While walking on woods' edge under an ever-changing cloudscape, skirting prairie blooming with purple spiderwort (Tradescantia sp.) and false white indigo (Baptisia lactea), an iridescent shot of blue swept across my field of vision. It was quickly followed by a sweet, familiar song not 10 feet away... I see you perched, tiny slice of sky set free.... How can you be so delicate and magnificent all at once? The sight and song of the Indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea) seemed an auspicious welcome to summer.
The Indigo bunting, member of the cardinal family, is a seasonal visitor to Wisconsin. When migrating to and from Central America, primarily at night, this blue-feathered jewel uses the stars to navigate. Here in its northern home, it inhabits the ecotone between woods and prairie. You can listen to its song here.
A large, 48"x 67" minimalist painting I recently finished reminds me of this song of summer as performed by our avian friends under rolling white clouds. It's called Birdsong through Partly Cloudy Skies. Can you "see" it?
Artist and naturalist Michelle Louis has a vigorous curiosity about the natural world. She walks with intention in wild places at least 1,200 miles yearly, much of it on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. She makes art documenting her experience along the way and in her studio.