Monday, November 21, 2005


This morning while watering the gardens the jays came in for snacks. The dish feeder had left over corn, peanuts, sunflower seed, and millet from yesterday and the birds were making due. As one lighted on the side of the dish feeder I watched as he selected a corn kernel and hopped further up in the cedar branches. The tree is barren of greenery for the most part so I was able to watch closely.

I thought he has swallowed the kernel but he had just been holding it. He placed it between his feet and began pecking at it until it broke into pieces. As he tilted his head back to swallow a piece, I saw it--his breath. It plumed out of his throat lazily and drifted about his head. He looked at me standing there mouth wide open--awed.

While I found a picture of a redwing blackbird singing and his warm breath stirring on the cool breeze, I have never been close enough to see it first hand.

Later on as the day warmed, the doe group grazed nearby. I walked out to check the mail and one doe moved close as I regarded the gardens. I went in and put birdseed in a bucket and laid it out in several small piles for her and her sisters to snack on. She approached me and I recognized her as the girl that entirely enjoyed the halloween pumpkins the boys threw in the yard for the deer to eat. One evening after dark I went outside only to see her devouring the inside of a pumpkin half, front feet holding down the rind.

Today one doe was constantly run off by her. I wonder about why the outcast hangs around if she doesn't get to share in finds. As she lurked behind the other two, her nose shined in the sun. I wondered if it were cold and was instantly taken back to the days at Wildlife Rescue of feeding hungry orphaned fawns this past spring. They weren't as hungry for food as they were the touch of warm skin. They licked and sucked any skin they could find be it leg, arm, even chin and nose. I think that goes for mammal babies across the board--there is inherent need for skin contact. Breastfeeding is so brilliant.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Still a Mystery to Me

Minutes after I opened the door to let the cats out I heard an agonizing yowl. I rushed to the door and listened. It came again and I slowly walked to the van. Beneath, Rosie was twice her size, growling, hissing, and looking above her. Betsy walked towards the van, cautiously and beginning to fluff out. She too looked startled. Rosie screamed again, hissed, and still wasn't sure which way to run, or to run at all.

On my hands and knees. Nervous cats surround me. I strain to see into the darkness that is the transmission of my van, and can't see a thing. I rush to open the hood and can't move the latch. Finally, I open the hood in time to see a tiny black kitten, wide-eyed and wanting no help from me.

He wound his way back down through the engine towards the ground and hestitated for only a second. During this time I want to grab the tip of his tail, the only part of him that is showing. With one more scream he's off, a black blur, straight to the chain link fence. He hits the fence wrong, bounces back, shakes his head, then proceeds through the tiny diamond. Across the neighbor's yard to the bushes. I jump their gate and run towards the bushes, bare footed across nearly dead grass.

From his tiny size I guessed he's maybe 3months old if that. And just where did he come from? I left early this morning, pulling out of the garage and away from the house around 7:30am. I dropped Lillie off at school, grabbed a latte, and headed to Kendalia, where I parked the van until nearly 1pm. I drove to Blanco for lunch, came home, showered, picked up Lillie from school, and straight back home. The incident happened just after Lillie and I were home.

I looked for the kitten in the bushes and headed around to their back yard, where 3 large dogs lay asleep. I couldn't imagine a kitten going that far--he would most certainly end up dead. The neighbor came around the front side of the house after I rang the doorbell and helped me look for the kitten after I told him the story. He got a good look at the kitten behind their pool pump and said the kitten was shaking and looked scared.

He dashed one more time towards my end of the bushes and when he saw me he darted towards the pool. I held my breath--not in the water! Then right behind that thought I figured if he did go swimming I would definitely be able to catch him then. He skirted the pool and dodged under the shed. The end of the chase.

Not long after, I watched him head towards the neighbor's house one more time. I jumped the fence and tried to cut him off as he darted down to the dry creekbed and the treeline.

My question is this--where did he come from and how did he end up in my engine???!!!

*Update 30 Oct 05
I have seen the kitten again in the neighborhood. He seems to like the back yard area of a neighbor up the street--the same yard that the kitten from a previous story (that had to be put to sleep) was found. I wonder if he is a litter mate. He is well and seemingly happy living as a young feral kitten.
I suppose it can be said he was roaming our front yard when the cats were let out and his only recourse was the engine of the van.
The mystery seems to be solved, and I'm glad that it is--can you imagine thinking you drove across 3 counties with a kitten in your engine??!!!

Monday, October 24, 2005


No one knows where he came from or how he got there. All that is known is that the guy that hit him was going just 60mph. Enough speed to send the animal flying 15 feet and break off one antler.

The 'accident' happened at 4am and here it was 11:45am the same day. I had loaded up the kids to surprise them for lunch and slowed with the traffic to gawk at what was going on at the side of the road. There was a remote news van, several trucks, and one truck with a trailer pulled near the fence. I read the sign on the side of the truck and immediately pulled over--our local wildlife rescue organization was on the scene.

As I was walking back towards the truck, a police officer pulled up beside me in his cruiser wanting to know what I was doing, cautioning me to leave and be careful because they'd already had several near-miss wrecks from people slowing down. I told him I was a volunteer and was going to see if they needed help. At that time, Suki walked over and asked if I had been called to help and I explained that I had just been driving by. She then told me about the animal that had been injured--a cudu (a very large member of the antelope family). She led me over to where he was. A huge being was laying on his side. Sand colored and majestic. His hide was covered in slashes, cuts, and punctures. One horn looked to have been torn off and was a bloody stump. The other spiraled in cypress grey. His eyes were wide even though he was sedated and blood had poured out of his nose and mouth and had splattered over the ground and surrounding grasses. He looked to be built very chest heavy while his hips were slimmer... no doubt his weight would show about 500-600 pounds.

I can only guess at what his thoughts were--surrounded by people, voices, and all matter of vehicular sounds, all entirely foreign and by nature he was supposed to get away. Now he wasn't able to as sedation was setting in and planning on how to transport him to the sanctuary ensued.

I stayed to help in whatever capacity I could while Forrest and Lillie made due in the van. Eventually, David brought out ropes and tying of the legs of the cudu began. Care was of utmost importance and everyone went quiet. Legs were tied, then a rope around the horns was next. The cudu's head was covered to alleviate any more shock. That rope was fed to the trailer.

Eventually, after what seemed like hours of pulling, pushing, grunting and replanning; and with the help of WRR personnel, David and his assistant, myself, two police officers, and a helping passerby, we finally got him into the trailer.

He was taken to the sanctuary and the plan was to release him of his bindings and be allowed to exit the trailer on his own. There was a fear of a broken left front leg, so x-rays while he was still sedated and medications to give were planned for.

My last glimpse was of the trailer going north headed to the sanctuary. My prayers of healing and huge hopes for recovery followed.

Sadly, the cudu died not long after arriving at WRR. He was able to exit the trailer on his own and was able to see he was in a safe environment, but his injuries and shock were just too much for his system.

I am so saddened that this animal, this majestic animal, who by birthright should be browsing and grazing the plains and brush of eastern and southern Africa, was slain in an environment so removed from his native habitat. He was a victim many times over--of the exotic animal trade that stocks 'ranches' with these animals so that "hunters" can shoot, eventually kill, and mount their heads as trophies. He was a victim of a driver with NO ability to drive safely at 4am. That stretch of roadway is well lit and to not be able to miss a 600 pound animal is neglect in any realm.

I am also saddened that the only way I was able to see this animal was because, like so many other animals, he had been hit by a car.

So tragic and so terribly wrong.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Garden Companion

She doesn't even know she isn't human. Maybe she does but doesn't really care. Whatever the case, she makes my time working in the clinic gardens so much more interesting than they would be without her.
The other black vultures float on the hill country winds high above the sanctuary as many as 25 in a kettle. Every once in awhile she will tilt her head and watch them circle but seems to have no desire to join them.
She has joined me the last several times I have gardened. One time I was working on the now defunct sprinkler system and her curiosity got the better of her. As the water only trickled out of the top of one of the spouts, I patted the water in order for her to see what I was doing. She lumbered over and began to grab at the water with her bill, not to drink, but to play--vultures play.
She was interested in the water as long as I played with her. As I moved about in the gardens, she followed to see what I would be doing next. Most of the time she just watched, or stayed in the shade with wings spread wide open to cool herself. There's nothing like seeing a black vulture up close and personal with their wings spread wide.
As a feather collector I have learned over the years to recognize where a feather came from by sight. To see the feathers on a live bird and where each resides was a secret look into the life of a feather for me.
I really like my new gardening companion.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


What I learned hanging with the turkeys:

*One word, "Stately"

*Use your best 'lovey' eyes when circling a prospective mate

*Always look your best even when molting

*Make sure to walk with determination

*Chrrrr appropriately

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


The morning sun wasn't even up yet. We were standing with the boys on the driveway waiting for their buses to come around the corner. Niles told of a hummingbird he could see in the texas sage bush. Amazing that he could see in such dim light.

Standing in front of the 6' bush, pale sunlight behind, I could see who he was talking about. But it wasn't a hummingbird but a hummingbird moth, aka hawk moth: the White-lined Sphinx. Its wings whirred and hit foliage as it landed on each fragrant lavendar flower.

After the boys left on their buses and all was quiet, I stood as close as I could to the flowers. The moth visited each flower, opened or not, long probiscus probing for nectar. As he moved nearer, the breeze from his wings covered my face in coolness.

The sun was becoming brighter and the moth's activity seemed to grow more frantic. He visited the same cluster of flowers several times, hitting nearly opened buds audibly with his front legs, trying to pry them open.

Finally, he disappeared into the morning and left me standing there smiling. I had been kissed by a dawn transient.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Trial Run

I sat there trying to crack a joke.

What else could I do--bright lights in an office that I was unfamiliar with, unfamiliar people walking the halls and talking in whispers, posters on the bulletin board that spoke of the hazards of the job: first picture depicting a speed boat and smiling people; the second, a frazzled fuzzy chihuahua with watering eyes...

And then he asked me what I wanted them to do.

It began with a phone call--as most things in this lifetime do and will. I was driving to the sanctuary, head filled with all matter of joyous activities I could begin and finish with my first day free of kids as school had begun. Tackling the garden by the nutrition center was going to be my first stop; second stop would be the gardens at Lynn's office. I knew she would hate my trimming the privet and abelia but they had gotten entirely too friendly with passersby with long, reaching branches that touched bellies and bottoms in passing. Finally, I would try to make it to the clinic gardens.

The call was from Misty. Her voice sounded tense and business like--not the friendly "what doin'?" kind of call. Immediately I was concerned--she never calls during the day because of work.

"Dad's missing." she said. Maybe she said more but that's all I heard. I pulled to the side of the narrow back road.


She then began the story of dad not being heard from since Monday (this was Wednesday). My heart began a new beat--one surrounded with fear; my spirit fled my chest towards the hill country, reaching for Daddy, heading northwards, exploding in all directions.

Leaving the sanctuary I screamed to God, "you can NOT have my daddy right now", over and over. Anger flooded my head and body. "Not today, not now, NOT NOW NO!!!!!"

Eventually, after making numerous phone calls, getting to town and asking those who know dad when was the last time they saw him and heading back to his office, it was time to go to the police. The city police couldn't do anything as he lives in the county, so I ended up at the county sheriff's department, in Bob Sloan's office.

Bob was tall, bald, and walked like a seasoned professional. He was intimidating but had kind eyes. Sitting in his office, I told him what I knew about dad and that the concern was his heart and that something had gone wrong.

Information was needed to begin the missing person's report--a 'welfare check'. Birth date? Who could do math under these circumstances... mom was 24 when she had me, dad was 4 years older than she was at the time, I'm 42... hell, I didn't know... we guessed as closely as we could and Deputy Sloan went to another office to see what he could find on dad.

I put my head down in my hands to take some deep breaths, trying not to cry, wishing I wasn't there.... Deputy Sloan walked back in, tapped me on the shoulder saying "C'mon, sit up, everything's going to be ok."

Needing to know what car dad was driving, we had to go back to dad's office. Rummaging through his desk, we found papers from the other cars on the lot but not what he was driving. Another officer arrived and helped me by going through the file cabinets.

Frantic by this time, almost overwhelmed, sweating, almost cursing, a man runs up and says "Didn't Carol tell you? Your dad is with my dad." We all came to a stand still, looked at the guy, mouths open. "No, no one has told us anything."

Calling the man's father's cell phone, dad got on the line, "What's up honey." Maintaining calm, I said, "Dad, I want you to know I have the county sheriff's department out looking for you." He chuckled. He had gone with his friend to a car auction in Abeline. It let out late, so they decided to stay and come back early today. He didn't think anything of it.

He asked where I was. "In your office..." was all I could say. Chuckling, he said, "Why honey, if I knew you were going to visit, I would have stayed home."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Real Story

The kitten was maybe 2 weeks old, at the outside--her blue eyes were just opening to view the world in all of its glory.
She was solid black with a tiny white spot on her tiny neck. Her hands were big--I wondered who her father was... the big black tom with ripped ears and a neck like a lineman? Her fur wasn't sleek or shiny, quite the opposite, it was dull from the lack of care. Her mother had been scared off 4 days ago when the neighbor's dog found the mama cat's nest in the pile of debris beside her house. The same dog I've chased down the street with a baby cotton tail in her mouth; the same dog I've chastised for several springs about hurting baby rabbits. This time the dog killed the other litter mates and left this one because she had been interrupted.
The wound the dog left on this kitten may not have proved to be fatal if it had been noticed 4 days ago. Apparently a nice sized chunk was taken from the hind leg. Since the kitten was so young, the wound infected quickly and by the time I looked at her this afternoon, maggots were busily eating through to her stomach cavity.
I held the kitten as I sped to the vet's office, driving with my knees. I couldn't allow her last moments alive to be the inside of a shoe box in darkness. She smelled septic. Her cries were weak but still she cried--for her mother, for her siblings, for life. She quieted when I spoke gently to her and rested one paw on my fingertip while her chin rested on my hand. I rested my lips on top of her wild fur, smelling deeply past the infection to the world in which she was born--earth, grasses, limbs from trees, brush, wind, rain, sunshine, warmth from her mother, cat milk and kitten purrs... a lot has happened in the last two weeks around here and her fur told the story, one I could vaguely decipher.
We were ushered back into a room as soon as I walked into the vet's office. I told of her declining situation and that I needed to make sure that euthanasia was the right choice, so we waited for Ann.
The first thing Ann noticed when she walked in was the kitten's mouth partially open to breathe--I had been praying that the kitten would peacefully leave before anything else happened and I could see the kitten's breaths come slower and the clicking in her lungs that I could hear signaled to me that the end was near. Just not near enough. Then the kitten's grey gums--a sure sign of shock and a host of other things that aren't conducive to well being.
Ann spoke of how the kitten was nestled in my hands knowing that she was being taken care of and loved even if it was just for a short time. That's when I began to cry. It was little comfort to be complimented for being kind.
I showed Ann the wound and she jumped back in shock--there was no way the kitten could live through a wound as septic as the one she had with as many maggots that infested the kitten's little body.
So I said one last prayer and kissed the kitten's head as Ann carried the kitten away. She assured me that the kitten wouldn't feel any pain any longer.
I left crying.

For several days I've been thinking of writing a eulogy for the cedar tree and others that were mown down earlier last week. The mower came early one morning and I had to be at the opposite side of the house so I couldn't hear the destruction of life. Grassy clumps that have (and could still be) housed jack rabbits, cotton tails, and numerous birds were being eliminated without a thought. I had the boys canvas the lot before the mower could start to scare anyone that was currently living in the area. They reported mama cottontail ran.
I walked the lot after the mowing, looking for any injured or dead bodies. I found nothing but the agave Brent had planted last fall had been mown. I replanted the pup that grew nearby and put limbs around it in case they came mowing again. They left the trunk of the cedar but the arms and limbs they carried a little ways off, left to die, cedar scent on the air. I saw they took a buckthorn with the cedar tree... and the young mesquite and native mimosa we've talked of years of transplanting to our side. The huge drift of horehound is gone as are the random colonies of prickly pear.
Within all of the loss, the wrens have brought their family to raid the downed branches for bugs and so have the mockers. I have seen the mocker kids scramble through the limbs chasing after one of the parent mockers. So, within that death, there is life--even new life.
I am saddened that the tree will not longer afford safe hiding for newbord fawns. I can't count the number of fawns that have been bedded in the protection of that huge cedar. Many wrens have eaten well and courted successfully within the arms of that tree. Hummingbirds have rested by the handsfull in the heat of summer. Kingbirds have fought over the invisible territory lines that crisscross this area. Mourning dove and white wing dove have dived through the branches of that tree, fleeing from a sharp shinned hawk bent on dove for a meal.
I promise to remember that cedar's life of service, no matter the bad publicity its kind receives. I know the real story.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Watering the gardens in the 103 heat, I water in the orange esperanza and a waft of sweetness passes over me. Where does it come from? I look at the rain filled clouds coming this way and try to descern the direction of the wind, then follow the breezes backward towards the scent. Faintly sweet, definitely a presence, I wondered who is thinking of me.
I have always subscribed to a fragrance reminding me of someone, or perhaps it's a silent message to me that someone is thinking of me.
Who would this be thinking of me--it's an oddly sweet but antique fragrance, full of depth, possibly some form of sweet water scent, like right after a rain; of antique lace doilies that you sometimes find in good flea markets or in someone's elder relative's home... beautiful cotton tatting in short waves, connecting to one another, darkened only slightly by time and loving admiring hands...
Brent's departed grandmother Amelia? She has always remained close since she left almost 10 years ago. Now that we have her amoire I feel she is a constant part of the family--I look into the mirror on the front of the piece of furniture and while I am taller than the mirror, I try to imagine her tiny self, all 4' 2", dressed for the day, a special occaision, or a walk out to her roses in the back yard. I only knew her towards the end of her magnificent life but wish I knew her stories of coming to this continent at 15, alone, leaving her family in Poland, and eventually establishing her family here. Without her, there'd be no family of my own.
I continue to water the esperanza, the red crepe myrtle still in full bloom, and on to the daisies that I transplanted from the west side of the house. They've begun to settle in though are laying around as if the all day full sun and heat have done them in. I tell them to get used to it and quit complaining. They are full sun plants and their counterparts in the fenced garden are something to see, standing proud and blooming tall.... then I find many seedlings of the ever present echinacea plant that is a full 4' tall this year. She is definitely statuesque and doesn't realize her height will warrant a mid winter move to the back of the garden, to replace the white salvia behind her, making room for something oh so exciting--I don't know what that would be right now, but I never lack for plants in the spring.
The rain is coming, drops are now falling intermittantly and the wind is picking up. I roll the hose onto itself and rush to the front yard to grab the towel for laundry, barely making it to the front door before getting soaked.
Later, after the rain has passed, I walk out back and grab the black cohosh in its own container in the prickly garden and much to my amazement, there is the scent--the kidneywood is in full bloom, sharing her scent and happiness. She is flowered at the end of every single branch and I am not her only admirer--the bees are out in force foraging and stealthly attending to each minute flower.
I inhale deeply and remember my first introduction to her--I was working at a nursery in Austin, barely pregnant with Niles, and the store had received a shipment of plants. Another coworker and I made a display right up front of the blooming kidneywood. I swore then and there that when I was able, I would make sure to make sure to include her in my future gardens.
And now I have 2. The deer used to browse her to the bones before all of the dogs, and now that we have what some would consider a pack, the deer rarely approach the yard.
The kidneywood beside the back porch isn't blooming as well as the one in the eastern garden. Seems she's pouting for some reason--could be the rampant peach looking plant that's using her as an arbor.
This morning, after the rains, the fledged wrens are calling for family out back, the fledged mocker kids are still begging from mama, and the cardinal males is a red flash of brightness in the dark green oak leaves.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Early Staging

Coming home this afternoon, trying to beat the rain, we encountered a huge family event. On the telephone lines above the driveway, Niles and I counted at least 52 martins. Males, females, juvys, fledglings... everyone was excited about the rainfall and were busily preening and talking. It was incredible.

Looking out back, at least 5 more martins were perched on the house with several more flying about. Both babies had their heads sticking out watching and listening to all of the activity. Walking out just now to try and get a picture of them I found their apartment empty--hence the huge family reunion. They had fledged.

I have noticed every milestone this little family has had is finalized with huge familial support. Their first attempts at a family were met with disaster. I found burst eggs in the garden twice--the starlings were particularly vicious and finaly left the second time I pulled their nests from the apartments. I yanked the sparrow nests too (much to the delight of the dogs) but chose to let them rebuild as the martins didn't seem to be bothered by their overachieving nestbuilding.

I knew when the first nestling hatched as the extended family appeared one morning and circled the martin house for half an hour then disappeared. A week later, the same thing--25 martins circling the martin house making a huge racket. I could only sumrise the thought of a celebration as that seemed to be the only time they would visit.

And now they've come and gone, another milestone in the life of a martin. I wish I had kept better tabs on incubation etc... but I figure the professionals have done that.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Evening Watering

Everything in the gardens looks wilted--the comfrey in the front gardens was nothing but a heap of dark brown leaves with great wilted stalks that used to support clusters and falls of the lightest pink belled flowers. I'm very happy though that the st john's wort has decided that the alkaline soil here isn't truly all that bad and green leaves are beginning to develop to replace the chlorotic yellow ones from early spring.
I noticed everything looked weakened and scanned the gardens--the butterfly weed were both (yellow and orange) wilted; the mexican firebush were both wilted and the crepe myrtle, trying to bloom lavendar, decided that flowering without enough water was a waste of energy and therefore pulled back on the blooming.
I scanned the rosemary that never seems bothered by anything--cold or heat, and my eyes settled on the olive tree. My mother's day gift from 4? 5? years ago, it is now a hearty 7' tall and full of grey oval leaves. Loads of branches arching downward. Drought tolerant. The dogs have dug a depression on the east side of the trunk and try as I might by raking the dislodged dirt back into the indention and watering it in, they always seem to be able to dig it out again before I can re-rake.
Just then, a pair of bewick's wrens land on the chain link fence giving me time to see in the western setting sun, spider webs that inhabited the diamonds of the chain link. As they called to me I recognized the voice of a youngster and an adult--mother and daughter? They both descended to the dirt and proceeded to take dirt baths, sweeping the sand up and over their back with their wings. They continued their conversation even as I strained to watch through the ornamental grass between us. They would find tiny depressions--a dog's footprint in the sand--their little bellies fitting just right inside. They made tiny dust devils that dissapated almost instantly.
Forrest dragged one of the wading pools to the far side of the fence and I filled it partially for the critters to drink from. I know it will be several days before the deer and others feel safe enough to drink from it but know in the end it will be a special place to watch early in the mornings to see who visits.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


The bluebird landed on a dead oak snag and rested. Larger than what I expected, I kept watch even though conversation flowed. A family 'check in', I was visiting my aunt, uncle, and cousins on my way home.
I couldn't see his back for a positive ID, but his red breast and white underbelly could be seen. I'd seen bluebirds before but only in passing on my way out to the sanctuary.
Soon he flew to another snag and I was able to see his blue jacket--amazing. I didn't know bluebirds lived there near dad and I am excited to know they do.
Meanwhile, red tail hawk called from up high and I knew it was time to go.
Lillie and I said our goodbyes and left the family as we had found them--resting under the oak trees on a warm hill country afternoon, relaxing and enjoying each other's company. I love that I was able to be a part of that, even for just a minute.


After the bats, I watered the gardens. Out back, the martins watched as I watered. Careful watchful black shining eyes. They have little ones, or at least one, and I've noticed that every once in awhile as many as 15 show up and stage around the house--landing on top, flying around, generally making enough noise to get my attention inside. I'm thinking they come around everytime a baby hatches. These are congratulatory fly-bys. It's not often and has only happened now 4 times. I am not brave enough to disrupt the family to bring the poles down and take a look inside. They deserve their privacy. I have seen the parents bringing bugs in and leaving with fecal sacs though so something is indeed going on.
Watering the west side gardens, I notice something move on the outside of the fence and there is mama cottontail. She has moved just enough to catch my eye--when she sees that I see her, she sits watching me. Even when I move closer, she sits. I wonder of her message and try to quiet my head in order to hear. She is ever so still and even against the green grasses that tower over her, she blends. It never ceases to amaze me that brown animals can blend with green flora.
She is calming to me as I realize I am actually procrastinating packing and getting ready to leave. I water the beauty berry and walk away--she never moves and even the dogs that jump at me never see her.
Later on, out front, right before I leave, I show Forrest what plants need attention that day. We are bending over a fence looking at a lovely day lily when I hear martins coming from the west side of the house. Wondering what's being said, I look up in time to see them chasing the resident cooper's hawk right over head. He lower than the roof of the house but above our heads. I gasp. He looks like a winged ghost--his back and wings look grey--the color of weathered cypress. No wonder he can hunt through trees with little problem.
The martins escort him eastward and their cries fade.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Sunrise Bats

This morning I was actually outside as the sun was rising. A little past 6am, I'm usually only up this early to roll over and get more sleep. If only!
This morning found me on the east side of the driveway. Bats! Several were circling the neighbor's yard. No dogs begging for pats and just the cats slightly touching my legs as they passed making me think I was getting eaten alive by bugs. I could focus!
Bats!!! Several were near, jetting in circles, then, as I looked towards the treeline (horizon), I could see more and more of the tiny winged mammals, over the trees, zooming but staying together.... I counted a dozen easily. I continued to watch, wondering if anyone else was seeing them too, wondering if anyone else did see them, would they be in as much awe as me?

With as much grief as people put themselves through and each other for that matter, making life hard and confusing and sometimes I just shrug my shoulders with the enormity of it all--kids, friends, neighbors, aquaintances, family, obligations, desires, dreams.... so much.

Then I see grace in action and the inner noise is quietened and I am able to hear and see again... today it was bats, yesterday it was the tiny black and red caterpillar on the driveway looking for someplace that was not concrete; the day before, the martins had a party and the thrashers are building on to their nest for another brood..... it's all out there.

Thank you for bats.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Hill Country Rumble

You could see the storm coming in from the west and north around 10pm. Huge thunderheads were lit when the lightening danced through them. The rains began not long after -- midnight? Rain hit the windows. It was a hard hurried rainfall.
The thunder though, was incredible. It was hill country thunder, the likes that I've never heard except for here. Long rolling thunder--a lot to be said this night. Lightening would blink 3, 4 times and I would cringe because the thunder would have to be loud. And it was. Hugely bad, rattling the windows long after the storm passed.
This morning everything is fresh. The birds are scavenging the ground for fallen bugs and anything else that's worth eating. And, they're just a little soggy.
The rain gague read just .06" of rain--hardly believable as the birdbaths are full to overflowing and Lillie's wading pool that was empy yesterday has inches of water in it.
Ahhh, you can feel the earth sighing--it was indeed thirsty.
More flowers will be on the way now in gratitude.