A supplicant of a good heart may be blessed. Others may be frightened by demons
I wanted to rain for forty days
This is the post I try, or start to try, to tell you why I’m headed down to Mexico. Why I’m going back down, again.
a sanctum of all
I suspect you may have already happened upon the primary, stated reason: To gather needed natural history information about the Elegant quail.
It is the summer and I want to collect data during the breeding season.
nature loves to hide
But also, of course, I just want to be back down there. It is an environmental crossroads that echoes the places I love: the desert of California, the tropical deciduous forest of Costa Rica, even the chaparral of California’s coast. It isn’t exactly any of these places and, really, the comparison doesn’t quite hold.
Necessito descansar pero no puedo
But there are phantoms in our heads—memories and even the study of biology involves these phantoms and a sort of subconscious piecing together of patterns. Mexico is North America, North America is a dream
It was no dream/ a strange fashion of forsaking
The summer in Alamos is the rainy season. I’ve been told that it is when green comes into its own.
During the rainy season….it is nigh unto impossible to venture into the monte anywhere in Mayo lands without the aid of a machete…
These are las aguas. It is when the dry land is bathed with monsoon rains. These monsoons come all through Sonora and the Sonoran desert in summer—your friends who live in Tucson know about June’s transition to July.
it is foolhardy to proceed without a guide
In the region around Alamos the rains turn desert into rainforest or so it might seem (so I have heard). The deciduous forest drops leaves so that the tallest green plants during the dry season are the columnar cacti—the etcho (Pachycereus pecten-aboriginum). All around are the thorns of acacias (Acacia coulteri) and one might be forgiven for noting that it seems a particularly arid place.
Essence of dream. Apothecary
In March, during my first trip to Alamos, I could see the shape of the desert in the plants.
Indeed, ancestral forms of Sonoran desert plants are traced to the thorn scrub and the Sinaloan tropical deciduous forest. I could see the tropics less easily in the plants; rather, it was in the animals, in particular the birds, that I sensed the equator
whittling/thorns, loved you not
In March, water was limiting as was food—there were seeds but none so plenty as there were on my second trip down in November, after the monsoon rains of the summer had passed but while there still were the gentler equipatas or winter rains. The plants held their verde and water seemed plenty. These rains came periodically and many plants were in seed. The temperature was cool but not cold.
of living on the edge of the senses
I could feel the tropics in the air—it smelled that way and the trees were leafed. The cacti no longer stood out fat and green amidst skeletons of arboles.
Species from the Sonoran Desert to the north and the tropical deciduous forests to the south, from the oak woodlands and pine-oak forests to the east, and from the shore/dune environments and mangrove estuaries on the west, converge on the region
On this trip I’ll be there during the monsoons—or at their incipience. The Elegant quail may already be pairing and will, in all likelihood, have initiated breeding. It is during the monsoons that many of the animals of the tropical deciduous forest breed. The herps, the reptiles and amphibians emerge from the rains. The beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum) and the Mexican west coast rattlesnake (Crotalus basiliscus) will be out and feasting on eggs and whatever else they might find and capture.
That now are wild and do not remember
There are data to be collected—do you see that? We’ve bits of information about the Elegant quail but nothing systematically collected recently. So that is a reason and one I will return to. I promise.
Panic of blood-rise, village of blue
I believe, however, that Mexico deserves the attention from biologists that Costa Rica and Panama have received. Mexico is vast and contains multitudes—of ecotypes and habitats. It is the meeting place of north and south.
And it is the home of all four of the Callipepla. All four, mind you.
We don’t go to Mexico anymore. Why are North American Birds limited to the US and Canada? I think we need to be down there. I want to be safe. I want to go.
the creature need not be watched
Quotes are by
Andrew Grace, Heraclitus of Ephesus, Ingeborg Bachmann, Karen Rigby, David Yetman and Thomas R. Van Devender, Sir Thomas Wyatt