Thursday, July 12, 2007


This looks nothing like the vegetation around my house, but it's the closest I could come to finding a picture of the family of quail that "lives" with me. After 3 cups of coffee and 21 pages of Google Images rejected, this will have to do. Patience is not a virtue to which I've ever been attributed. Never. I am many wonderful things, true, but patient? Not even close. This family of quail, however? Amazingly patient. I've been watching them daily for a month now. They have distinct patterns, coming each day at 6:30 AM to eat whatever falls from the blue jay's sloppy attack of the "good stuff" in the feeder. The adult quail huddle around the ground with all the various babies, eating to the point of fullness, then moving on. They will be back. Their dust bath in my dirt pile (got me some fancy landscaping) will be this afternoon. They'll be back for an evening feeding around 6:30 PM. By then the piggy blue jay will have left an entirely new scattering of rejected food on the ground for them. He's great that way, always thinking of others!

I am so impressed with what I've seen of the nature of quail! They seem to have the whole marriage/parenthood thing really dialed in. You either see both Mom and Dad with all the babies, or one or the other with 1/2 the covey, the other, presumable, elsewhere with the other 1/2. Mom and Dad take couple time each evening. They must leave the babies with Grandma and Grandpa, because each night they take a stroll, just the two of them, catching up on the news of the day.

I'm pretty sure Mama Quail never left all the babies with Dad and took a month-long retreat to "find her voice." I'm pretty sure she was either born with her voice firmly planted in her heart, or was happy with less than I seem to require to find happiness. By the same token, quail are given wings but they seldom fly. They CAN fly, but they don't unless they are in danger. They are ground birds.

Am I a ground bird? Do I have wings to fly, but I prefer not to use them for such? It doesn't feel that way. It feels like I have been walking around with a powerful set of wings all along, oblvious to their presence, and am now taking a hard look and asking myself, "What good are these damn wings if all they do is add weight to my already heavy shoulders? Let's get this show off the ground!"

And so I preen and admire my wings until such I time I am ready to fully take flight. I'm not just sure where my flights will take me. I have some ideas, but they are still in formation. Formation, interesting word, one that is not just reserved for birds.


grammer said...

carrie, i love this post. it seems centered, calm, observant -- just like you, probably, when you've got your eye on the birds. i feel a change in your writing, one i can't quite name -- do you feel it, too?

ground birds, formation, yes! i used to love watching quail, the way they travel as a couple; when one runs a bit too far off, the other scoots and hurries to catch up, little top-feathers bobbing. lovely birds, the quail. big fans of cracked corn, too :) xo t

Anonymous said...

Here's one for the birds!

Jerri said...

Flap them wings, girl. Never mind where you're going, just flap 'em and see where they can take you.

I'm betting high, wide places you haven't imagined yet.

Anonymous said...

Formation is an interesting word Carrie. However you decide to use your wings, I hope you will find true happiness and your authentic self. If its time for you to fly, you will know. Change can be scarey but also so wonderful. Whatever you decide to do (although I suspect you already know) with your wings, know you will not be alone. XOXO

Michelle O'Neil said...

Gorgeous writing Carrie.

So beautiful.

Loving you at 7:38 AM EDST

Nancy said...

I don't think you are a ground bird, but rather looking to feel grounded before you fly.

Beautiful post! There is much to be learned from the birds.

Bossy Boots said...

Hey, great writing, great insights and great honesty!

coming each day at 6:30 AM to eat whatever falls from the blue jay's sloppy attack of the "good stuff" in the feeder. Here you could give one more line about the good stuff, detail what is the goodstuff and what is the chaff on the ground that is acceptable to the quail.

you could also include the symbolic meaning of quail, group harmony, in this story...and look up the meaning of the Blue Jay...what's his message other than greed and sloppy housekeeping and how does this character fit into your life schemata...I think I know a few other greedy jays...

Am I a ground bird?

Love the use of questions and the attempt to answer them! Nice work, Link!