...and speaking of random tangents
2007.03.13 14:35

female peacock sighting; 2007.03.13 12:45; Ury

driving around the block on the way to market...
"Look, there's a big bird walking across the road. Is that a turkey?"
"No, that's not a turkey. That's a peacock."
The bird is walking very slow. Is it wounded? We slowly drive by a few feet away.
"Wow, it is a peacock. I think it's just very old."
"It's probably just going back into the woods."

Within the various biographies of John James Audubon you'll find ongoing discrepancies regarding his whereabouts during his first several months in the United States. The discrepancies stem mostly from the biographers not knowing where Ury actually was.

For the record, Audubon arrived from France at New York City sometime August 1803. The first thing he did was go to a bank in Greenwich [Village] where Audubon's father had money waiting for his son. Within a day or two Audubon became very ill. The ship's captain had Audubon taken care of by two Quaker women at Morristown, New Jersey (25 miles west of New York City). Miers Fisher, the agent of Audubon's father, went to collect the young Audubon once he was well again and brought him back to Ury. Audubon stayed at Ury perhaps as much as a few months, but then insisted he be taken to Mill Grove, his father's farm not far from Norristown, Pennsylvania.

And from there on Audubon's life is like one seemingly random tangent after another.

Back to France, back to Mill Grove, Pittsburgh, PA, raft down the Ohio River, Louisville, KY, Henderson, KY, then somewhere along the Mississippi where the Ohio River enters, then down to New Orleans, then north on the Mississippi again, then back to New Orleans, then back to Philadelphia, then back to New York, then Liverpool, England, then Manchester, then London...(this is where I stopped reading one of the biographies, and I may have messed up a little on the sequence of places). And this was just the first 15 years or so since Audubon first came to the US.

I hope that peacock made it safely back into the woods. Are peacocks among the Birds of America?




Quondam © 2007.04.15