09 May 2009

Pieces of Home

... or atleast what is as "home" as any other location. I have moved around alot in my career pursuits.
Currenty, my job requires me to travel all over the central swath (geographically, that is) of Texas. From as far north as Palo Pinto County to the my southernmost property in southern Edwards County., about 45 minutes south of Rocksprings.

This area consists of mostly higher elevation ranchland and minimaly of people. The woody vegetation association is generally mixed oak-Ashe Juniper- Papershell Pinon.
Yes, with Ashe Juniper residing in this area the endangered songbird, Golden-cheeked Warbler, does nest here.

One may not immediately bring to mind the range for Dendroica crysoparia, as reaching this far south. Alas, they do, and biologists monitor some of these most southerly of the species' breeding populations.

The endangered species Vireo atricapilla or Black-capped Vireo for which I am tasked to locate, record positions of, and monitor behavior of also use this area of the state as breeding grounds.
These guys specifically use structure characterized by low-growing woody cover for nesting substrate. One of the biggest sins in the state regarding land use has been the generations of overgrazing practices. This, being a major cause of this specialized habitat's destruction. But, as big an issue if not bigger is the desire of Homo sapien sapien to suppress fire. Wild range fires are naturally occuring events, and would keep the land open and the resulting plant succession would be lower-growth canopies. Anyhow, we are learning as managers and stewards of the land that the laws of nature evolved to its balance for very necessary reasons.

Nobody wants to see the surface of Mars anywhere but on the surface of Mars. Not conservationist, not biologists of varied type, not landowners. I have come to see this unity exist in "groups" that some would YELL LOUDLY in your ear 'are polar opposites, unable to ever get along or find common ground.'

We should yell less as a society, I think.
Perhaps just press MUTE at glowing screens more often.
Alright, I got off track in what was to be a short post about a couple of reminders of "home" from my past.
Even in a job that may sound interesting to some, there are numerous moments that make this "work" and "job" at the level far beyond recreational enjoyment. Work is just flat out work sometimes. During these times we get gentle reminders to enjoy one's self. Enjoy the moment, the place. Enjoy this life.
If you've been looking down all day, look up. Or in my experience yesterday looking up, I looked down.
In blinding sun and 95+ degree heat:
I flushed the first 2 (Cyrtonyx montezumae) Montezuma Quail since since my Masters project in the Davis Mountains of far West Texas. Southern Edwards County and parts of Val Verde County have relict populations of this very cryptic bird.
The Strawberry Pitaya (Mammilaria heyderi) have bloomed. This takes me back to my years spent in the Chihuahuan Desert of the trans-Pecos region of Texas.

Also the first flight this season of one of my favorite members of the butterfly subfamily (Satyrinae); taking me back to days spent with The Nature Conservancy at Fort Hood.

Megisto rubricata
Red Satyr

I have found, in my life, that ultimately home is not comprised of where you are. Rather, Home is "who you are" and "with whom."

I recognized Home well before 27 March 2009.
Here is a picture...
I look forward to meeting those of you who will be attending the upcoming receptions in Abilene and Houston.
In regards to those who won't be in attendance, I look forward to our meeting further down the path.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you've found home with my crazy tree-hugging little sister, and I hope the two of you spend many happy years together doing whatever it is the two of you do.

    We're looking very forward to meeting you!!