poetry project, soaking up the luminous light and rich colors, flirting with the complex symbolism of a past time and place, and becoming familiar with ordinary humans painted extraordinarily well.
Hours with Dutch paintings
transform the bleak afternoon--