Swallows were one of John Muir’s favorite birds of the “sunny air.” In his chapter in The Yosemite on the birds of the wilderness area, he notes how flocks of beautiful green swallows skim over the streams. He recalls as a boy in Scotland: “In the spring when the swallows were coming back from their winter homes we sang — ‘Welcome, welcome, little stranger,/ Welcome from a foreign shore;/ Safe escaped from many a danger.’”… I watched closely yesterday as a group of swallows skimmed Red Bug Slough, low over the water where the insects were.
As I hiked back along the loop trail at Shark Valley, I put my hat low to keep the sun out of my eyes. Here the land is as it would have looked a century ago. But I began to think about how it might have been different. I think about the small changes in the stream that ebbs–moving slower than a quarter of a mile per hour south–through and under the tall grass and sapling cypress and the rocky soil.
An essay I wrote on the Everglades Snail Kite was published today on Sugar Mule Literary Magazine’s Web site. The essay is about this unusual Everglades hawk, but it is also about what happens when we let a species start to slip away. “In Peril: An Essay on the Everglades Hawk” began as a post on this blog, and morphed into a journalistic endeavor as I became more obsessed. Read more »