Thursday, October 6, 2011
Jackrabbits in the cemetery
I almost never go sketching without Chloe. Even though she sometimes gets bored while I'm working, she always wants to go if I'm going. She seems to enjoy hanging out, at least for a while, and especially enjoys it if there's sun to bask in. One of the best things about walking with her is that she often leads me to the most interesting things to draw! With her fabulous ability to scent, she's led me to some subjects that I never would have found just by looking.
For a time this summer, large groups of songbirds gathered to forage and socialize in some trees in a cemetery near my house. I got up early each morning and walked over, sitting somewhere fairly inconspicuous to wait for them to arrive. They'd come in waves - first the juncos, then house finches, goldfinches, robins and, finally, crows.
One morning, as I waited, sketching Chloe, who is an excellent model when there's nothing else to draw, she grew increasingly excited, inching farther and farther away from where we sat. I was engrossed in my work and didn't really pay as much attention as I should have. Once I'd expanded my focus to the world and looked beyond the now trembling dog to see what had caught her attention so thoroughly, I was delighted to see two Black-tailed jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) resting on a hillside just below the mausoleum, blending amazingly well into the surrounding nearly dry grasses and weeds. They rested quietly for a while then one bounced off over the hill while the other hare did a few leisurely calisthenics, took a dust bath and loped off in the same direction as her companion had traveled.