Grackle logic

Today is not an easy writing day. I received positive feedback on my four opening chapters, including suggestions for increasing tension between my two main characters. As always, it’s valuable input from my Writing Roosters critique partners for which I am exceedingly grateful. However, I’m struggling to stay focused as I try to figure out which changes to tackle first. Each foray into the manuscript distracts me with “oh yeah, then I’ll also need to fix this and this and . . .”

October 12, 2016.

For some reason, this gathering of raucous grackles seems an appropriate image for the day.

Sunday Confessional: I’m in a glass house

There’s a pair of Black-capped Chickadees nesting in the trunk of the neighbors’ crabapple tree right outside our front fence, and they are frequent visitors to our feeders and bath. One of them (for some reason, I’m thinking the male) keeps landing on the fence to peck at the top of the slat.

Backyard. April 25, 2020.

As far as I know, there aren’t any bugs in that wood. I never see the chickadee come up with anything in his beak. It’s possible it’s a territorial thing, making a drilling sound to warn off other males. Or, maybe this bird’s into pointless, repetitive behavior that may or may not give him a headache. What a silly bird, right?

Then I thought of how I return, over and over again, to Twitter where I’m confronted, over and over again, with example after example of humans being ignorant, hateful, selfish, greedy, thoughtless, hypocritical, and more.

Obviously, I’m in no position to judge this chickadee for knocking his head against the fence.

Story in 3 parts

This funny little tale unfolded as I sat on the patio with my camera. I was too tired to continue gardening and hoped that focusing on something beside the thoughts in my head would improve my physical and emotional state.

       

It did. Not a lot, but some.

Twofer Tuesday

This photo is from earlier this month during a foray into the open space with my blanket and camera. It was taken from quite a distance and, at the time, I thought I was looking at two magpies. It wasn’t until  I downloaded my photos that I realized it was one Black-billed Magpie and one American Robin.

Open space. April 1, 2020.

In the majority of the pictures of these two, the birds face the same direction, as if their heads swiveled in unison. Magpies get a bad rap for aggression, so it’s nice seeing this peaceful coexistence.

Out my window

I can vouch for my Stay-At-Home household in Colorado: we are NOT amused by this snowstorm and the accompanying cold temperatures.

We need sunshine. We need warmth. We need dry streets and trails.

Waaaaaah.

Sanctuary

This afternoon I packed notebook, binoculars, camera, blanket, and camp chair, and walked up the street and out into the open space. I’m still not feeling great so only “hiked” a short distance before settling in. I spent that time outdoors doing much and also very little.

I sat in the chair and watched birds through the binoculars. I rested on the blanket in the sun, welcoming the heat baking into my black shirt. I explored the immedate area with my camera, jotted in my notebook, and eavesdropped on hikers talking on the nearby trail. When my stomach growled, I fantasized about snacks. I photographed the moon in the blue sky. I rolled onto my back to watch this uncharacteristically mellow Dark-eyed Junco in the tree above me.

Those two hours outside were balm for my soul. I’m very grateful for the luxury and ease of walking up my street and out into the open. Next time, I’ll know to bring something to eat.

Thoughts on a Magpie Monday

I woke with anxiety (in large part exacerbated by the reality of the corporate, political, and media establishment rallying around the candidate who’s campaigning against Medicare for All during a pandemic) and knew I had to do something. Pull the covers over my head and remain in bed all day? Or get up and get moving?

I wisely chose movement and for the first time in weeks, went for a run. Well, a walk/run. For once, I was kind to myself and didn’t berate myself whenever I slowed to a walk. I went out on the trails in the open space and within minutes, I saw a bunny under a bush. I greeted it as I chugged on by and then a few minutes later, I spotted a talkative magpie perched on the water tank.

Black-billed Magpie in neighbor’s yard. August 29, 2019.

I’ve become accumstomed to being the only human out on the trails, but today I encountered a total of ten people and three dogs. I hope that if they also woke with anxiety, that their time in the open space soothed their souls. I know it did me a world of good.

Chipping away

Bushtit , March 11, 2019.

As I work chapter-by-chapter to revise my manuscript, my task feels similar to that of this Bushtit. We both take aim and then chip away at what’s there. The difference is, this feathered friend gets a tasty treat for her troubles while my satisfaction comes from page count.

Maybe I should print out a page or two, and see how they taste . . .

Twofer Tuesday: House Finch edition

I took these photos on Valentine’s Day, but can neither confirm nor deny these two finches are partnered. All I know for sure is they are energetic birds that make me smile.

 

 

Other bird species come and go, but there isn’t a day that goes by without a House Finch or two (or twenty) paying a visit to my backyard. May that always be the case.

Understated beauty

Mourning Dove. February 14, 2020

A mourning dove’s beauty is an understated one: the colors of its feathers ranging through various shades of gray and drab violet, often with a striking splash of turquoise around the eyes.                                ~ Jonathan Miles

HA! As I looked through my photos and came upon this dove, I thought the same thing. Apparently, this Jonathan fellow and I think alike.

I believe

American Robin. February 14, 2020.

You have to believe in happiness,
Or happiness never comes …
Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing –
On his darkest day he believes in Spring.
~  Douglas Malloch

Sunday Confessional: the true image of my Self is sometimes pure chaos

Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed, the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed. ~ Indra Devi

House Finch. January 25, 2020

At noon today, I was getting focused and situated at my desk for the afternoon’s revisions when I received a text from a climate friend with a request that blew up those revisions plans. And guess what? I’m totally cool with that because sometimes To-Do lists are overrated.

Sometimes we gotta let in the spontaneity and chaos. Sometimes those elements are the purest reflection of my true Self.

Heart with song

December 16, 2019

The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense is his life, large-brained, large-lunged, hot, ecstatic, his frame charged with buoyancy and his heart with song.
~ John Burroughs

Blurred masterpiece

I went in search of a quotation, thinking I’d find one about how days can truly feel as if they passed in a blur. Instead, I found something much better. A quote that makes me laugh:

Western Scrub Jay. Dec 8, 2017

Photography is painting with light! The blurs, the spots, those are errors! But the errors are part of it, they give it poetry and turn it into painting. And for that you need as bad a camera as possible! If you want to be famous, you have to do whatever you’re doing worse than anyone else in the whole world. ~ Miroslav Tichy

 

I’m pretty sure I achieved that last line. Well, except for the fame part.

Celebrate, honor, and protect

When my friend Laura tipped me off to today’s significance, National Bird Day, I went in search of an appropriate bird photo. Oops. I could look at bird photos for a looong time. So many beauties to choose from. I forced myself to make a decision and settled on this dapper Blue Jay.

Clearwater, Florida. May 3, 2019

Birds are the canaries in the climate change coal-mine. Today and every day, I celebrate their existence. I can’t fathom a world without them. We must make big changes and quickly. #GreenNewDeal

Art’s crowning reward

House Finch. November 27, 2019

Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.            ~ Frederic Chopin