Inspired by news and a great photograph of a big barred owl that has recently taken up residence in south Salem, I assembled a little group of owls on my bedroom mantle. Several of these guys come from the two connected shops on Front Street in Salem, Roost and the Beehive, which I stop by with increasing regularity. I love printed and figural representations of birds and animals and am rather enthusiastic about displaying them in our home: elephants are always around —to the point of near-tackiness and maybe beyond—and I’ve gone through bear, deer, swan, snail, and rabbit phases with little restraint. I’m thinking about foxes for the future. I had a brief bout with owls this fall and thought I was done, but apparently not. A passing glance at that great owl on McKinley Road drove me to retrieve my “owl box” in the basement and to my favorite medieval bestiary, the “Salisbury” Bestiary from circa 1250, for the images below. To illustrate the increasingly realistic (and scientific) perception of the owl, I’ve also included images from Konrad Gessner’s Histories of the Animals (1551-58), one of my favorite teaching texts because of its beautiful woodcut illustrations and its nascent empiricism, and John Gould’s more recent Birds of New Guinea and the Adjacent Papua Islands (1875).
An Assemblage of Owls
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- Welcome to Salem! This post is part of my continuing critique of the newly-announced "revisioned" Salem Heritage Trail. I've been focusing on what has been excluded from the trail so far but today I'd like to focus on what is included. Participants in the trail revisioning process and its proponents (all thoughtful people whose motivations I am not questioning) assert that this first-draft downtown route will be extended with the addition of more sites which meet a specific criteria, so just wait! But I'm afraid that I do not have confidence in the ongoing process, and this photograph illustrates my unconfidence perfectly.
I always attribute the images that I use in my blog; if you are going to copy them, please do so as well.
Copyright © 2020 Streets of Salem by Donna A. Seger