Spring through fall there’s a giant flock of turkey vultures that circles my home town. They roost in the big trees right in the center of things and evenings can be seen soaring high, high above the cityscape. I live on the very edge of Cortez and in the morning I take off from my back door to hike the open space there. Cool, sunny days find vultures lined up and hulking on telephone poles and fence posts. That classic vulture posture I’m sure you know.
So, I love them, these carrion-eating, bald-head wearing, dark and brooding birds. I love how they’ve adopted Cortez, how their habits align with ours as they start the day warming in the sun and the evenings relaxing into a soaring glide. I love their scrappy resourcefulness and their misunderstood peculiarities. They are beautiful from afar and intriguing up close.
And here’s a thing that really fascinates me. Vultures are soaring birds. They hardly flap, in fact are maladapted to it, and use it only in a pinch. They’ve evolved to soar with wing-shape and body-type maximizing loft and glide, economizing energy and expanding range. And since they don’t hunt, they rely on soaring high, far and wide in the hopes of spying a random dead thing to eat. They catch updrafts, air streams, dust devils, air thermals, breezes and blows to propel themselves, searching the landscape for a meal.
Can you imagine their particular birds-eye view? From Cortez, the great sage plain with all it’s mesas and canyons spreading out below, mountains on the edges, big sky all around, dipping and rising on whims of wind… every day? How wonderful would that be?
So here’s where I am: feet on the ground and a human’s-eye view. Myopic, meager, earthbound. In need of some vulture style as I launch myself into unfamiliar territory once again with my latest move and art business fine-tune. I’m thinking my new studio space and big view from Road X in Yellow Jacket is the time to act like a vulture… spread wings, catch a breeze, hopefully soar. And see what I can see.