Audubon: Drawing Blood

Great Blue Heron by AudubonJohn_James_Audubon_1826

“Audubon,” Frederick says, “was an American. Walked the swamps and woods for years, back when that whole country was just swamps and woods. He’d spend all day watching one individual bird. Then knew more than any birder before or since. He’d eat most of the birds after after he painted them. Can you imagine?” Frederick’s voice trembles with ardency. Gazing up. “Those bright mists and your gun on your shoulder and your eyes set firmly in your head.

Werner tries to see what Frederick sees: a time before photograph, before binoculars. And here was someone willing to tramp out into a book not so much full of birds as full of evanescence, of blue winged, trumpeting mysteries.”

from All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doer, 2014, p. 220.