The Old Ones
By Claudia Strijek
The old ones were here when the erupting earth spewed forth a fire river. They saw the red and orange molten rock fill the valley and saw huge plumes of smoke. They stared at the changing landscape for too long and the red burned into their eyes. So now we all have red eyes to remind us of a time that passed but may come again.
This is my take on a Native American tale I heard not long ago. After being in Lava Beds National Monument for two weeks walking over all that cooled lava flow, I could
not help but think of this common bird with its red eye.
Claudia Strijek is a KBO Field Technician conducting point counts in southern Oregon and northern California. Click here to visit her blog for more of her writings and photography.
Editor’s note—the Spotted Towhee’s iris color changes with age. Upon hatching, the young have dull grayish-brown eyes. Over its first winter the eye color progresses from brownish hues to an orangey-red to red. It is the older individuals that have deep red eyes.