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Sculpting in Grass and Sand

I have been thinking about doing more videos for this blog.  There are only so many things that are actually fun to watch: a raptor dive-bombing a prairie dog, a herd of horses blasting across a grassy field, a dog running in slow-motion as in a dog food commercial, or a sexy lady walking down a sidewalk in high heels. 

And yet there are certainly a lot of videos out there.  Many of them use a standard trick of the movie industry: they make the camera move to hide the fact that nothing interesting is actually happening.  Or they just give up and stick a talking head in front of the camera.

That is why I appreciated a windy day recently near the Oregon Trail: the grass was only a foot or so high, but it was fine in texture, so the wave motion was lovely.  My little dog and I were revisiting her favorite sand dune.  When I saw this I had to smile:

I smiled because of something Thoreau had once written, in "Walden."  Normally his mind worked like a still-photographer instead of a cinematographer.  But he made an exception here:

"Frequently, in the morning or evening, a long ripple is seen in the still waters, where a muskrat is crossing the stream, with only its nose above the surface.

[On a running fox:] Notwithstanding his fright, he will take no step which is not beautiful. His pace is a sort of leopard canter. When the ground is uneven, the course is a series of graceful curves, conforming to the shape of the surface. He runs as though there were not a bone in his back.

In some places the ice crystals were lying upon granite rocks, directly over crystals of quartz, the frost work of a longer night, crystals of a longer period, but to some eye unprejudiced by the short term of human life, melting as fast as the former."

That last sentence has always made my eyelashes flutter.  And indeed, a canoeist or kayaker, paddling through a marsh, will be quite amazed at how graceful a muskrat can seem in the water.  What Thoreau said of a fox could also be applied to any pet cat.

And the waves of sand on that dune, where my little darlin' disported so merrily, made much the same point with the waves in the spindly grass as Thoreau's "frost work of a longer night."


Barb said…
The beautiful art of nature.

When the black-bellied whistling ducks fly away, the patterns their feet leave behind in the sand is almost like art. They're out there fighting over the food, sometimes rising to face off 3 feet in the air. Charging at each other to get the best dish of seed. Nipping each other in the tail to make them run away. The foot prints left behind don't seem that aggresive, just a reminder that they came to visit me for some daily entertainment.
Barb, that is an interesting observation about the ducks. Thank you. (I am not even familiar with that kind of duck.)
Barb said…
Here's a ducks unlimited YT video, less than 4 minutes, I found recently. We started with one pair about 3 seasons ago. The most I've fed (this year) in one session was 30! They come early in the morning and at the end of the day. There is a lake in the next subdivision over am pretty sure where they have their nests. I've seen the young ones, but the babies only once when we shooed them out of the yard, across the street and down the road to the lake.
Barb, I watched the video, but I still don't understand those duck egg boxes.
Barb said…
They are just like putting up a box for any other bird, but they are using this type so they can have access to the eggs, babies & even the adults to count, tag, take blood samples & collect data on them. They are moving up into the US where they haven't lived before so they don't know much about them. Hence, the research. I watched another video, but it's longer. Don't know if you got your laptop fixed/replaced. This one is 30+ minutes. The first 12 minutes is the first box and what they do when checking the boxes. They're considered a tree duck as opposed to making nests on the ground like other ducks. They're from the caribbean, so. america, mexico, etc. Also called a Mexican squeeler.