Flying Kites

March 30, 2010

Kite flying at Gasworks Park in Seattle

Launching a kite at Gasworks Park

Launching a kite at Gasworks Park

Dragon kite

“Tomorrow when the wind is high,
I’ll build a kite to ride the sky!”
     — Rowena Bastin Bennett

Vagabond Swans

January 27, 2010

Trumpeter swan in flight

Pair of trumpeter swans

Trumpeter swans overhead

“The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense his life. . . . The beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes, and knowing no bounds—how many human aspirations are realised in their free, holiday-lives—and how many suggestions to the poet in their flight and song!”
     — John Burroughs, Birds and Poets

Several thousand trumpeter swans winter in the Skagit Valley.  While we were up north, my husband and I drove to the Johnson/Debay Swan Reserve in Mount Vernon to look for the swans.  They weren’t nearly as numerous as the snow geese, but they were still an amazing sight.

Two swans coming in for a landing




Trumpeter swans at their winter feeding grounds in Mount Vernon

Trio of trumpeter swans in Mount Vernon

Earthly Eternity

January 26, 2010

“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt march, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”
     — Rachel Carson

Standing in the presence of thousands of wintering snow geese, I certainly felt like I was witnessing part of a great, eternal cycle of life.  One’s spirit soars on the wings of these magnificent birds.

Snow geese in flight

Snow geese on the wing

Snow goose passes overhead

Snow geese uprising

Flock of snow geese

“. . . the wing bedlam of flocks rising from marshland roosts.”
     — William Fiennes, The Snow Geese

Here, woodcut artist Charles Beck captures the beauty of wintering snow geese.  You can see more of his woodcuts at

Charles Beck's woodcut print of Snow Geese