The Quail Diaries: Parte El Segundo

31 12 2008

Here begins the second part of The Quail Diaries.


This lizard was very cold and sitting under one of the quail traps. I am holding it here to warm it. Whether or not it is pleased with this treatment I will not venture to guess.

Here it is on its way. lizardonitsway

I caught four quail this morning–three (2 females and one male) of which I trapped last time. The fourth was a male and I banded him with help from the children. He does not want to look at the camera.newmale

They are fat and look to be thriving.

They are very sweet.



The Quail Diaries

31 12 2008

Thus ends the first part of THE QUAIL DIARIES.

The Quail Diaries, Notebook Reflections, 8

30 12 2008


The last of my transcription of the notebook comes with this post. I hope you are not too bored. I am not bored but I am confused, and this, much to my chagrin, makes its way to the page. As I have been in the process of transcribing this journal I have also been bidding farewell to a friend who has gone mad. Whether this person will ever return is doubtful for he/she is also dying. My friend is not elderly, this is not the Alzheimer’s that runs so thoroughly in my family, nor is the other forms of dementia found in the elderly. I will not tell you what is is but it is not a nice thing.

Dazzlement is night in broad daylight, the darkness that rules at the very heart of what is excessive in light’s radiance.

Many of you, I am sure, are not particularly interested in this information (indeed at least one has made that clear). I will not bite my thumb at you. It is a matter of a little concern.

In a sense, it is thus plenitude…

I know something about the locked ward. I do not want to talk about it right now but cannot seem to help myself. This writing is a form of compulsion. If you are violent, they strip you and lock you in a room, sometimes tethered to a bed, with the video monitor on you at all times. They might sedate you–they probably sedate you. I know this because I saw people on the video monitors at the front desk.

an abyss yawns in the middle of confinement


And that brings me back to the notebook. Because this is one of the questions. Was the author mad or sane? [You may ask yourself why I use these archaic words when the DSM has such nice terms like: schizoaffective disorder and folie a deux. Ultimate, mad or sane are as far as I want to go]

It is a silly question. Mad and sane are words all tangled up in what we call reality and appropriate behavior. But even with this entanglement the question of the author’s sanity, and the validity (here another loaded word) of the contents of the notebook affects my interpretation of the thing.

Does it affect yours?

No rescue? What a prisoner? I am even

The natural fool of fortune. Use me well;

You shall have ransom. Let me have surgeons;

This is what I say to my friend:

I am so very sorry. I am so sad.

I hate you.

I am so sorry

I am cut to the brains.

I miss you. That’s it.

When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down,

And ask of thee forgiveness; so we’ll live,

And pray and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh

At gilded butterflies…

we’ll wear out

In a wall’d prison, packs and sects of great ones,

That ebb and flow by the moon


FIRST OF THE LAST SET OF ENTRIES (all spellings are the authors. RP=ripped)


I Remember when

She meet Barny

me + Grandma called

[RP]he Fire Deptemet

[RP]he ot mare]





[Pink]I Remember when

mom got a job & [illegible]

Hospital as a [illegible]

[Orange]the Day and Her telling

pop that she got it

the birth ceriticat

[pencil]then [illegible][PinkishPurple]ected life insur[illegible





I Remember coming

Home from school. mom

[illegible]ad the Day off She made[illegible]

she said





[Large Rip down upper left corner]

[RP][bluegreen]Remember over herrin

[RP]m tell mom he was

[RP]e to sneak in to the

[illegible]id was able to get the

[RP]ile of the knife ripped up

[RP]k[illegible]and threw the

High thears[RP]l



There is nothing I can read after this page. The rest are glued together with dirt and rain, wind and time. Blue ink bleeds through the back but I cannot read it. What the notebook is, is a skeleton, and I am not sure if it is anything that can become fleshed. I am back at my field site as of this afternoon. The traps are out, seeded but not set. I have my scope to read bands. I smelled the ocean on the way, the sage and dust. It is winter here. I am a bit intimidated because the quail are in a covey which means they will behave frustratingly, at least if I want to band them. They may be here or somewhere else entirely…that is the problem with a nonterritorial bird. We’ll see.

The notebook is back at home where it will sit in its own dust.

And my friend is back there too. Somewhere or perhaps my friend no longer exists.

If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes

I know thee well enough


In italics: Quotes 1-3 are from Foucault, 4-7, Shakespeare [Whom am I to place myself at the sole of such august company?

The Quail Diaries, Notebook Reflections, 7

23 12 2008

You might remember from an earlier transcription:

James Martin Littleton



Of course I googled the name:

The result is…Here


The Quail Diaries, Notebook Reflections, 6

23 12 2008

And here, revealed not by the path of the fire itself, but by the cut made by the fire fighters, a notebook.  It is from, if the writing inside is accurate, 1972.

I assumed, when I came upon the notebook, the suitcase and the other objects in the brush that, for whatever reason, a family had camped here–that the owner of the notebook was not alone when the notebook was left there.

Now I think differently. I think the owner was alone. The owner was constructing something, pulling things out and putting them on the page and was indigent, lonely? Was the owner sane. What stories am I making out of what is inside and around me?

What stories do you make?

I feel, honestly, reluctant to go to far into this notebook, to try to reconstruct something. I’d rather just transcribe. I am, perhaps, afraid of taking liberties (but I take liberties so often…so why would that be?) I am considering asking you to take liberties, a little contest, what does the notebook mean…what is the story or what is the story of us and our hands on the notebook…The winner of the contest might get…hmmm…I am still working that out. Perhaps one of my analytical poetical posters–the wasteland or the truth about god, or maybe emily dickinson’s fascicle 18. Anyone interested in that sort of prize? Or not…whatever the case may be.

but here is the next page with writing:


[Note:  At the top, a pencil sketch, a part of a stick figure (some ripped off) and below that, a rectangle with three lines vertical.

Some is in green [G], some is in purple [P]]


[G] I Remember the

Day I went to the

S. S. Dept.

She said [P] your little Brother

James Martin Littleton

Died a few months after Birth


The Quail Diaries, Notebook Series, 5

20 12 2008

A picture of quail in the snow

but not my picture, and not from outside my window. There are quail in Seattle. Just not a large number of them. A smattering…the Coopers seek other sustenance.

The next entry in the notebook, several pages later, in red, at the bottom corner of the page


“sleep” it says.

We are nearly halfway there.

The Quail Diaries, Notebook Series, 4

19 12 2008


I have decided to rush along, run along…and finish up the notebook transcription for what it is worth. What can be said? what can I say, except that mingled with my reading of the notebook are those sort of things that happen. My tolerance seems to be waning. There is the same man that makes me nervous–he is indigent, and I see him regularly. I wish to be tolerant and open hearted. But I do not like that stare. It is like the stares of J. who is, most likely, still locked up, who was harmless, but uncomfortable making; but with this man, it is out there where all we do is ruled by propriety, or not. But in a coffee shop, or on the street.

This conflated, and other things too, like those you love slipping away. Someone who vanished from one day to the next, although I should have seen it coming. A vanishing tied up with the changes in the brain

When the hurlyburly’s done

The notebook is about memory. And about mind. Its mind and my mind, and your mind now. And so is she.


In a week or so we go to CA–will there be snow here when we leave? That might make me sad. I am going visit my quail and will start up the field diaries again. So it will be good to finish the notebook transcription. I will also be collecting artifacts and shipping them home (old shoes and cans). [it is just what we need in our basement, after all].



The next two pages: (they are ripped, RP stands for a part that is ripped away)

The first page:





[RP]esribe Sherry’s Baby[baby underlined]

He’s taking up space

in a land fill.”

Her first Grandson.

“I Didn’t want to be a a Grandmother yet”

[Two gravestones at the bottom in blue:]

Little James Martin Littleton July 1-71. 9-11-71

Jame Martin Littleton 9-11-37, 11-21-71

[In between is a oblong shape in brown with a blue oval at the top, crossed out in blue]



[make of that what you will, there are ways of saying things to hide the grief]


The next page

it is in three colors aqua, peagreen and magenta–I will indicate the color of the following text with A, P and M respectively


[A]I Remember the [RP]

about 3:30 in the morning [RP]

chan[illegible]ls Denny, and Jerry Al

came in through the Back

Bring in lots of food

grostoris [here is the smiley face of a odd person] [P] then

started to [illegible] [here is the body] screw

all the windows closed

And moved the kitchen table to

Block the back Door Closed

[sketch of what may be a window and people] [M]then they showed mom

[more of the sketch] and practiced on how and

[more of the sketch]were to stab Dad. then

[more of sketch]they Blocked the front

[more of the sketch]Door only so it will open

up a little way. a foot. then they

kralled out sherry’s window

and mom [illegible] faked to

And that is all there is.

Althought the following pages may have had writing once, it is gone now.

[When the chills are gone, is she gone now, is all I can think]