[NetBehaviour] Bluejay

Alan Sondheim sondheim at gmail.com
Sat Jul 3 21:43:17 CEST 2021

Hi Max,

Thank you! Azure took a Cornell course in Ornithology (from a distance) a
few years ago; we're very aware of avian intelligence and have watched
accordingly, for example a raven deliberately flying upside down for the
fun of it in the late fall in Acadia in Maine. If you have a chance
sometime record a thicket of blackbirds, put the recorder in a thicket!
You'll hear all sorts of calls and conversations. Amazing!

You might want to friend Maria Damon on Facebook; we've done a lot of
writing together, and she works a lot with etymology; she's also an expert
weaver and delves deep into art in her own works and those of many others.
And thank  you again!

Best, Alan

On Sat, Jul 3, 2021 at 3:19 PM Max Herman via NetBehaviour <
netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:

> Hi Alan,
> I like your photo and phrasing here!  The line of soil reminded me of the
> water horizon in the *Mona Lisa*, which I've been studying as it is a bit
> unusual.
> Not sure if this is part of your poem, but I've been looking at weaving as
> a motif and theme in Dante and Leonardo (possibly linked) and found the
> very interesting, to me anyway, etymological factoid that "technology" and
> "text" both derive from the Proto-Indo-European "teks-" which means "to
> weave."  Dante references the Fates and spinning often, and situates an
> allegorical garment associated with Circe in a central dream sequence of
> the *Commedia *(*Purgatorio *19.1-33).  The dream is a little difficult
> to parse, with some incongruent elements and very unpleasant undertones of
> medieval misogyny, and might signify little more than Dante's own
> ambivalence or contempt toward romantic love.  I believe that Leonardo may
> have reinterpreted the dream sequence with some interesting and worthwhile
> revisions.
> Re birds I was given a copy of Jennifer Ackerman's 2016 book on bird
> intelligence this summer and have been meaning to read it.  The cover
> illustration may be a type of jay, not sure, and the first illustration is
> of a finch or sparrow perhaps drinking from a human-made vessel similar to
> what motivated me to write a song in 2019.  The book says,
> "[T]he avian brain had no cortex like ours, where all the 'smart' stuff
> happens.  Birds had minimal noggins for good reason, we thought: to allow
> for airborne ways; to defy gravity; to hover, arabesque, dive, soar for
> days on end, migrate thousands of miles, and maneuver in tight spaces.  For
> their mastery of air, it seemed, birds paid a heavy cognitive penalty.
> "A closer look has taught us otherwise.  Birds do indeed have brains very
> different from our own--and no wonder.  Humans and birds have been evolving
> independently for a long time, since our last common ancestor more than 300
> million years ago.  But some birds, in fact, have relatively large brains
> for their body size, just as we do.  Moreover, when it comes to brainpower,
> size seems to matter less than the number of neurons, where they're
> located, and how they're connected.  And some bird brains, it turns out,
> pack very high numbers of neurons where it counts, with densities akin to
> those found in primates, and links and connections much like ours.  This
> may go a long way toward explaining why certain birds have such
> sophisticated cognitive abilities....
> "News has arrived that songbirds learn their songs the way we learn
> languages and pass these tunes along in rich cultural traditions that began
> tens of millions of years ago, when our primate ancestors were still
> scuttling about on all fours."
> All best,
> Max
> ------------------------------
> *From:* NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on
> behalf of Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com>
> *Sent:* Saturday, July 3, 2021 2:00 AM
> *To:* NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> *Subject:* [NetBehaviour] Bluejay
> Bluejay
> http://www.alansondheim.org/bluejay.jpg
> There is stasis in the feet, the claws, the post.
> An imminent moment of invisible, internal tension.
> The spring, the lift.
> Nothing cries out in the beginning, throughout, beyond.
> Silent in the middle of the city, perhaps no nest.
> In the eaves, creatures.
> It's the _tension_ of the bird, it's ours.
> The weather worsens everywhere.
> Canada O Canada.
> The jay is _here_ not there, time looms, ours.
> We are responsible for time, for _this._
> We _loom._
> Faster than us, we await, apocalyptic.
> The apocalypse is a spiral, the jay is gone.
> The post is gone, the city is gone.
> The spring, when will weather worsen.
> The edge of the when, the when.
> ___
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