A murder was committed in my yard recently. I witnessed it, but haven’t been able to identify the slayer.
The attack was sudden. The blackbirds around our feeder flushed away in panic. A sickening thud against our sliding glass door jerked my eyes upward in time to see an airborne chase. An adolescent blackbird crashed into the irises. There, it was skewered by the attacker’s long, straight beak.
Then the predator – it looked a bit like a sapsucker but didn’t behave like one – flew off with its prey in its talons.
Fall is harvest time, but with harvests also come deaths. The ripe raspberries fall, the canes die. Young birds mature, but some become sustenance as other creatures prepare for winter.
November’s magazine repeatedly prompted me to think about the cycle of life and death, birth and harvest.
In Mexico, November begins with Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. In England, it’s called called All Soul’s Day and it follows All Hallows Eve (Halloween). In France, to my bemusement, the day is called La Toussaint. We pay tribute to that holiday with stories about Dia de Los Muertos and about Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklórico, a dance troupe that performs at Dia de los Muertos celebrations.
This issue also celebrates fall’s harvest with a story about Painted Mountain corn, a grain with roots that reach back to the nearly-extinct Mandan Indian tribe.
With fall also comes hunting, and I find my views about that conflicted. I abhor trophy hunting, but I’m a carnivore. I’m friends with not one, but three, hunters – all of them people I admire. The hunting stories in this issue helped me explore the ethical complexities that underlie hunting and ecological balance.
This issue also brings you a story of how trainer Denise Latousek brings folks back to life after physical trauma. It includes a book review by local author Evan Zislis and a look at the time Dr. William and Nancy Bo Flood spent in Navajo country.
There’s so much life in our pages! Enjoy!