Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Rush of Summer Days...

...interrupted by the quietness of a wind farm in the Middle of Nowhere, Illinois.  This was the scene I encountered driving to and from a family gathering last weekend.  This is only about 10 miles from my parent's home, yet I never knew it existed.  There's also a Mennonite Church.  Who knew?  

So the point of this photo is that it was a welcome respite from the very rushed summer I've been having.  School ended, summer started, and the next thing you know, the 4th of July is over, my 20th Class Reunion is over, and I've got two weddings and a half marathon to get through in the next two weeks, not to mention a circus camp, staff evaluations, and a student incentive trip to plan and get through.  I'm thinking I need a personal assistant.

So many times I'm guilty of trying to cram so much into my days and weeks that I fail to enjoy stillness and solitude.  I remember having a conversation with My Favorite Redhead about this on one of our walks:  should you try to get as much done as possible in this life, since you only have one life? Or should you take your time and savor a select few things?  I've always been the "get as much in as possible" person, loving all of the adventure and new experiences.  It's catching up with me this summer, though.  I'm starting to recognize the importance of savoring every once in a while.

So today I will be savoring fresh laundry and a stocked pantry (Thank you, washing machine, dryer, and grocery store!), and perhaps get recharged for the next hectic weeks.  Perhaps.  Have a great week.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Short Musing on Animals

Those of you who know me, even just a little bit, know that I am not an animal lover.  At all.  I don't eat them, don't feel warm and fuzzy when they brush up against my leg, don't revel in their majesty.  Animals in their natural setting don't appeal to me, nor do the ones kept in cages (or barns, kennels, or homes). They annoy me, unless they are like this fella above:  ceramic.  This particular Maneki Neko  was in Restaurant Murata in Portland, OR; yummy sushi, cold sake, and good friends were there, too, but I digress.

What I do love are birds.  Really.  They gross me out and fascinate me at the same time.  I ponder the idea of flight, and wonder just how fabulous it would be to fly yourself anywhere.  I embrace the philosophy of having roots and wings in your life, and in instilling that way of thinking in your children.  Take this:  mother birds do not simply give nourishment to their babies; they chew it up and feed it to them.  Human mothers do the same thing, in a way:  the nourishment they provide their young are the life lessons they've experienced first hand- hard work, disappointment, loss, love- chewed up and spit out as often as intuition dictates. It is a fitting metaphor, this of human mother as bird mother, when you analyze it further.

I've written before about the robin's nest under the eaves of our garage.  Last Spring I even posted pics of the eggs in the nest.  This year, The Robins have returned to our garage (although robins return to their summer range in April, it cannot be said with certainty that this is the same robin from last year), and are on their second clutch.  Mr. Fix has seen the mother bringing food to the nest, and has even seen the babies.  One he got to see up close.  Let me explain...

We have a rabbit (not one of the "pets" Mr. Fix and Daughter #2 insist on keeping) who is terrorizing the garden this year.  I'd like to channel my inner Mr. McGregor and send Peter Rabbit on his way to the big vegetable garden in the sky, but Mr. Fix decided to live trap the bugger so he can be "relocated," like he's a middle-manager in computer software sales and not a wild animal.  So, the live trap is set, and the next morning Mr. Fix checked the trap, and lo and behold, he has caught himself...a baby robin.

This is the little bugger after being set free.  You can see (sorta) the downy feathers still clinging to its head.  I was sitting on the veranda reading a book (The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner), when I heard a chirp cheer chirp sound.  I looked down, and there this little bird was, looking up at me, head cocked to one side, as if waiting for me to answer the question:  Are you my Mother?  No, I am not your Mother; I am a Snort. *sigh*

It sat there, looking at me like that, for what seemed like a very long time.  Longer than any other type of wild animal has ever paused before me.  Squirrels spaz out.  Stray cats scurry and hide.  Chipmunks and porcupines and small voles and such remain hidden when I run on trails.  Deer pretend to be surprised to see me (hence the "deer caught in the headlights" phrase), there in my car, speeding down the highway as they try to cross the road.  Stupid deer.

But birds have always lingered, calling out with their songs, waiting for a response.  Cautious.  Deliberate.  Bright.  And then they're gone from their perch like that.  Keep your babbling brook and crunch of feet on pine needles; the soft flap of morning wings or the strong thrust of a bird on the hunt are sounds of nature I like.  

Other musings? I've signed on for another marathon , but first need to tackle an exciting half marathon .  I'm also tackling my *gulp* 20th high school reunion.  Obviously, I've got some interesting weeks ahead of me.  I'll keep you posted.