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.”

fullsizeoutput_e34

“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.

fullsizeoutput_e35

He scampered up the bluff and was gone.

What an amazing day! An eagle and a raccoon.

Random.

“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.

 

 

 

 

 

“All roads lead home”

Not necessarily true in all scenarios, but it’s a lovely thought–especially when it’s a text from the original Angel Boy.

Here’s the backstory:

I didn’t want to go the gym ‘cos it seems like everyone is sniffing, sneezing, or coughing, and I don’t want to get sick.

It was a beautiful sunny SoCal morning,  so I thought it’d be fun to try out my new hiking boots, spend a few hours out in nature and soak up the new growth sage-y fragrance blooming after our recent rains.

It is a fact that I have hiked this hill at least a hundred times. It is also a fact that when I go solo, I get lost 100% of the time. I don’t know why or how it happens, but I start out with a solid plan and by the time a couple hours has passed, I’m all turned around and can’t figure out where I am, how I got there, or how to get out.

One time I was lost until dark. I wouldn’t call for help and stubbornly walked until civilization emerged. However, I was fully prepared to sleep with my coyote family if necessary.

I don’t panic anymore. In my head, I say, “Well, Princess, it looks like we’re lost again. Let’s just enjoy the journey.” And then I laugh crazily to myself.

True to form, I got lost. Knowing that my DIL added me to the tracking GPS on her phone, she could be counted on for support if I was in real danger.

I texted my son, “Guess what, I’m lost again.”

He texts back, “All roads lead to home.”

Which wasn’t really helpful in my current dilemma, but it was awfully prosaic of him. (And snarky.)

After a couple of hours wandering around in an aimless pattern, I spotted two young boys riding their bikes. I asked them if they could point me in the right direction to get back where I started. They very kindly did (super nice that they didn’t start laughing at me) and I proceeded to follow their accurate directions.

Love my new hiking shoes, loved the hike, but glad to be back at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

Apparently, all of MY roads DO lead home. My Angel Boy is a genius.

Who can guess where I was? It’s embarrassing to admit how often I’m clueless up here.

fullsizeoutput_c6c

I can see snow! It was hazy today but that’s definitely snow.

59977429116__56076D84-3D26-4FE1-9380-3F966A05376C

Bright red toyon berries.

IMG_8590

Coyote scat and my awesome new hikers!

IMG_8594

Power plant off in the distance.IMG_8593

New cairns have arisen.

IMG_8589

I bet a lot of locals know where this is. Do YOU?

 

 

 

Planet Theo

“I will keep YOU safe, Grandma!” as he runs across the lawn and jumps in my outstretched arms.

“I will keep YOU safe, Theo-saurus!” “We’ll be safe together, how does that sound?”

And we laugh at our little joke, over and over again pretending to be afraid of the remote control dinosaur, a gift from Grandpa for his third birthday.

“I like it when T-Rex dances, but I SORTA don’t like it when he roars!”

“Are you afraid of him, Theo?”

“Not really, Grandma. He’s not scary to me. Well, at first, I was a little bit afraid, but not anymore.”

“Me neither, T.” I said, to affirm his bravery and courage in overcoming his fear of a twenty-four-inch tall walking, roaring, dancing Tyrannosaurus Rex.

******

I’ve delayed for almost a week writing my observations of the arraignment last week of the  suspects arrested in the murder of a local woman.

In my dreams, I can still see the faces of those two monsters charged with stabbing her more than fifty times in the face and head.

As a diversion, I’d rather focus on something beautiful and positive, just a brief respite from the reality of dark and disturbed people who made a decision that seems so senseless; so cruel.

Back to Planet Theo…

The world really does revolve around him, and like most toddlers, this is an important developmental milestone.

The normal human brain is designed by evolution to generate the egocentric illusion: the illusion that the owner of a particular brain is the center of the universe.

Egocentrism refers to the child’s inability to see a situation from another person’s point of view.

Reading about this reminds me of the time I spent post-BA when I was in the teacher training program at university and we studied this fascinating subject.

According to Jean Piaget, the Swiss biologist and psychologist, the egocentric child assumes that other people see, hear, and feel exactly the same as the child does

SENSORIMOTOR STAGE (BIRTH TO 2 YEARS OLD)

The infant builds an understanding of himself or herself and reality (and how things work) through interactions with the environment. It is able to differentiate between itself and other objects. Learning takes place via assimilation (the organization of information and absorbing it into existing schema) and accommodation (when an object cannot be assimilated and the schemata have to be modified to include the object.

PREOPERATIONAL STAGE (AGES 2 TO 4)

The child is not yet able to conceptualize abstractly and needs concrete physical situations. Objects are classified in simple ways, especially by important features.

CONCRETE OPERATIONS (AGES 7 TO 11)

As physical experience accumulates, accommodation is increased. The child begins to think abstractly and conceptualize, creating logical structures that explain his or her physical experiences.

FORMAL OPERATIONS (BEGINNING AT AGES 11 TO 15)

Cognition reaches its final form. By this stage, the person no longer requires concrete objects to make rational judgements. He or she is capable of deductive and hypothetical reasoning. His or her ability for abstract thinking is very similar to an adult. (https://www.learning-theories.com/piagets-stage-theory-of-cognitive-development.html)

As we grow from children to adults, we first separate and then individuate from our family of origin. Separation entails moving away, starting a career, and setting up a home. Individuation is the process by which we grow into our own authentic self. Individuation is detached observation of the behaviors and beliefs we learned as children.(https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-24867/the-single-most-destructive-factor-in-your-search-for-real-love.html

Most of us move through these stages as we get older; our brains grow, we individuate, we see ourselves as part of the whole, each piece synergistically interacting with others; we learn empathy. Some do not. Those with personality and/or character disorders become stuck somewhere in the early stages of development and never truly individuate.

Genetics and environment both seem to play a part in preventing certain children from growing or developing properly, hindering and sometimes even completely inhibiting the ability to maintain healthy adult relationship connections.

That’s why it’s vitally important to educate ourselves about how the brain works, how emotions develop, how play and make believe are critical building blocks to lay a sturdy foundation of trust, love, and safe boundaries.

OK, off my soapbox for now. Happy 3rd birthday to the one and only Theo-saurus and happy birthday to Daddy too, Here’s the post about his birth, thirty-eight years ago. I am so proud of the man he’s become. And soon to be daddy to #2, the princess of all princesses. I’m already drooling over frilly pink dresses and pink blankets.

img_7018

We went camping in the Anza Borrego desert to see the full moon. That’s the Sawtooth Mountains.

I don’t have many pics ‘cos I was too busy trying to keep up with Planet Theo. We saw California Quail, bunnies, and heard coyotes. Life is GOOD.

img_7016

At Agua Caliente County Park and Hot Springs.
Just a daddy and his sun son. Keeping him safe. Forever and ever.
My heart is overflowing. (And I’m EXHAUSTED lol)
Back home and one final surf sesh.
img_6995

An Afternoon’s Journey

I know other parts of the country are freezing, buried under a mountain of snow, but here in SoCal, it was about seventy-five degrees and sunny (don’t hate).

It was the perfect day for a hike in the back country to inhale sandy, dirty trails and think about setting positive intentions for 2018.

We drove for a couple of hours (to a secret spot) and started walking. As the sun rose to its celestial meridian, I started shedding layers.

Does this look like it could be a Native American bedrock metate?

BC1E5289-6A6F-4ACF-8B0A-EB8FDB201721

Beautiful fruiting manzanita; well, I think it’s manzanita…

7E75C37E-BCEA-40EF-B647-C72D74F46A89

We know it’s a going to be a great day when the trails are heavily strewn with coyote scat!

25692E36-ED6A-4712-B0BB-800571949720

And this remnant of a coyote or bobcat’s meal. Upon close inspection, it looks like part of a tail but I’m not too sure how it ended up perched on the dried grass.

873FAA18-94A5-47ED-88D8-F391BF381C76

Steep and rocky.

D89BFCD4-BAA4-4AB6-B213-E20D821989F3

Stopping for a snack and water, the perfect time to touch up dry lips with a little Chanel. I’m always prepared!

17031BA7-1EA7-46E4-9F13-325946A78109

Who says leaves don’t change color in Southern California?

C7278AD8-2356-4822-85A6-846C7A39CFD1

There’s really nothing more soul satisfying than exerting oneself physically until you’re bone tired and then eating a huge late lunch (with french fries) and feeling zero guilt about the amount of calories consumed!

#gratitude #nature #hiking #backcountry