Sunday, May 15, 2011
From Rose-breasted Grosbeaks to the Creole Farmers Stomp
For the past couple of weeks or so, the bird feeder outside my kitchen window has been a very busy place. At least a dozen Red-winged Blackbirds have become regular visitors. In addition, there are several pairs of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks (taken from my kitchen window), Brown-headed Cowbirds and the Common Grackle, which have not taken over the feeder, for which I'm very grateful, but have been forced to behave themselves and share. A week or so ago, I put it out there on the wind that I'd like to see a Cardinal and, lo and behold, one went through my yard a few days ago. Ditto for a Baltimore Oriole. I had not yet seen either at my place. I wasn't able to get a photo of them worth sharing, but I'm glad for the sightings.
There have also been purple finches, various swallows and warblers, and a Red-breasted Woodpecker or two. The thing I'm most excited about, though, is what I saw a few minutes ago sitting in my rock garden and what I believe was his mate. Are you ready? Drumroll, please. An Indigo Bunting. I've heard they are very scarce, but there they were, no doubt about it. Now, here's the interesting part: I read in my bird book that they are actually black, like the Blue Jay, but their color is refracted sunlight that makes them appear blue. In the case of the Indigo Bunting, almost an iridescent blue. What a little beauty. Isn't it funny, how happy a little bird can make you? Well, me, anyway. The really big question is: when did I become my grandmother?
The other thing on my mind this morning is how the farmers of Louisiana are doing. I know that river is just doing what rivers do, and the engineers that made the decision to open the spillways are doing what they do. A tough decision had to be made. Unfortunately, it always seems that those who can least afford it are left with the destruction these decisions bring with them. I hope they are on their way to higher ground, if not there already. And I do mean that both literally and figuratively. I'm sure they are tough and resilient folks, but it can't be easy to watch all your hard work go underwater. The problem with flooding is not just the loss of crops, but what it does to the land, leaving behind muck and sand and debris. It will require a real massive effort to get it back to workable land again. I would hope some compensation will be made, but there is no compensation for what it does to the hearts and minds of people who have worked and loved their land, often for many generations. I hope they find courage in their communities and the good folks who share their lives.
A couple of years ago, I spent some time down in southern Texas and picked up a great compilation of Zydeco that I couldn't stop playing. It was infectious music that made me happy and even got me dancing in the kitchen a time or two. Whether Cajun or Creole, and yes, there is a difference, in honor of those farmers, I bring you the opening cut from that group of great tunes, The Creole Zydeco Farmers and the "Creole Farmers Stomp." It's not meant to be watched, it's meant to be danced to, so let's dance, sort of like a prayer, for all those Louisiana farmers. And for those who'd like to read about the heritage of both I found this to be a fairly concise description: http://www.landrystuff.com/creole.htm