Everybody Welcome

In honor of Black History Month, allow me to introduce you to a remarkable woman who once called Colorado Springs home. On October 26, 2019 our city welcomed a new sculpture in front of the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts. The life-size figure depicts Fannie Mae Duncan (1918-2005) in her mid-30s, elegantly-attired, enthusiastic, and with her right arm extended in a greeting gesture, epitomizing the motto that became her credo, EVERYBODY WELCOME. Plans to create the first local statue in honor of an African-American woman were forged soon after Fannie Mae’s death, but it took nearly a decade-and-a-half of private fundraising for those plans to be made flesh—or bronze. The well-attended dedication ceremony was the latest in a series of belated tributes to a woman who modeled a peaceful way to racial integration.

Everybody Welcome also became the theme of a play, a book, and a PBS television documentary, thanks to the efforts of retired teacher, Kathleen F. Esmiol. She and a group of her students contacted Mrs. Duncan to ask for permission to portray her in a play, which was performed in Colorado Springs and Denver on a number of occasions between 1993 and 1994. The ensuing friendship between the two women led to the 2013 publication of Everybody Welcome, A Memoir of Fannie Mae Duncan and the Cotton Club. Written by Ms. Esmiol, it recounts Fannie Mae Duncan’s life in her own words, and is a poignant and profound portrait of a woman whose ideals we are still striving to achieve today. If it were not for urban renewal, a short walk from Fannie Mae’s statue would lead to the legendary establishment that became synonymous with her—Colorado Springs’ very own Cotton Club.

To retrace Fannie Mae’s life from her roots in the deep South to her blossoming in Colorado Springs is to re-live the struggles of many an African-American family. Her parents were children of enslaved parents and labored as tenant farmers in Alabama, until the family moved to Oklahoma to escape a case of blatant racism. Fannie Mae Bragg was the first of seven siblings born outside of Alabama. After the death of her father, the family eventually relocated to Colorado Springs, where Fannie Mae became the first member of her family to graduate from high school in 1939. She had to forego her dream of attending nursing school because of a lack of funds, working instead as a maid for various employers. She married Ed Duncan, the older brother of a classmate, who worked as chauffeur.

The entry of the United States into the second World War after the attack on Pearl Harbor changed not only Colorado Springs’ fortunes, but also the Duncans’. Camp Carson was founded in 1942 (to be renamed Fort Carson in 1957), and Fannie Mae learned about an open position as a soda fountain operator at the segregated Haven Club. In 1944, she persuaded Ed to help her run a café and snack bar at the newly opened USO club for black servicemen in downtown Colorado Springs. He was an excellent cook and handyman, she knew how to deal with customers and money. The café was an instant success, providing a steady income for the Duncans, as it was one of the few eateries that served blacks, and attracted both downtown workers for a quick bite, as well as local families and travelers.

Fannie Mae dreamed about not only renting, but owning their own business. When the opportunity presented itself that same year to buy a former restaurant, she pleaded with Ed to jump at it. They borrowed money from one of his former employers, a wealthy widow, in order to make the requisite down payment. Duncan’s Café and Bar opened in November 1947, becoming instantly popular. Soon thereafter, Fannie Mae and Ed also opened Duncan’s Lounge on the second floor above the café.

Fannie Mae and Ed regularly journeyed to the Rossonian nightclub in Denver’s Five Point neighborhood to listen to famous jazz performers, which sparked the desire to open their very own. Fannie Mae knew she wanted a grand name, and what could be grander than Cotton Club, in honor of Harlem’s famous but defunct musical venue. She ordered a 20 foot-tall, flamingo pink Cotton Club sign, and was tickled by the notion that it could be seen by all passing cars from the highway that would became I-25.

The Cotton Club was a hit from the moment it opened its doors. Unlike Harlem’s namesake, which featured black performers for white patrons, the Duncans wanted to provide a home not only for black artists, but also for their fellow black citizens, whose social opportunities continued to be limited. Neither the Antlers nor the Broadmoor Hotel allowed black performers or guests. Because many of their patrons were in the military, and had returned home after World War II with foreign-born wives, the Duncans expected a multi-ethnic crowd, and wanted to make them feel welcome. Fannie Mae hired 15 waitresses from various racial backgrounds.

By coordinating engagements with the Rossonian, she was able to book their high-level performers for the Cotton Club also. The Who’s Who of American Jazz performed in Colorado Springs, among them luminaries like Fats Domino, B.B. King, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, and Etta James. It did not take long for white music lovers to show up at the club, and for other local businesses to complain about her channeling white customers away from their establishments, which led to her invitation to the local police chief who told her she “couldn’t mix races,” and to “run it black.” She famously countered with: “I check them for age. Nobody told me I had to check them for color.” He soon changed his mind, likely because of the protests by her white, influential clientele.

Fannie Mae has often been described as a community activist, but my impression is that she did not set out to be a revolutionary. She simply applied the golden rule and treated others the way she wished to be treated, regardless of skin color. While it might not have been the Duncans’ initial intent to make a political statement, the Cotton Club became the first fully integrated enterprise in Colorado Springs. Ed hand-lettered a sign, and Fannie Mae put it into the window: EVERYBODY WELCOME reflected not only the slogan of the Cotton Club, but Fannie Mae’s philosophy of life.

Black performers, regardless of their national or international fame, were still not welcome to rest their heads on pillows in Colorado Springs hotels. It profoundly perturbed Fannie Mae that her musicians had to return to Denver for accommodations. To remedy this shortcoming, in 1952 she bought one of her favorite downtown houses, saving it from demolition. The 1891, 42-room Victorian Mansion was then conveyed to her property in three parts. The Duncans were able to welcome their performers with comfortable lodgings and with home-cooked, Southern-style meals, courtesy of Fannie Mae’s mother. Sadly, Ed died in 1955 due to complications from alcoholism, which might have been triggered by the death of their only child during delivery. He left Fannie Mae a widow at 36.

It seems an inevitable fact of “civilized” society that jealous, evil tongues start wagging at the success of fellow humans. Fannie Mae’s preference for flamboyant outfits, flashy Cadillacs, and Victorian mansions likely did not help, nor did the degeneration of downtown Colorado Springs, with increased levels of crime in the 1960s and 70s. The city decided to sacrifice her Cotton Club to urban renewal and applied eminent domain, and Fannie Mae’s baby fell prey to the wrecking ball in 1975.

She moved away from Colorado for a while, but returned to live in Denver, where Kathleen Esmiol found her and set into motion the events that culminated in the beautiful statue of Fannie Mae Duncan. Fannie Mae died in Denver in 2005 at age 87, not knowing of all the honors that would be bestowed upon her posthumously. One hopes that she had overcome her misgivings about Colorado Springs, where she was laid to rest at Evergreen Cemetery, next to her husband. In death, she remains surrounded by her mother and several other family members.

The mural of Fannie Mae and her Cotton Club shown in the topmost photo graces a wall at 2438 E. Platte Avenue in Colorado Springs. It was dedicated by the Knobhill Urban Arts District Planning Committee on July 5, 2019.

Bitte verzeiht mir, daß es wegen der Länge dieses Beitrags heute keine deutsche Übersetzung gibt.

Ute Valley Park

Colorado Springs harbors a wealth of lovely parks, putting us locals in the enviable position of having to choose which one to explore on any given day. Allow me to introduce Ute Valley Park, located in the northwest quadrant of our city. Even though it’s only about 13 miles from home, busy traffic corridors act as a deterrent, and I don’t visit as often as I would like, because it’s otherwise a very attractive destination, both with regard to scenery and wildlife.

Colorado Springs beheimatet eine Fülle reizender Parks, weshalb wir Einheimischen oft die Qual der Wahl haben. Erlaubt mir, Euch Ute Valley Park im nordwestlichen Teil der Stadt vorzustellen. Auch wenn er nur etwa 21 Kilometer von unserem Haus entfernt liegt, schrecken mich die Verkehrswege etwas ab, und ich besuche ihn weniger oft als gewünscht, weil er ansonsten sehr attraktiv ist, sowohl was die Landschaft als auch die Tierwelt angeht.

As the name implies, the area is nestled in a wide valley and characterized by rolling hills, rocky canyons, and sandstone formations, all of which are variously covered by grassy meadows, desert-like plants, shrubby vegetation, or piñon/juniper forest. The view west is dominated by Pikes Peak, which remains in sight from all but the most secluded trails. I never tire of gazing at our local fourteener, and am fascinated by its moods, which it wears on its sleeve, or its head, as it were. It does not pretend—shares a sunny smile when all is calm, but surrounds itself in a cloak when change is brewing—and in so doing, serves as our meteorologist.

Wie der Name andeutet, liegt das Areal in einem weiten Tal und ist durch sanfte Hügel, felsige Schluchten und Sandsteinformationen gekennzeichnet, die je nachdem mit Gras, wüstenartigen Pflanzen, Sträuchern oder Nadelwäldern bedeckt sind. Der Blick gen Westen wird von Pikes Peak dominiert, der von den meisten Pfaden aus zu sehen ist. Ich werde nie müde, mir unseren 4.000 Meter hohen Berg anzuschauen, und ich finde seine Launen faszinierend, die er offen auf seinem Angesicht zur Schau stellt. Wenn das Wetter mild ist, lächelt er, doch wenn sich etwas anbraut, umhüllt er sein Antlitz, und fungiert so als unser Meteorologe.

As is evident in my pictures taken mid-January, the ground is snowless, in all but the most shaded spots. After promising November and December snowfalls, most of our region has not had any precipitation for four to six weeks. While January is often a dry month, the absence of rain or snow serves as a sobering reminder that many parts of Colorado have been in a drought since the start of the new millennium. As of January 21, the drought monitor reports that 26. 4% of the state (Colorado Springs included) is abnormally dry, 37.4% is in a moderate, and 13.8% in a severe drought.

Wie meine Bilder von Mitte Januar zeigen, ist der Boden bis auf die schattigsten Flecken schneefrei. Seit einigen vielversprechenden Schneefällen im November und Dezember gibt es fast überall in unserer Region in den letzten vier bis sechs Wochen keinerlei Niederschläge. Auch wenn der Januar oft ein trockener Monat ist, dienen die Abwesenheit von Schnee und Regen als ernüchternde Erinnerung daran, daß viele Gegenden Colorados seit Beginn des neuen Milleniums unter Dürre leiden. Laut Trockenheitsmonitor vom 21. Januar sind 26,4 % des Staates (dazu gehört auch Colorado Springs) ungewöhlich trocken, wohingegen 37,4% von mittelmäßiger und 13.8% von starker Trockenheit betroffen sind.

The following photo shows a section of the Rampart Range. Instead of green trees, you might recognize their skeletons—silent witnesses of the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire, which swept over the hill and burned not only forest, but also an entire residential area, tragically claiming the lives of two people and countless animals. With the heart-rending inferno in Australia and the memory of this and several other recent conflagrations still fresh on everybody’s mind, we are enjoying our sunshine while we urgently hope for some moisture from the sky.

Das folgende Photo zeigt einen Auschnitt der hiesigen Rampart Gebirgskette. Statt grüner Bäume ist es möglich, ihre Skelette zu erkennen. Sie sind stumme Zeugen des Waldo Canyon Feuers, das 2012 über den Hügel schwappte und nicht nur den Wald, sondern auch ein Wohngebiet verbrannte und tragischerweise zwei Menschen sowie unzähligen Tieren das Leben kostete. Das herzzereißende Inferno in Australien und unsere eigene Feuersbrunst sind uns noch frisch im Gedächtnis, und auch wenn wir die Sonne genießen, wünschen wir uns, daß der Himmel uns dringende Nässe spenden wird.

American Avocet

Dear Avocet,

When I perused last year’s photo archive and found a series of portraits of you, my heart went into a happy little dance. You blessed us with your presence at a local lake during fall migration for one full golden October week. Only you know where you had come from and where you were going. I wondered if you had been born only this summer, and were somehow left behind when your parents, brothers, and sisters took off for warmer climes. Or if you were a loner, who liked to travel on your own.

Watching you forage for sustenance to power you through your upcoming journey, rest your legs, or even take a nap while people and dogs were milling about touched me deeply, but also made me worry about your future, the obstacles on your way to your winter quarters, the countless challenges and dangers awaiting you. I hope you are safe and well-fed.

We humans are always admonished against employing flattery, but if it’s honest and sincere, I don’t see a problem with it. So please allow me to tell you that ever since I first had the pleasure of getting to know one of your kind, you have enchanted me. With your slender legs, long neck, curved bill, and exquisite plumage, you are elegance personified. Whether or not your feathers are black, white, and gray, or ginger-colored accents beautify your head, neck, and throat during breeding season, you dazzle.

You had me at first sight.

Sincerely,

Your admirer

Lieber Säbelschnäbler,

Als ich mein Photoarchiv vom vergangenen Jahr durchsah, und auf eine Serie Deiner Porträts stieß, machte mein Herz einige frohe Sprünge. Du beglücktest uns während des Herbstzuges mit Deiner Präsenz an einem hiesigen See eine ganze goldene Oktoberwoche lang. Du allein wußtest, woher Du kamst und wohin Du wolltest. Ich fragte mich, ob Du erst in diesem Sommer geboren wurdest, und vielleicht den Anschluß an Deine Eltern, Brüder und Schwestern verpaßt hattest, als sie sich gen wärmere Gefilde aufmachten. Oder vielleicht warst Du lieber allein unterwegs.

Dir zuzuschauen, wie Du nach Futter suchtest, um Dich für Deine bevorstehende Reise zu stärken, wie Du Deine Beine ausruhtest oder sogar ein Nickerchen hieltest, während sich Menschen und Hunde in der Nähe tummelten, bewegte mich zutiefst, ließ mich aber auch um Deine Zukunft fürchten, um all die Hindernisse auf dem Weg zu Deinem Winterquartier sowie die zahllosen Herausforderungen und Gefahren, die auf Dich warteten. Ich hoffe, Du bist satt und in Sicherheit.

Wir Menschen werden immer vor Schmeicheleien gewarnt, doch wenn sie ehrlich und ernst gemeint sind, sehe ich damit keine Probleme. Erlaube mir deshalb, Dir zu sagen, daß Du mir seit meiner ersten Begegnung mit einem Deiner Artgenossen das Herz gestohlen hast. Mit Deinen schlanken Beinen, Deinem langen Nacken, gebogenen Schnabel und auserlesenen Gefieder verkörperst Du reine Eleganz. Egal, ob Deine Federn schwarz, weiß und grau sind, oder rötliche Akzente Dir Kopf, Hals und Brust in der Brutsaison verschönern, Du bist einfach hinreißend.

Es war Liebe auf den ersten Blick.

Ergebenst,

Deine Verehrerin

Season’s Greetings

Winter Solstice is only a few days away, but wintry interludes have punctuated the weather along Colorado’s Front Range since mid-October, when a deep freeze brought an abrupt end to still-blooming flowers and changing leaves, which suddenly and sadly lost their pigment nearly overnight, and became brown and brittle appendages, that rattled through brisk autumn storms. With the verdure gone, and the denuded vegetation having assumed a near-monochrome hue, snowfalls have enlivened the lackluster landscape intermittently.

Die Wintersonnenwende steht fast vor der Tür, aber winterliche Intermezzos haben das Wetter in Colorados Vorgebirge bereits seit Mitte Oktober bestimmt, als ein Kälteeinbruch ein abruptes Ende für noch blühende Blumen und sich verfärbende Blätter brachte, die quasi über Nacht ihre Farbe verloren, und sich in braune und brüchige Anhängsel verwandelten, die durch heftige Herbststürme rasselten. Mit dem Verlust des Grün wurde die Vegetation fast monochrom, doch zwischendrin haben Schneefälle die farblose Landschaft immer mal wieder aufgeheitert.

Serenity/Stille

Visitations by Jack Frost have resulted in serene sights like the ones above, or in more somber prospects like the one below, when the mountains were obscured by clouds for days on end. His fierce breath has blown snow into ripples resembling drifts of sand, his frigid kisses have deposited sparkling jewels on all things brushed with his lips, and a touch with his icy fingertips—as though they were magic wands—has fashioned frozen forms out of flowing water.

Die Besuche von Väterchen Frost haben zu friedvollen Szenen wie den zwei obigen geführt, oder zu eher düsteren Aussichten, wie der nachfolgenden, als die Berge tagelang mit Wolken verhangen waren. Sein scharfer Atem hat den Schnee so umhergewirbelt, daß er Sandverwehungen ähnelt. Seine kalten Küsse haben auf allem, was seine Lippen berührten, klizernde Kristalle hinterlassen und die Berührung mit seinen eisigen Fingerspitzen, so als seien sie Zauberstäbe, hat fließendes Wasser in erstarrte Figuren verwandelt.

Prospect Lake, Colorado Springs. Pikes Peak is barely visible/Pikes Peak is kaum zu sehen.

Snow drifts/Schneeverwehungen

Winter’s jewels/Winterschmuck

Ice Mushroom/Eispilz

This last season of the year has brought not only snowy sceneries, but also snow ponies, snow geese, and snow dogs. Our neighbors’ puppy is living through his first winter, and he can’t get enough of the white fluff, playing in it with abandon, similar to what we might have done when we were pups ourselves. Watching him is a good reminder to rediscover the child in us and to play in the snow this winter; and if there is none, to still be happy and play with whatever is available.

Diese letzte Jahreszeit hat nicht nur Schneekulissen mit sich gebracht, sondern auch Schneeponys, Schneegänse und Schneehunde. Der Welpe unserer Nachbarn, der seinen ersten Winter erlebt, kann nicht genug von den weißen Flocken bekommen, und spielt völlig ausgelassen mit ihnen, so ähnlich, wie wir das einst taten, als wir noch klein waren. Ihm zuzusehen inspiriert dazu, das Kind in uns wiederzuentdecken, und diesen Winter auch mal mit Schnee zu spielen. Und wenn es keinen gibt, dennoch glücklich zu sein, und mit dem zu spielen, was vorhanden ist.

Wearing proper winter attire/Warm angezogen

Wearing goose down/Mit Gänsedaunen bekleidet

Better Late Than Never

At times we are granted unexpected sightings, at others, the subject of our desire remains out of reach, no matter how hard we try. Yet every so often, when we have resigned ourselves to the fact that some yearnings will remain ungratified, like an offering from the Fates, we are provided with an unforeseen gift.

Such was the case on this summer day, when I decided to prolong my visit at Glen Eyrie, where my weekly group of birding enthusiasts had done a survey of the local avifauna. This former estate of Colorado Springs founder, General William Jackson Palmer, is now in the possession of the Navigators, who run it as a religious retreat center, but also offer admittance to the public via a reservation system. After my birding friends’ departure, I hiked some of the rocky trails between the geologic formations that are the direct continuation of neighboring Garden of the Gods to the south.

Zu manchen Zeiten werden uns unerwartete Sichtungen zuteil, zu anderen wiederum wird uns das Objekt unserer Sehnsucht verwehrt, egal wie sehr wir danach streben. Gelegentlich, nachdem wir uns bereits damit abgefunden haben, daß unsere Wünsche unerfüllt bleiben, beschenkt uns das Schicksal mit unvorhergesehenen Gaben.

Das war an diesem Sommertag der Fall, als ich mich entschied, meinen Besuch bei Glen Eyrie zu verlängern, wo mein Vogelclub eine Bestandsaufnahme der Vogelwelt gemacht hatte. Dieses ehemalige Anwesen von General William Jackson Palmer, dem Stadtgründer von Colorado Springs, ist jetzt im Besitz der Navigatoren, die es als religiösen Erholungsort betreiben, es aber auch der Öffentlichkeit mittels Reservierung zugänglich machen. Nachdem meine Vogelfreunde Abschied genommen hatten, erforschte ich einige der Wanderpfade inmitten der geologischen Formationen, die die direkte Fortsetzung des benachbarten Garden of the Gods darstellen.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. To read its caption, hover cursor over it.

Zum Vergrößern, das Bild bitte anklicken. Um den Titel zu lesen, mit der Maus darüber schweben.

The early morning’s sunny sky had been obscured by clouds, resulting in a mystical atmosphere. Maybe this was the prerequisite for viewing what, in my mind, had become a mythical animal, as it had remained unfindable by me, despite being observed and photographed by seemingly every other person, resident and visitor alike. When my roving gaze discerned an unusual shape between the angular cliffs, I did a double take, and my heart a double beat.

Der sonnige Morgenhimmel war von einer Wolkendecke verschleiert worden, was in einer mystischen Stimmung resultierte. Vielleicht war das die Voraussetzung dafür, dasjenige Tier zu Gesicht zu bekommen, das für mich zum Fabelwesen geworden war, da es unauffindbar war, obwohl es scheinbar jede Person außer mir bereits gesehen und photographiert hatte, egal ob Anwohner oder Besucher. Als mein umherschweifender Blick eine ungewöhnliche Kontur zwischen den kantigen Klippen wahrnahm, mußte ich zweimal hingucken, und mein Herz klopfte etwas schneller.

The elusive Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep finally (con)descended to give me an audience. This ovine of high altitudes is an anomaly along the Front Range, with a decades-old local history.  In 1946, when the trailer that was in the process of relocating a dozen animals from Colorado’s Tarryall Mountains to Pikes Peak broke down, they were released, and established a successful Bighorn Society in Queen’s Canyon, just west of Glen Eyrie, instead of making their way up to our local fourteener.

During each previous visit to Garden of the Gods, I had scanned the rocky crags to no avail. On this day, they weren’t even on my mind, which proved my introductory point above. Needless to say, I was over the moon to have made the acquaintance of one of the descendants of the original flock. Better late than never!

Das schlüpfrige Rocky-Mountains-Dickhornschaf ließ sich endlich dazu herab (im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes), mir eine Audienz zu gewähren. Diese Schafsart der hohen Gefilde ist im Vorgebirge der Rocky Mountains eine Ausnahme, mit einer jahrzehntelangen hiesigen Geschichte. Als der Anhänger, der 1946 ein Dutzend Tiere von den Tarryall Bergen in Richtung Pikes Peak transportierte eine Panne hatte, wurden sie in der Nähe freigelassen, und siedelten sich erfolgreich in Queen’s Canyon westlich von Glen Eyrie an, anstatt auf unserem hiesigen 4000 Meter hohen Berg.

Bei jedem Besuch von Garden of the Gods hatte ich die Felswände abgesucht, jedoch ohne Erfolg. An diesem Tag hatte ich sie nicht mal im Sinn, was mein obiges Argument bestätigte. Es versteht sich von selbst, daß ich überglücklich war, die Bekanntschaft mit einem der Nachfahren der ursprünglichen Herde gemacht zu haben. Besser spät als nie!

Mr. Bob White

One lovely May afternoon Mr. Bob White saw the door of his enclosure swinging back and forth in the breeze. His keeper had forgotten to latch the gate, and Mr. White and several of his friends were powerless to resist the call of the wild. He looked to the left, he looked to the right, hopped here one moment, and flapped there the next. All of a sudden he noticed that his companions were nowhere to be seen. Instead, he found himself face to face with a camera in an unfamiliar garden.

Not that he knew what a camera was, but he wasn’t scared, because the woman behind it muttered gentle words, and admired his good looks. Mr. White found places to hide and kernels of corn under the bird feeder to munch on, and since his tummy was full, and there were no dogs on the premises, he decided to linger in this location for a few days.

Meanwhile, the woman behind the camera had learned that the bird’s owner was not interested in having him or his fellow escapees back, much to her consternation. A potential foster family expressed interest, having previously considered adopting a few of these good-looking quails. Equipped with a butterfly net and blankets, the woman and her husband attempted to corner and capture Mr. White, but despite their slow moves and soothing remarks, he was not willing to be caught, as he had started to enjoy his freedom.

Once he had resolved to live free, Bob White moved on, and the sweet onomatopoeic song responsible for his name, no longer enlivened the soundscape. May it still be issuing from his handsome throat and bring joy to other listeners, as it did when it resounded through our neighborhood.

To see additional photos, to listen to the song of the Northern Bobwhite, and to learn about its usual distribution (wild birds are rare in most of Colorado, but are popular for breeding purposes), please click on the following link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: 

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Bobwhite/

How To Stay Cool

It has been hot! July brought several heat waves, and to someone whose comfort zone is in the low 70s, the high 90s are taxing and trying. I have been hiking early, seeking to escape the sun by midmorning, by withdrawing either into the cool basement, or, occasionally, into an air-conditioned dwelling, something I don’t overly cherish.

Observing how other creatures survive furnatial conditions has been instructive. Some thrive on heat, among them insects and reptiles. I am showing a photo with a gorgeous dragonfly in the process of absorbing as much warmth as possible, but opted to withhold one of a rattlesnake, stretched out in full length along a sunny trail recently, since previous depictions of said serpent discomfited a few fellow bloggers.

Nocturnal animals tend to sleep away the day, though why nighthawks don’t rest in the shade is an enigma. Prairie dogs have the possibility to lounge in their subterraneous burrows, frogs take frequent mud baths (one of the reasons their skin is so smooth, and I want to kiss and thereby transform them into princes). Water-dwelling animals have an advantage, and are enviously eyed and eagerly emulated by us humans. The magical combination of two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen appears to be our preferred way to cool down, as demonstrated by the aquaphiles in the featured photo above, who are enjoying the pulsating jets at the Wilbur Fountain in downtown Colorado Springs, which are complemented by the occasional musical appearance of Uncle Wilbur.

Es ist heiß! Im Juli gab es mehrere Hitzewellen, und für jemanden, die sich bei 20 Grad am wohlsten fühlt, sind über 35 Grad nur schwer zu ertragen. Ich gehe meist früh los und versuche, der Sonne am späten Vormittag zu entkommen, indem ich mich in den kühlen Keller zurückziehe, oder mich gelegentlich sogar in klimatisierte Gebäude begebe, was ich sehr ungern tue.

Es war sehr lehrreich zu beobachten, wie andere Kreaturen die backofenähnlichen Bedingungen überstehen. Manchen tut die Hitze gut, wie z. B. Insekten und Reptilien. Ich zeige ein Photo einer wunderschönen Libelle, die versucht, so viel Wärme wie möglich zu absorbieren, enthalte Euch jedoch das einer Klapperschlange vor, die sich kürzlich auf einem sonnigen Pfad räkelte, da vorherige Darstellungen einer solchen Schlange einigen Bloggern unangenehm war.

Nachtaktive Tiere tendieren dazu, den Tag zu verschlafen, doch warum sich Nachtfalken nicht im Schatten ausruhen, ist mir ein Rätsel. Präriehunde können in ihren subterranen Bauten lungern, Frösche nehmen oft Schlammbäder (einer der Gründe, warum ihre Haut so glatt ist, und ich sie küssen und in Prinzen verwandeln möchte.) Wassertiere haben einen Vorteil und werden von uns Menschen beneidet und nachgeahmt. Die magische Kombination aus zwei Molekülen Wasserstoff und einem Molekül Sauerstoff scheint die bevorzugte Manier zu sein, um uns abzukühlen, wie die Wasserliebhaber in dem obigen Photo demonstrieren, die sich an den pulsierenden Jets des Wilbur Brunnens in der Innenstadt von Colorado Springs erfreuen, die von gelegentlichen musikalischen Auftritten von Onkel Wilbur begleitet werden.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. To read its caption, hover cursor over it.

Zum Vergrößern, das Bild bitte anklicken. Um den Titel zu lesen, mit der Maus darüber schweben.

Synchronous swimming anybody?

Wie wärs mit Synchronschwimmen?