Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mississippi Kite

(Photo courtesy Rescuechick, via Wikimedia Commons)

Wednesday I saw the first Mississippi Kite in our neighborhood!  I should have been looking for it -- I had seen the first dragonflies only a few days before. But it caught me by surprise, flying low over a neighbor's house at about 4:30 in the afternoon.  For the past few years, we've been able to spot nesting pairs in the summer, swooping low to scoop up dragonflies.  Or soaring way up high.  I'm never really sure what they're eating, so high up there.

Mississippi Kites have rather long wings, in comparison to their body size.  They are shades of gray all over, ranging from a pearly gray on the head, to a darker charcoal on the body and almost black on the tail.  I hardly ever see them "in color," though.  Usually I see them silhouetted against the summer sky.  More than any weather forecast, the return of the Mississippi Kites really means summer is here!

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