not people

As I was picking blackberries this morning, I was startled by a little snake.  She was suspended in the blackberry thicket, maybe finding the air more pleasant than the wet ground, maybe hunting the frogs that inhabit the ditch below the berries.  For just a moment, I was an Eve – thinking about fruit, but temporarily captivated by the beauty of this creature, her slender muscularity, the elegance of the racing stripes down her back.  I reached out to touch her smooth scales and she slipped away.  The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil has long been among us.

snake

this isn’t her, but a beauty nonetheless.

*

Outside our bathroom window there is log where the skinks and lizards sit to catch some morning light.  A young one, with a bright blue tale, creeps out to bask for a moment.  The moment is brief because an older skink, twice the size of its kin, emerges and chases away the freshie.

*

kids 2After the excitement of the birth of our first goat kids here, we were astonished to find that the mama goats want nothing to do with each other’s kids.  If anything, they appear disdainful of them.  Given the chance, they butt them or nip the little one’s tails if they come too close.  We have even witnessed the does go out of their way to jostle the other’s kid while it was nursing.

What kind of survival tactic is this, we wonder?  Surely the herd would thrive if they were kind to one another’s offspring?

It’s disappointing.

It’s also a little bit terribly poignant.

*

elder flowerThe national and international news reel of the past couple weeks has been brutal.  I feel bruised at the soul every time I turn on the radio.  This is a reminder – the concept of humanity as a unity – the concept that we are all HUMAN and more alike than not – is a relatively new concept.  And it is fragile.

I’ve never had a problem with thinking of humans as animals.  We are animals with extraordinary brains, however, and it’s obvious that we have intellectual and spiritual potential beyond many (I won’t say all) of the creatures with which we share the world.  Surely we need not be bound by the same blind territorial instincts as our relatives.  I can only hope and pray that enough of us, striving against our lower instincts, can hold a peace.

Fear and Greed, and the Anger and Violence that abet their motives, are our enemies,           not people.

 

right now :: birdhouses

IMGP0658I was awakened by birdsong this morning. Delicious crisp and cheerful birdsong. That accompanied by the sound of the creek flowing and gurgling and bubbling past the house was not a bad way to greet the morning, I’ll say. The grass is really beginning to green up now. The mud isn’t quite so gushy (well, until the next round of rain settles in, that is) and the little forest birds and meadow birds are beginning to arrive from distant places. A few days ago, the Louisiana water thrush made its voice heard for the first time this spring. We mark their arrival on our calendar as each day marches us closer to spring.IMGP0630IMGP0637With all of the bird activity, and with a couple of gorgeous sun-filled days, Eric and his dad (Pap Pap) along with the helping hands of the children, set to making some sweet new homes for our feathered friends. Throughout the winter months, as we are cutting firewood,  Eric will set aside hollow sections of logs for the very purpose of making birdhouses. We seem to be making this an annual tradition and add to our collection of birdie-homes all over the farm each spring… when our friends are eagerly searching out suitable nesting spots. Eric had just finished building a new mineral feeder for the livestock so all of his tools were already easily accessible… and then the weather was just so nice and the birds were singing so brightly… it just seemed the perfect time for this project to happen. Now we can’t wait to see the vacant little houses become occupied with bird families!IMGP0660

right now :: new friends

IMG_8041Meet Bill. The heron. Ira befriended “Bill” the first day of our vacation. My bird-sensitive little guy noticed this particular heron had some fishing line wrapped around his leg, and was limping a bit. I guess Ira felt like Bill might need some help rounding up his supper, so every single day that we have been here at the beach, Ira makes sure to leave a little snack for his feathered friend. In the evenings, Bill flies in to the fishing pier on the lagoon where we are staying. My boy leaves whatever he has available for Bill’s supper, be it bait fish or the heads and tails of fish that will make their way to my family’s supper plates. Bill seems appreciative, but sensibly skeptical of the humans that are leaving him treats. As my consciousness sometimes wavers about the necessity of feeding a wild bird, my heart feels warm when I see my boy and his choice of friends.IMG_8043 IMG_8045 IMG_8049 IMG_8057