Third grade teacher Cindy Cobb is famous for her field trips. The most famous field trip is to see the mating dance of the Greater Sage Grouse, which is amazing. The kids have to show up to the school at 5 a.m. or so to board the bus for the dancing grounds on our lambing grounds. Last year when my grandsons McCoy and Tiarnan were in third grade, they missed the cool field trips because the coronavirus had closed the school, This year, the fourth graders joined the third graders on the trek to see the lek where the male grouse dance and hoot in their attempt to attract the hens. Wyoming Game and Fish Department Biologist Phil Damm accompanied the students on the bus and explained what they were seeing. These kids know the ways of the birds and the bees!
Category Archives: Nature and Wildlife
The New Year comes through fortune’s gate.
It gives us hope, and prayers of grace,
with power of time, we await
the future, blank–this unknown fate,
unknown journey to unknown place—
the New Year comes, through one-way gate.
Our dreads, our sins, night fears abate—
the past, the future, run apace
with power of time, next year awaits.
We cast our lot, the dice gyrate,
spin and clatter, hit chance’s space—
write next year’s tome on fortune’s slate.
Earth’s axis tips, while stars rotate.
The waxing moon unveils her face,
marks pass of time, while we await
Through time, through space, sped arrow-straight,
light races on its ceaseless chase.
Now New Year comes, through future’s gate—
through power of time, we await.
Season’s end draws, dims, slides down to the rest
of the year, where we await winter sleep,
Day’s end presents sundown, darkened nest
where quiet lures, lulls, to somnolent deep
and tempting dreams, where twilight dusk holds sway.
Dawn comes late, with sparking, shimmering freeze.
Solstice rays shoot beams, arrows into day–
Ancients rose, chanted, begged gods to be pleased
and halt sun’s chariot southering drift,
to change its course, to close its dogged lap.
Prayers intoned, begged for light’s return—strong, swift,
No more creeping darkness, to suck and sap
its sunlit balm. Now incline to summer–
swing past the solstice, past darkness’ slumber.
Sangre de Cristo,
blood red against the sky,
smoky crimson sunrise
illuminates the dry
and murky landscape,
grey haze that turns to pink,
and throws a rosy glow
to make night’s shadows sink.
Mountains rise ephemeral,
magic light against their rock,
a brief illumination
shows their beauty with a shock.
of this pink and hazy glow
wrought by fires in the south,
fire in the sky,
and fires bred by drought.
Flames that rise and roar
and eat all before their path,
nature and man’s doings
give way before their wrath.
We watch from distant fastness
as smoky fingers curl,
long tendrils reach with greed
to menace with their swirl,
and spread a grim grey threat
to make us tear and choke.
We wear a gauzy veil
of ash and haze and smoke.
It filters through our valleys
where grass stands stiff and dry,
where leaves hang low and thirsty
beneath this pall of sky.
Tales now come to haunt us
of flames that leave a stark
and ancient calling card,
borne aloft by wind and spark.
We watch and wait and fret
that such could be our fate,
while distant matches flare,
in a tinderbox, we wait.
Such thoughts all disappear
with wonder and with awe,
as sunrise works its alchemy,
paints the country with a raw
and glowing pinkwash,
with a brief and fleeting dye.
Sangre de Cristo,
blood red against the sky.