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The clock ticks. Has time passed?

“Clockbirds II – Turquoise-Browed Motmots” has landed in its new home in Washington state. This piece, inspired by a birdwatching trip to Costa Rica, is about the passage of time, which reminds me of Ruth Ozeki’s book “A Tale for the Time Being.”

“For the time being

Words scatter

Are they fallen leaves?”

― Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

“I am a time being. Do you know what a time being is?.... A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be.”

― Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

“Life is fleeting. Don't waste a single moment of your precious life. Wake up now! And now! And now!”

― Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

More musings:

"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like bananas." — Groucho Marx

“As the seconds pass, We look back At what our lives have held.”

— Jenni-Fiere M. Bivens

How the Motmot got its tail:

The name of the mot mot in Maya is toh, and it shows in local legends and traditions that according to one story, the Motmot liked to meet its royal companions and spent the day telling stories and eating insects while other birds worked.

He was such a beautiful creature and so proud of his shiny tail and plumage that it's made him arrogant and cocky.

One afternoon, when black clouds gathered on the horizon, the king vulture announced all the birds to a meet and they decided to build a shelter. Chujut the Woodpecker, Panchel the Toucan, Mox the Parrot and Xtut gathered wood, Baax the Chachalaca and Cutz the Wild Turkey carried the heaviest branches and the Hummingbirds collected grass, herbs and leaves for the roof.

Other birds collected fruits and seeds to bring them before the storm.

Only the Motmot refused to help and said he was an aristocrat, not a worker. When the storm broke, the Motmot found a crack in a stone wall that he thought would hide him well. He crawled in and went to sleep, not realizing his elegant long tail was still outside.

When the Motmot awoke later and emerged from its shelter to sing in the sun like the other birds. He was amazed to see that of his beloved tail only two ruffled and bare barbs with a small plumage were left at the end. The wind and the water had done their worst.

Horrified, he realized what a fool he had been. Pride soon overcame him and he decided to avoid his former companions for fear that they would mock him. He flew into the depths of the forest and dug a hole in which he hid to this day. He still holds for himself; Sitting on branches overlooking the cenotes, he swings his long tail incessantly like the pendulum on a clock.

"Clockbirds II - Turquoise-Browed Motmots" is a one-of-a kind original monotype and is no longer available. For a high quality giclée reproduction, contact me

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