Pale Male & Lola both sat on various spots on The Beresford all afternoon without coming over to Turtle Pond. Even in the cover of The Ramble today’s noise especially from the air was unbearable, so I can understand why they'd want to stay away from it all.
Later in the afternoon a gang of crows teamed up against them. I saw a lot of activity across the trees over on the Westside but soon Pale Male resumed his perch and the only activity as the sun turned pink, was the leaves spiraling down every time the wind blew. There were times where I couldn’t tell leaves from birds.
It was hard to ignore the commotion on the East Drive but once in a while I could hear a little plop in the pond water and as I quickly turned in its direction I could just make out a bubble or ripple at the edge of the water as some unseen creature slipped away. I even saw a rat scurrying through the grass and under a rock. I wanted to tell him that all was clear and hope that he’d get a single moment in his life where he could relax and feel a gentle breeze through his whiskers by sitting up on one of those rocks. But I thought it was better that he concentrated on the business he appeared to be attending to, and not take any advice from me.
A small group of mallards came around a grassy bend behind the fallen fence and began to bathe. For whatever the reason that they don’t migrate any more I’m happy to have them through the winter. I met the eye on one female and she reoriented her head to look at me closer. Presently I heard some cheering on the East Drive and I imagined a duck just like her flying hundreds of miles without stopping for food or water and crossing over one far corner of Long Island as it flew peacefully with the wind—far enough that it could never hear the cheering of the crowd on the East Drive. Then out of the soothing sound of the wind against its ear a loud sound rips through the soft evening and at once its chest is on fire and instantly the air is unable to enter it’s lungs.
On the ground somewhere in Long Island a father embraces his twelve year old son whom he taught well and who has inherited a naturally accurate aim. Another burst of cheering from the other hunters in the group—this time the duck hears it, though not as clearly. Its life leaves the beautiful body as it comes spiraling down to the ground. The months of escaping the natural forces since its hatching have come to an end.
But even in the short time that it took for the bullet to shatter the splendor of creation that flew flawlessly across the sky, nature made an adjustment in the ones that escaped. Deep inside their bones a mechanism was triggered to make their offspring that much faster and that much smarter to escape the wicked hand of man. And likewise in that moment of needless destruction, deep inside the hunter’s bones another mechanism was triggered which made him weaker and more dependent on unnatural tools to survive.
The duck will become smarter and the hunter will become dumber until they start pointing their guns the wrong way.
Whatever the outcome, the ducks will never cheer and celebrate useless accomplishments. They’ll just keep their beautiful heads to the wind and fly smoothly, with the sun and the stars to guide them to safety and nourishment.
( Pale Male - Friday afternoon Nov 4, 2005)
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Pale Male was back on his favorite tree this afternoon admiring the colorful trees around The Great Lawn. It was a fine choice of a day-off for me. Dozens of young children passed by to admire him. They were the kind of kids that makes you feel there is some hope for the planet once we're out of here.
A little starling (not grackle) picks this perch instead of a tree at Delacorte Theater with is friends--this way he can keep an eye on them.
all photographs above taken on Friday afternoon - November 4, 2005.
Only one animal today and this is him on the flower.
Lola perched on top of a permanently installed temporary lighting grid at The Delacorte Theater. During the summer, loud music, dance and screaming voices can be heard from where she is perched. She seem to prefer the quiet of autumn from where she sits. Here she can see greater performances by the Sun and more tasteful dancing by the falling leaves. The music is much more soothing from the wind through the trees also.