Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rumors of Alligators

My backyard was teeming with wildlife this morning -- I had a rare glimpse of a beach rat that shares our premises. Our neighbors are appalled that we tolerate his presence, but I find him fascinating. He's rather cute -- he reminds me of an oversized chipmunk, without the stripe, and he and his offspring provide food for the herons and owls. I was truly upset when I saw a heron eat one once, but it is nature's way and I've learned to accept that. The beach rat leaves us alone and we reciprocate in kind.

As I walked out onto our dock, I startled a great blue heron that was wading beneath. He took flight with an indignant squwak and settled on the other side of the canal, regarding me with an annoyed ruffling of feathers. I apologized for having interrupted his breakfast, but couldn't help laughing all the same. With mullet jumping all around, I knew he wouldn't go hungry for long.

A sting ray, one of the larger ones I've seen lately, shot past just below my feet, overturning a small hermit crab in his haste to arrive at some unknown destination. I scanned the waters for other signs of life -- hoping to get a glimpse of the alligator that was spotted in our canal, but there was only the usual suspects -- the tiny pin fish that feed in the shallows and a trio of mullet swimming a tight circle.

Of course, I didn't capture any of it with my camera -- I am too slow, and life mostly too exuberant to smile and say cheese for a rank amateur. I do, however, have pictures I took a few days back of more sedentary neighbors -- a confederate rose that blooms out of season, a heron that perched on the top of our boat lift and was totally indifferent to my presence, and a view of our canal in the morning light.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ships and Boats and Things That Pass in the Night

I'm still playing with the new camera . . . and bemoaning every shot that gets away. These are boats that have sailed or chugged past, brought closer with the power of the telephoto lens. I really, really wanted to capture one of the tug boats at night -- all lit up like a floating Christmas tree -- but all I got were some blurry spots on a black background. I'll keep trying!

The sailboat . . .

the barge . . .

. . . the tug pushing the barge . . .

and the one that got away.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Neighbors

This morning as I went out to sing, I noticed that the Swiss chard that I grow in flower boxes was looking wilted, so I grabbed a watering can and filled it. It wasn't until I started sprinkling that I saw this little fellow:

But the little green guy was not my only surprise -- a male cardinal in all his crimson glory was perched on the wire enjoying the fresh morning breeze. Cardinals are a rare but very welcome sight in our part of the world:

I have been hearing this fellow for several weeks now, but this is the first look I've had:

I'm hoping to get a bit faster on the draw with this camera -- the pictures that got away were the best of all: the red-headed woodpecker in flight with his black and white striped wings stretched wide, the cardinal perched in the oak tree -- the red of his feathers vibrant against the green of the new leaves -- and the osprey that swooped just overhead. Sigh.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Morning Has Broken

Up until now, this blog has been mostly a soapbox -- someplace I could go rant into the Universe and on some level, be heard. But I am feeling the need, of late, to connect to this time and this place and to give thanks for the beauty that surrounds me.

Most mornings, I go out in my pj's and bare feet in the early morning light, and I sing to the world. I sing to the tiny, darting fish in our tea-colored canal, to the solid presence of the old oaks and to the stateliness of the young palms, to the purple martins, and mockingbirds, and blackbirds that flit and soar and fill the day with music, to the rising sun, to the fading moon, to the air that sustains us, to the water that surrounds us, to the color and beauty of the flowers that somehow manage to grow in our sterile white sand, and to all the creatures that share in the life of our planet. I sing in a quiet, croaky voice because I am no singer! But it doesn't matter what I sound like, what matters is the peace and joy that I find in the act of giving thanks and in the greetings that I offer to the day.

Today, I took my camera with me. It is a brand, spanking new camera with more knobs and menus and settings than I will ever understand, much less use. But it takes great pictures even when set to 'ignoramus.' These few images, these small fractions of the greater glory, are what I wish to share today. This is for You, Mother Gaia -- and to You, I send my love in deep gratitude for Your awesome and inspiring beauty.

Classical Interlude

The other day, I shared some of the gick that gets posted on my Facebook page, so today I'll share another of the good bits. The looks on all their faces was so sweet and wonderful that it made me cry. There is so much good out there . . .

Thursday, May 10, 2012

We Are Stardust

Trying to bring my blood pressure back down. This is a beautiful piece and as I watched, I felt something inside me shift:

Facebook Can be Hazardous to Your Health

I admit to being a Facebook junkie. The first thing I do each morning is make myself a cup of tea and log onto Facebook. I never know what I will find there -- if I'm lucky, it will be photos and videos of my two beautiful grandchildren, or news from an old friend. Most days, however, it is a collection of fascinating snapshots of our world -- literally, as in photos of the beauty around us -- or metaphorically, as in news, both hopeful and dire. There are stories of the devastation of Canada's boreal forests, or of man's cruelty to animals, or of the relentless exploitation of indigenous tribes that leave me horrified and heartsick. There are stories of great compassion, love, and change that leave me uplifted and hopeful. Two stories claimed me today -- and they are related.

The first was the outcome of the vote in North Carolina this week. Sixty-one percent of the voters in that state voted to amend their constitution to define legally recognized unions in the strictest of terms. NCmountainwoman had this to say on her blog:

As you might imagine, the opinion pages of the newspapers have been filled with comments. It is of interest that every single pro-amendment letter included the words "God" or "The Bible." Honest...I looked at each one. Every single pro-amendment television ad also included those words and many quoted scriptures. It's always useful to find a good sound bite and "Protect the Sanctity of Marriage" was a winner. . . .

My criticism is that religion should not have been the driving force in this vote. And it was. Our own church included "Vote Yes" literature in every Sunday Bulletin for the past two months. Most of the full-page advertisements supporting the amendment were paid for by religious groups.
Our next stop is a 'sermon' by Jesse Lee Peterson, a Tea Party activist and frequent guest on Fox News . . .

I leave it to you to connect the dots . . .

Based on my current blood pressure, it appears that my addiction to Facebook is beginning to impact my health, and not in a good way.

(On a side note . . . who in H*** does Rev. Peterson think these 'whores' and 'sluts' are having sex WITH? Obviously not with other women, or they would have no need of birth control. Okay, blood pressure just went up another point or two!)

Not the Only One

Ahh, so I'm not the only one . . .