Take These Sunken Eyes

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free
—-The Beatles, Blackbird

Bird, Scavenging along an Interstate Highway in Texas

A lot of people wax enthusiastic about Buc-ee’s. These are giant, giant convenience stores, now mostly set along Interstate Highways in Texas as immense gas stations.

Most people rave about their clean bathrooms. In 2012 the New Braunfels Buc-ee’s won the Cintas Best Restroom Contest. When I was in college, a long, long, time ago, I ran a gas station in the middle of nowhere (sadly, it’s long closed now) during the summers and vacations. I would open up the small bathrooms ’round back at closing and hose them down good. That seems enough for me.

A typical Buc-ee’s has 60 gas pumps, 80 soda fountains, and 31 cash registers. You order your food from tablet-equipped kiosks and your selection is cooked (probably microwaved) to order. When I worked at that gas station in the 70’s I had two pop machines and a couple of shelving units full of candy, but … well, I mostly sold a lot (and I mean a lot) of cold beer.

There was one guy that would stop by every day, purchase a longneck bottle of Dr. Pepper out of the machine and a small bag of beer nuts. He would pour the sugar-coated nuts into the bottle of Dr. Pepper – some would always foam out. After selling him these for a few years I decided to try the concoction myself.

It wasn’t as good as I had hoped.

So, finally, after hearing so much about Buc-ee’s and seeing the beaver shirts – even eating a bag of beaver nuggets that someone gave me, I decided to stop at a Buc-ee’s and see what the hoopla was about. I don’t remember where I was coming from but I pulled off the interstate and parked along the grassy border (full of people letting their dogs shit) and walked in.

I was not impressed. It was huge… but simply more of the same. The restrooms were clean, I’ll give them that. I bought a fountain drink, and the ice was cold – so no complaints there. But it seemed to be so big and so tacky that it went beyond amusing to obnoxious. Actually, it was worse than that – it was boring.

When I walked out to my car the villainous bird in the photo was giving me the evil eye. He was hopping around looking for dropped Beaver Nuggets or any other misplaced sugary snack.

He gave me the creeps.

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Thought Is A Bird Of Space

“For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.”
― Kahlil Gibran

Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

Bird’s Building Its Own Nest

“There is some of the same fitness in a man’s building his own house that there is in a bird’s building its own nest. Who knows but if men constructed their dwellings with their own hands, and provided food for themselves and families simply and honestly enough, the poetic faculty would be universally developed, as birds universally sing when they are so engaged? But alas! we do like cowbirds and cuckoos, which lay their eggs in nests which other birds have built, and cheer no traveller with their chattering and unmusical notes. Shall we forever resign the pleasure of construction to the carpenter?”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Joan Miro Spanish, 1893-1983 Oiseau (Bird) 1968-81 Bronze Cullen Sculpture Garden, Houston, Texas

Joan Miro
Spanish, 1893-1983
Oiseau (Bird)
1968-81
Bronze
Cullen Sculpture Garden, Houston, Texas

One of the nice things about travelling to different places and looking at the art is finding the same sculpture in two settings.

What is even better is finding very similar sculptures by the same artist – compare and contrast. Two Miro birds, one in Houston, Oiseau, and one in Dallas, Moonbird.

(click to enlarge) Moonbird, Nasher Sculpture Center

(click to enlarge)
Moonbird, Nasher Sculpture Center

The Restless Urge Of Autumn

“…as the slow sea sucked at the shore and then withdrew, leaving the strip of seaweed bare and the shingle churned, the sea birds raced and ran upon the beaches. Then that same impulse to flight seized upon them too. Crying, whistling, calling, they skimmed the placid sea and left the shore. Make haste, make speed, hurry and begone; yet where, and to what purpose? The restless urge of autumn, unsatisfying, sad, had put a spell upon them and they must flock, and wheel, and cry; they must spill themselves of motion before winter came.”
― Daphne du Maurier, The Birds and Other Stories

Mural, Exposition Park, Dallas, Texas

Mural, Exposition Park, Dallas, Texas

Perched Upon A Bust Of Pallas

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door –
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door –
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
—-Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven

Arts District, Dallas, Texas

Arts District,
Dallas, Texas

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,’ I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore –
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’
—-Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven

Lonely Bird

Trinity River Audubon Center
Dallas, Texas

Trinity River Audubon Center, Dallas, Texas

Trinity River Audubon Center, Dallas, Texas

I’m not a nature photographer – I don’t have the knowledge, patience, or equipment to do well at that. Still, here’s a little bird in the middle of a drying wetland pond on a hot Texas day, looking for a bit of lunch. He looks a little lonely, don’t you think?