The poetry. The mythological importance. The art. Yet, there was more. Their actual history. Again, I was floored. Their history is wrapped up with ours. Human Beings. Women. American history. Environmental history. A conservationist. Even a President. There was one thing embedded in their history that seemed weird. It was Hot Sauce.
About then, I decided to submit 5 of the images to Communication Arts Magazine for their 2015 Photography Annual. I had won once before for a single image in 2013 but that's no guarantee of winning again. It's a tough competition. (To give you an idea, National Geographic wins a couple of these awards almost every year. You know their photography is excellent.) Anyway, after a couple of months... the notice came. All 5 of my images won. It felt like winning an oscar. The Photography Award of Excellence.
2015 Communication Arts Magazine. Photography Annual.
The I submitted another set of the images to Creative Quarterly. I won another Award of Excellence for them in issue #42. Everyone said I should make a coffee-table book of the images. I thought about it but I had learned so much and there was so much to these birds. Their backstory. Their beauty. The way they've entwined with people. I wanted to do something more. I wanted something people could feel and I wanted it to mirror the nature we all have within us.
So, I emailed Coleman Barks and asked if I could reference him. He replied affirmatively within minutes. He taught poetry and creative writing at the University of Georgia for thirty years. It was Barks who brought us Rumi's freestyle poetry translations in a form we could more easily understand.
Because, yes, I was going to write the history. Of course, I planned to tell you about the mythology. But I wanted you to have more. Something to which you could relate. Something personal. Something that would help you soar as high as these amazing birds.