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pavo cristatus

Continuing the theme of avians with ridiculously outsized body parts, today I bring you the peacock, Pavo cristatus.

According to Wikipedia, “The function of the peacock’s elaborate train has been debated for over a century. In the 19th century, Charles Darwin found it a puzzle, hard to explain through ordinary natural selection. His later explanation, sexual selection, is widely but not universally accepted. In the 20th century, Amotz Zahavi argued that the train was a handicap, and that males were honestly signalling their fitness in proportion to the splendour of their trains. Despite extensive study, opinions remain divided on the mechanisms involved.”

oak glade

I slipped into a part of the State Park I hadn’t visited before, and followed a deer trail under overhanging boughs, to discover this secluded open glade within a circle of coast live oaks. I lay down on the thick bedding of dry, prickly leaves, my sketching bag as a pillow, and watched the dappled light dance above me.

For a few minutes, I stopped thinking about what the US Supreme Court did yesterday. I just breathed.