A peacock, startled from the back premises of the Hall, came flapping up the terraces to the churchyard. The peacock flapped beyond me, on to the neck of an old bowed angel, rough and dark, an angel which had long ceased sorrowing. The bird bent its voluptuous neck and peered about. Then it lifted up its head and yelled. The sound tore the dark sanctuary of twilight. The old grey grass seemed to stir, and I could fancy the smothered primroses and violets beneath it waking and gasping for fear.
Again the bird lifted its crested head and gave a cry, at the same time turning awkwardly on its ugly legs, so that it showed us the full wealth of its tail glimmering like a stream of coloured stars over the sunken face of the angel.
Photography by Wayne T. Allison
These paintings convince me of two things: that Peter Paul Rubens was a great artist, and that he'd never actually seen a hunt.
|Landscape with a Boar Hunt (Hint: The boar is just south of center)|
|Hippopotamus and Crocodile Hunt|
|Lion and Tiger Hunt|
|St. George Hunts the Dragon|
|Wolf and Fox Hunt|
A Wildlife Classic by Ivan Turgenev
Trans. Gordon Grice
Just the two of us in the room--my dog and me. Outside, the storm growls and bays.
The dog sits and looks me straight in the face. I return her gaze.
She wants, it seems, to tell me something. She’s speechless, knows no symbols nor hardly even herself -- but I understand her. I know that in this lightning-lit moment there lives in her and in me the same feeling, that there is no difference between us. We are the same; in each the same spark burns, trembles, glows.
In time Death will descend on winter wings broad enough to dominate the night—the end of her, of me. Who will be able to tell the cooling coal of her soul from the coal of mine?
It’s not a case of man or beast behind these eyes. We’re equals now, her gaze holding mine. In hers, in mine, the life huddles close. We’re unified in fear.
|Photos courtesy of Francesco L. P.|
These photos of biaccos come to me courtesy of Francesco L. P., who discovered the snakes near his house in Rome. The one in the lower photo is eating a lizard. My Italian correspondent Max tells me the biacco (Coluber viridiflavus; also known as the green and yellow coluber) is non-venomous, but bites readily. Francesco was surprised to see the snakes active in winter. Mild weather is surely the cause. My friends in Oklahoma and Texas, where the temperature can vary considerably even in the heart of winter, sometimes see rattlesnakes sunning themselves on rocks or sidewalks on warm days. When the temperature drops, the snakes return to their dens.