Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


Good Ole Mother Nature

You’ve seen pictures of my woodshed before, but take a closer look at the wood. It is dotted with birds, most of them Oregon juncos and pine siskins all trying to find shelter and food to keep enough warmth in their little bodies to survive until the fury of the storm has passed.

The rain lashed out in torrents and blew into all shelters sideways. The feeder is blurry, in constant motion, blown by the howling wind. The Captain and I made up a hanging cage for yet another suet block and moved two birdfeeders farther into the woodshed under cover. As we worked in that screaming wind we noticed more than one tiny bedraggled siskin huddling under pieces of firewood, feathers soaked, desperate to get out of the piercing wind that slapped icy water onto their wee little bodies. I could have cried. But we did what we could and had to let “good ole Mother Nature” do what she does best – kill off the weak. Survival of the fittest is hard to watch sometimes.

I took two quick videos of the storm from the deck of our house. In the onslaught of the wind and rain, I kept pressing the wrong button to stop the video and as I lowered the camera I caught an ugly picture of my slippers and an empty flowerpot. Not Academy Award film quality, but you’ll get an idea of the force of the storm. What you won’t see are some of the gusts that were way more violent than what I captured here.

If you turn on the sound, you’ll hear only the music of nature.

Today the birdfeeders are empty again. I’m refilling them a lot but if it will help some birds survive, I will keep on filling them as often as needed.

These little birds make me happy all year, so I want to do what I can to help them out when they need it.

No poem today. I’m too unhappy about watching them suffering yesterday.


The Changeling

The stickleback lizard staggers towards the water.  Having lost his right hind leg, his body has tried to make up for the loss by sprouting two extra front legs. However, they are all but useless.

If only he can reach the water, he hopes to float, and ease the burden of his heavy trunk and the unwieldy stickles on his back.

In another life he was a proud fir tree on the shore. But high winds and heavy rains, coupled with extra high tides undercut his beachfront home. Each winter, he lost more of his grip on the land of his roots, until one day he was too weak to withstand the eroding waves and howling winds.

With a creak and a crash, he toppled onto the rocky beach, breaking a leg and bruising his skin.

He lay in his tidal grave for many years, watching his lovely needle coat wash out to sea, twig by twig, until at last, he gave up being a tree.

One dark night, a shiver of change trickled through him. The bark turned scaly, and the trunk became a lizard’s body. The limbs twisted into lizard legs. The skinnier upper limbs proudly proclaimed his trademark stickles.

“Ahhhhh … yesssssss!!!” he hissed. “Now if I can only crawl into the sea, I’ll have a good long drink of salty water. Then I’ll relax and float on my back for a while, using the stickles to help steer me. Once I get my sea legs, I’ll go look up my freshwater cousins Nessie and Ogo Pogo.”