I can’t believe how quickly the year has flown past. It is already November. Although that means the coldest darkest part of the year is quickly approaching, there is one bright side to the turn of the season–namely the fact that this month is dedicated to my favorite domestic bird, the magnificent turkey! I have been trying to think of how to reintroduce the long absent turkeys back to ferrebeekeeper. Although it would be good to write more about the birds’ astonishing capacity for virgin birth, or to recount more personal anecdotes concerning pet turkeys, I have decided to start with a picture of the turkey’s native environment—the mixed deciduous forests of the east coast. To provide such a picture, it is necessary to turn once again to the astonishing artist John Dawson, who painted an idealized picture of New York forest which was mass-produced as a sheet of US Postal Service stamps (released March 3, 2005).
The sequence of stamp sheets is called the Nature of America—a series of twelve stamp sheets detailing the different ecosystems from around the nation. When I first started this blog, I wrote about Dawson’s second painting for this series–which showed a pacific Northwest Rainforest. The above picture of hardwood forests is even more exciting to me since I grew up in this eco-region. Unfortunately I could not find a picture of the original work before it was formatted as a sheet of stamps, however (despite the little stamp cut-outs) the viewer can still become lost in the artist’s sweeping landscape of deciduous trees and familiar forest creatures. If you carefully cast your eyes around the picture you will perceive many small details such as fungi, wild flowers, birds, salamanders, and bats. A beaver is just barely visible swimming out to her lodge (which takes up the center right), while a lovely white-tailed deer anxiously eyes a foraging black bear. Despite the many wonders visible in the composition, Dawson has wisely centered the composition on the wild turkey strutting proudly through the paper birch trees. It is a fitting image with which to commence the Thanksgiving season and a magnificent piece of bravura wildlife art.