In the foothills I saw my first meadowlark this week. It was the perfectly orchestrated sighting. That gorgeous canary yellow breast, embellished with a black chevron, heaving with song from a perch on a stem of sagebrush. Backlit by the blaze of rising sun, it was crooning its heart out. There could’ve easily been music, something by Bach or Handel, or maybe Beethoven.
It was pretty thrilling to finally spot one and feel the song was aimed at me, for I was thrilled, too, at witnessing the paling sky surrendering to the bold lines of day. The half moon was just disappearing across the valley. I stopped to soak in the privilege of being present at that moment in that place and hoped it wouldn’t startle and fly away. What with the tilting sky on the threshold between night and day, the full-bodied song, the solitude of the place, I understood the impulse to yawp over the rooftops of the world.
Later I learned male meadowlarks like to squat on “bragging posts” to tell the world all about their fabulous selves, much like roosters, and this certainly seemed to be the case that morning. The lark was busy with the job of wooing, to be sure, but also, it would seem, saying to any fellas within range, Robert de Niro-style, “You wanna piece of me?”
His serenade must’ve trumped the undersong of pugnacity. Along came two females – these fellows travel in the world with two mates—and off they flew together.