Praying for Civilized Quail
Heavy rain in the morning and then, after a hot steamy afternoon, a violent thunderstorm at supper time—it blew out the bulb of my desk lamp. After the storm and supper—around bedtime—I went out and there were five small, bedraggled, wet quail, picking around in the path by the doorstep and very tame. Must be from the nursery the brothers had at the Steel Building. They don’t seem very well prepared for life in the woods: they preferred the path to the grass that would hide them; no mistrust of a human being—did not run away, only got out of the way of my feet or skipped away if I reached for them. They are now out on the wet lawn somewhere. This place is full of foxes—not to mention the kids who shoot anything that moves, in or out of season! I feel very sorry for these quail! But there is also the wild covey of a dozen or so trained by a zealous mother who often lured me along the rose hedge away from where the little ones were hiding in the deep weeds by the gate.
(I hear a mature quail whistling in the field. Perhaps it’s that mother gathering in her five “civilized” ones. Hope she tells them a thing or two about people!)
July 17, 1968, VII.146-47