Monday, June 28, 2010

Baltimore to Newport

For this summer's adventure to Rhode Island, we flew into Baltimore and planned to drive to Newport. We got up early in order to be packed and ready to hit the airport by 7am. Notice I didn't say 'awake'! We slept on the flight and after landing in Baltimore rented a car and headed north to Rhode Island!

An hour into the drive (and totally NOT out of Baltimore by much) the a/c went out on the car. Between Brent's new Iphone and my Pixi navigation apps, we found another rental and headed out in a nicer vehicle. We stopped at several mega rest stops that looked like mall food courts on steroids (chaos and noise and neon OH MY!!!). After our last pit stop, we noticed Lillie had grown suspiciously quiet. When I looked into the back seat, she and Bunny were fast asleep.

We made it into Newport (home sweet summer home!!) before midnight and our friends Deborah and Magno were waiting up and surprised us when we walked through the door. What a homecoming!!!

The following day, we couldn't wait to get to the beach. The familiar scents, curvature of the bay, rocks, gulls--spiritual familiarity.

While we may not be staying as long as we did last year, it's as if time stood still and the relationship was still breathing, still alive, nurtured and fed by my memories...

Sunday, June 06, 2010

A Nature Walk

Spring has come and gone. It was a little later than in past years, and didn't stay as long as I had hoped. I spent my driving time taking photos of the wild flowers. On the way to work and stuck in traffic? Grab the camera and take some photos.

Of course the people behind you may not be thrilled when they're held up for a second or two... but hey, makes for great entertainment.

Walking around the gardens at home, the native agarita is now in fruit. The yellow blooms of a few weeks ago have been replaced with berries, which the resident mocking bird has claimed for his own. I call this particular photo "Nature's Christmas Lights".

Fawns are a common sight now, but, back in early May, this little one was one of the first. Brent watched he and his mom come to the front yard and he managed to lay under the van. Mama wasn't excited about his choice of rest spots and she worried him to move. I ran for my camera and found them on the other side of the vehicles beside the fence. As I poked my head around the truck, he saw me and flattened himself as much as possible. Mama wasn't concerned, but he was doing what he was supposed to--hide at all costs.

Mama continued to move through the yard and little man ended up splayed in the middle of the driveway (remember Bambi and the iced over pond??). I slowly walked from inside, picked him up, smelled his newborn head (they have no scent!), and placed him under an oak tree where he immediately flattened himself in hopes I would just leave. Mama found him, gave him a good bath (to removed my human stink I'm sure) and they proceeded down the block into a ravine.

I've been worried because she visits daily and hasn't brought him with her. I feared he had died and was feeling a bit sorry for her. Just now I watched her and another doe walk up from the ravine towards the house. I saw two little white tails frolicking behind them and breathed a sigh of relief. He's ok and has a buddy!!

It's hard for me to stay involved with current events--the oil spill in the gulf, the war, the political mess that's going on. It's so much and so hard to come to terms with. I find just going to work, tending to an injured or orphaned animal, and watching as what I have done for them gives them relief--that's something I can hold on to. A young raccoon separated from her mother and scared and defensive and growly... all she needs to know is she is in a safe place. Some fluids and a stuffed animal and a little quiet time does so much to ease her fears. A tiny white winged dove found on a sidewalk after a huge storm is brought in. He gets quiet, warmth, and fluids and quickly goes to sleep. The pigeon that comes in with a broken wing trying valiantly to defend himself by flapping the other is given quiet. His wing is then gently taped into a normal position, pain meds are given, and he is placed in a quiet room to recover and relax.

Those are the tangible acts that I hold on to; the goodness I put out there in hopes that it makes some kind of difference. In some small way. From when I was little and all I wanted to do was rescue ants, or horned toads, or kittens... I remember being in the 5th grade and reading a story about Smokey the Bear and how he came to be (a bear cub trapped in a tree during a forest fire and rescued by a forest ranger) and how I wanted to be a forest ranger--Protector Of the Forest. All animals were safe on my watch. And I day dreamed of walking through the forest, making sure everyone that lived there were living their lives...

Before that, I remember always being outside. Once when I was in the 3rd grade, I climbed on top of our swing set because a crow was flying overhead. I 'cawed' to him and held my arm out. He then landed on my arm and I was stilled by the event. I memorized everything about him--his feet, his face, his feathers. He stayed for what seemed like lifetimes, lifted off and flew into the sky.

We do so many things when we're young; have so many thoughts and ideas of life when we get older. It's been said to be happy as an adult to remember what you loved doing when you were a child. I loved doing many things as a child, but the events that come to me as I sit and listen to the birds outside, are the ones that included animals. And in the last 10 years, native wildlife.

From neonate woodpeckers that instinctively beg for food with their eyes closed;

a Night Heron nestling found on the River Walk; blown out of his nest after a storm;

a found Grey Fox kit;

to a neonate opossum whose mother was killed and he and his pouch mates were found and brought to us. This is my passion.

I've cared for them (and many others) at one time or another. I'm hard on myself for being a 'mature' woman and finding my passion so late, but I know that there are many who never do. On the heels of that thought, I know I am a very lucky person.

Take some time and remember what you were always doing as a child and how it relates to what you do today...