To A Mockingbird

He sat for the longest time on a volunteer Brazilian peppertree. The original tree was removed because it’s an invasive species, but also resilient and obnoxious, an aggressive woody weed which displaces native vegetation and rapidly invades disturbed sites.

To A Mocking Bird

The name thou wearest does thee grievous wrong;
No mimic thou: that voice is thine alone.
The poets sing but strains of Shakespeare’s song;
The birds, but notes of thine imperial own.– Henry Jerome Stockard

#WordlessWednesday

A Tragedy: WOLVES DELISTED

As if 2020 couldn’t be any worse with Covid, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and oh, I don’t know, simply the death of our entire DEMOCRACY, THIS happened and I am truly distraught…

From my friend, Jamie Rappaport Clark, President of Defenders of Wildlife:

It’s a sudden and tragic end to what should have been one of the great wildlife comeback stories of all time. Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially stripped gray wolves in the lower 48 states of their federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

This ruthless decision leaves gray wolves at the mercy of states, some with increasingly hostile anti-wolf policies – even some where we’ve already seen wolves slaughtered. This isn’t over.

We’re taking this administration to court to defend gray wolves fighting for their lives. Will you help?  

Wolves need your help today. Please make your emergency donation to help fight back to save the lives of wolves and other imperiled animals!

We cannot and will not allow wolves to be abandoned, and their recovery to be cut off after decades of work.  Wolves occupy only 10% of their former range and need continued federal protection to fully recover. There are still vast areas of suitable habitat in the lower 48 states where wolves have not recovered, including Colorado. 

As recently as last year, a wolf spotted in Colorado brought a spark of optimism for the future of wolves in the Southern Rockies.  That hope could now be smashed. Delisting wolves is the wrong move at the wrong time. We’ve already seen a wave of violence as some anti-wolf states have allowed even more barbaric methods to trap, shoot and kill gray wolves – and things could get a lot worse for these wolves without our help. 
Give to Save Wolves
We’ll never stop fighting against anti-wolf extremists and politicians working to turn back the clock on wolf recovery. Today’s setback isn’t the end of the gray wolf story. 

If you agree, please consider pitching in to keep up efforts to save these wolves and protect them across their historic habitat.

Thanks for your compassion and your steadfast support for the wildlife we love.

On a personal note, I’ve been fighting to save and protect wolves pretty much my whole life and while we rejoiced when wolves were originally placed on the endangered species list, it didn’t stop the senseless murder of wolves and their families.

Check out some of my other wolf-related posts:
https://enchantedseashells.com/2013/11/26/saving-wolves/
https://enchantedseashells.com/2013/09/26/actress-jessica-lange-is-amazing-her-letter-in-defense-of-wolves/
https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/03/12/the-sad-song-of-the-wolf/

Hungry?

Just a hungry scrub jay hanging out on the deck. They LOVE raw peanuts. I still find a few empty shells hidden in the garden nine years later..

One of my favorite photos from September 2011.

First there was one, then another, and for a while, there were about four jays who hung out and let me hand feed them.

Did you know that scrub jays are very intelligent?

From Wiki: Recent research has suggested that western scrub jays, along with several other corvids, are among the most intelligent of animals. The brain-to-body mass ratio of adult scrub jays rivals that of chimpanzees and cetaceans, and is dwarfed only by that of humans. Scrub jays are also the only non-primate or non-dolphin shown to plan ahead for the future (known as metacognition), which was previously thought of as a uniquely human trait Other studies have shown that they can remember locations of over 200 food caches, as well as the food item in each cache and its rate of decay. To protect their caches from pilfering conspecifics, scrub jays will choose locations out of sight of their competitors, or re-cache caches once they are alone, suggesting that they can take into account the perspective of others. According to new research from the University of California @ Davis, scrub jays also summon others to screech over the body of a dead jay. The birds’ cacophonous “funerals” can last for up to half an hour.

#ThrowbackThursday 

One Tree: Two Hawks

From 2017 for #throwbackthursday

It was a great day to spend time in my garden with these two hawks. Do you know what they were looking at? Me, taking photos of them.

The Same Day I Saw a Bald Eagle and a Raccoon

fullsizeoutput_e33The eagle was sitting on that branch waiting for everyone to stop pointing at him so he could swoop down and take a better look at a huge dead fish that washed up on the shoreline.

My neck hurt because I couldn’t believe that I was actually in the presence of an eagle, my very first ever sighting, and I wouldn’t look away until he was gone.

Now I can cross that off my mental list….I’ve seen wolves and mountain lions and bears and of course, my favorite: coyotes.

Not all at the same time, but these are the special pearls in my necklace of life experiences, memories strung together since most of them happened so fast and were such brief encounters that I didn’t have time to take photos.

I wish I had brought my big lens in addition to my iPhone, but it’s good enough as it captured the special moment.

These are admittedly crappy photos, but it’s most definitely a Bald Eagle. I know they’re considered a nuisance in parts of Alaska, but this wasn’t a common occurrence at this location. I didn’t even try to look for an eagle feather because I’m aware that under the current language of the Eagle Feather Law, “unauthorized persons found with an eagle or its parts in their possession can be fined up to $250,000.”

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“There’s a raccoon. Look at that!”

I thought he was joking because it was the middle of the day and we were on a sandy beach so I continued to keep my head down to look for seashells.

“LOOK!”

When I finally looked up, there he was.

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He scampered up the bluff and was gone.

What an amazing day! An eagle and a raccoon.

Random.

Was it a lucid dream or a visit from beyond?

I don’t know if it’s caused by all the current planetary behavior (as above, so below) but lately my dreams have been excruciatingly real and detailed. Some of them are so vivid that I’m able to retain enough of them to journal before they disappear like a mirage in a puff of ephemeral smoke.

Anyway…

THIS particular dream went beyond the limits of what my brain can comprehend. (If goose bumps and hair standing up on your arms is any indication)

I was exhausted but satisfied by the completion of a tough garden project, replanting a flowerbed from where I had moved about 150 pounds of white rocks. What once was a cool mini desertscape had devolved into a tangled mess of climbing aloe and not very happy succulents and cacti. I removed them all, raked up the truckload of small white rocks that were all dirty and sad looking, and planted Bird of Paradise and Clivia I dug up from another part of the garden. Both have orange-y flowers and will look so pretty against the house.

The next day was going to be full of stress and anxiety because oral surgery was scheduled and I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. Thinking about the impending pain triggered all kinds of panicky ruminations.

I must have fallen asleep when I felt Bandit, my cat, jump on me, landing hard like she would do to wake me up (she was the real princess around here), and she curled up next to my stomach just like she always did, and I actually put my hand out to pet her and that’s when I freaked out and woke up.

Bandit spent her nights sleeping with me; most often would end up under the covers near my feet.

Nothing too strange about that, right? That’s what cats do.

Only…

OMG. The fact of the matter is that this is 2020 and Bandit went over the Rainbow Bridge in 2010 from complications due to chronic renal failure.

Bandit has been dead for ten years. She was thirteen-years-old when she died.

IT WAS SO REAL.

I looked at the clock. It was 3:00 a.m. I was now completely awake; my heart was racing. I never could get back to sleep. I still felt the warmth of her body, the silky feel of her fur tickling my arm. I felt her presence and it was REAL. I miss that little girl so much. I really really need her love and her comfort.

Was I in a lucid dream state or did Bandit really and truly visit me from beyond?

All I know is that I was so stressed when I was at the surgeon’s office today,  I  hyperventilated and my blood pressure was too high, so I started to visualize my beloved Bandit and it brought down my BP almost immediately. She was able to offer comfort even though she’s no longer physically on this earth. Her love for me transcended everything that my logical mind has a hard time comprehending.

Have you ever experienced a dream like that?


Lucid dreaming is when you’re conscious during a dream. This typically happens during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the dream-stage of sleep. During a lucid dream, you’re aware of your consciousness.

My darling Bandit.

“Dear Deer, I’m so very sorry.”

In the blink of an eye. 

It’s true. You never know when the unexpected will occur.

We get up in the morning, drink our coffee and make plans for the day. Those plans NEVER include an auto accident or other unforeseen catastrophe.

I love to make lists:

-Traders for tofu, coffee, ginger tea…
-Go to the nursery
-Pick up prescription
-TJ Maxx
-Dentist @11am

Nowhere on any list does anyone ever pencil in, “be involved in a freak accident on a mountain road”. Or is that just me? Maybe a fatalist WOULD include that in a daily schedule. I dunno…maybe now I will.

I wasn’t the driver so I was literally paying zero attention to the road.

I was looking at all the photos I took and remembering how I got altitude sickness on the way up the twisty windy road and vomited everywhere (ick), but now we were relaxed and dusty and exhausted but happy to be heading back home after a few days of camping and hiking where we saw lots of deer and other animals.

I was startled to hear, “Oh, shit!” and the car swerved a bit and then we felt two large bumps that tossed us about and a large crash.

We pulled over to the narrow shoulder on the two-lane highway. Doing a quick triage, I determined that everyone was unharmed.

I turned around and saw a large piece of a car that we had apparently smashed into, but didn’t see a car. At that moment, a highway patrol car pulled up about fifty feet behind us. I ran out of the car and flagged down the patrolman. Fortuitously, he had been driving that way as part of his routine.

That’s when I saw it.

The deer.

The poor dear deer.

The poor dear dead deer.

When I wasn’t paying attention, this was how the scenario unfolded.

A deer ran across the road, the big truck in front of us hit the deer which caused his front bumper to fall off. That horrible man kept going; he never even stopped. The impact must have killed the deer instantly. We were unable to avoid hitting it as there was traffic all around and nowhere to go. So the two bumps we felt was us running over the already dead three hundred pound deer.

The patrolman said that was the third one that day. (There are lots of deer and not enough natural predators.)

Our vehicle was pretty messed up but it still ran and was OK to drive the rest of the way home but it was in the shop for three weeks.

After the poor dear deer was moved to the side of the road, I kneeled down and petted his head and told him how very sorry I was that he died.

I guess the moral of the story is that you never know when something bad is going to happen. As much as I like to predict all outcomes, sometimes it’s not possible to gaze in a crystal ball and see the future.

Honestly though, what kind of a horrible person hits an animal and doesn’t stop???

Out of respect for the deceased, I won’t post a pic of him, but here are other deer enjoying life.

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate the life and death of a gentle mourning dove

What does it mean to see a dove?

“The dove represents peace of the deepest kind. It soothes and quiets our worried or troubled thoughts, enabling us to find renewal in the silence of the mind. … The dove’s roles as spirit messenger, maternal symbol and liaison impart an inner peace that helps us to go about our lives calmly and with purpose.” (http://www.pure-spirit.com/more-animal-symbolism/602-dove-symbolism)

Walking up the steps to the third level in my garden, I came upon this sad sight, a pile of dove feathers. It was obviously the work of one of our resident hawks.

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As I mourned the loss of the mourning dove and pondered on the circle of life, I thought I should gather the feathers and create something to honor this little bird’s life.

It’s been quite a while since I felt crafty, but I found my beads and shells along with a perfectly delicate piece of latticed wood that I had brought back home from my last camping trip. I plugged in my trusty glue gun and got to work.

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Almost finished. Now I need to figure out how to hang it up. Delicate and sweet, just like the sad, plaintive song of the dove.

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The completed project.  I LOVE the way the feathers create their own shadow on the wall.

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Sleep softly in the breeze, little one.

 

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Birds of North America online

Cats, Rats, and Bats

Sorry, no pics to share ‘cos the video is grainy and black and white, but these were my three visitors last night at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

In that order. The first video shows a cat sitting on the steps, looks to be dark gray and I’ve seen him before. The next is of a very large rat running down the steps, and the third one is a bat flying directly across the camera lens.

It sounds like it could be the start of a joke…”A cat, a rat, and a bat walked into a bar…” (Although I have no idea what kind of a punchline to write. Maybe Mrs. Maisel or Suzie could help.)

Or a children’s book, “The Tall Tale (Tail) of the Cat, the Rat, and the Bat”,

Or as Theo would say, “Grandma, that rhymes!”

Since I don’t have any decent pics of last night’s guests, here’s our beloved Bandit who ruled us all for thirteen years before she died of chronic renal failure.

The bat is from one of my favorite books, Stellaluna, by (my friend) Janell Cannon.

Image result for stellaluna

And the rat, well, this gif says it all…

(There were no coyotes this time, but I’m happy to report that I’ve been seeing TWO beautiful creatures in the garden, which is awesome as coyotes mate for life. I would be even happier if one day they brought some little ones to visit. It would be a dream come true. I could be their grandma, too!)

Sometimes it’s what you don’t see

Right this minute, there’s nothing to see here except for a fence and a pine tree.

Not a bad view as far as views go, but it’s what happened seconds BEFORE I snapped this pic that makes it memorable.

For me; sadly, not for you.

So it’s a memory stored somewhere in my hippocampus and now hold on a sec, I need to save this draft and swiftly do some research to make sure I’m right.

OK, I’m back and here’s what Google taught me…

Deep inside the medial temporal lobe is the region of the brain known as the limbic system, which includes the hippocampus, the amygdala, the cingulate gyrus, the thalamus, the hypothalamus, the epithalamus, the mammillary body and other organs, many of which are of particular relevance to the processing of memory.

I’m right; memories are stored in the hippocampus.

Use your imagination because I’ll try to explain what you didn’t get to experience:

In the photo, if you pretend you can see what you can’t see, the bottom of the fence that you can only see about half of, there’s a potting table.

I was standing there planting lavender that I had propagated myself. I’ve been doing that for years with a decent amount of success, and it was time to birth another lavender baby.

I wasn’t making a lot of noise, but I wasn’t quiet, either…I was fully immersed in the whole procedure, enjoying the blueblue sky and eighty-five degree weather.

There was a cooling mug of ginger tea next to me and next to that was my phone.

I looked up as two doves flew out of that pine tree.

At almost precisely that same exact time. a HUGE redtailed hawk (who must have been stalking the doves) perched himself on the the fence.

He was LITERALLY INCHES AWAY FROM ME.

I mean, if I had longer arms, I could have reached out and touched his beautiful feathers.

REALLY REALLY.

His golden eyes looked right at me and they widened, as if he was surprised-like WTF human–but he wasn’t nearly as astonished as I was. I froze. We stayed that way, eye to eye, gazing at each other for an eternity of probably less than five seconds before he launched himself off the fence and flew away. There was no fear, simply the connection between the hawk and myself.

It was a MOMENT.

I am not at all kidding; to look into the mystical magical gaze of a hawk and see the recognition that he was trying to make sense of the encounter as much as I was–is HUGE.

Moment-ous. Important.

Regretfully, no pics to share. But I’ll never ever forget the way he looked at me. Eye to eye.

I read that November 11, 2018 is a memorable time in this Universe. If you believe in things like this, it’s SIGNIFICANT.

And I believe that my hawk experience was significant, too. And if not, it was so so beautiful and made me happy and joyful and grateful. All good stuff.

Happy Sunday, y’all!

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