Even birds can have a lapse in judgement

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For the past two mornings, I have been brought back from my slumber into consciousness by an obnoxious sound.  Before I share my story, let me first paint a scene in your mind.

Picture a tiny white cottage nestled in the midst of three acres of extensive woodland.  The dense underbrush is stippled by towering century-old Maple and Oak trees that seem closer to the sun than to the ground.  Branches perpetually invite forest creatures to share their space and many birds use the strong limbs to begin their spring ritual of attracting a potential mate.  The songs of the frogs fill the night air as the barred owls call from one tree to another.  These soothing noises lull me into sleep.

Mornings are usually accompanied by the soundtrack of chirping birds.  The melodies of Chickadees and Red-winged Black Birds are the first strains I hear and they help me welcome the morning with a peaceful sigh…..until yesterday.

My rhythmic breathing was suddenly caught in my throat as I was rudely awakened by the simulated sound of a jack hammer.  The noise would stop long enough for me to hear the fading echo and then begin again.  In the middle of this wooded sanctuary, a Pileated Woodpecker was pounding his beak on the old TV antenna that is affixed to the house directly beside my bedroom window.  This beautiful, albeit destructive bird, truly could not see the forest for the trees.  Although surrounded by a plethora of massive trunks, it chose to continue to bang its beak on the metal tower and showed up again this morning to do it all over again.

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I caved to the will of the shortsighted bird and got up early to take my dog for a walk.  The familiar sounds of the usual morning creatures were there to walk with us and when we got close to home, I heard the familiar banging sound coming from my neighbors house.  Out of the myriad number of trees to select from, this bird had found the only two needles in nature’s haystack.  I can only wonder how long it will take this feather-brained bird to realize it’s barking up the wrong tree.

 

Life in a snow globe

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I have come to the long-overdue conclusion that January is my least favorite month.  Although I think winter can be a stunning portrait of Arctic beauty, January seems to hold some sort of malice for those who live in colder climates.  Looking at the picturesque view of the snow clinging to the trees, with the backdrop of a clear blue sky, makes it slightly more bearable but with that beauty in the forefront the beast stealthily lurks in the background.

Skies become overcast and scattered patterns of flakes stipple the grey sky.  They fall, lightly at first and in swirling random patterns, hypnotizing those in their path with their ethereal beauty.  But the flakes are unending.  They churn in the wind, they seem to multiply before they hit the ground and, as the mercury drops, they are frozen to their place.  Individual patterns of snow and ice combine to create the tomb of winter.

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But I retain a modicum of hope.  We are one-quarter of our way through the month.  The days are becoming longer and January will soon be followed by the shortest month of the year, leading us into the beginning of the month that births Spring.  And with that turning of the season comes the promise of warmer days and easier nights.  I look forward to the days that the air doesn’t hurt my face.

 

What is THIS lovely fragrance?

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There was no sweetness.  There were no flowers.  And the only thing that was stolen was my breath.   What began as a restful few hours between a long day and an abbreviated sleep turned into a rolling profusion of expletives followed by a few moments to regain my sense of composure.

On any other occasion, these moments could have been used to describe a much more pleasurable evening.  What really happened will live in my mind, and my nasal cavity, for years to come.

It was a routine outing.   Callaway never strays far from the house for her late night relief before bedtime so I didn’t think twice about opening the door to let her out.   But I certainly thought twice about opening the door to let her in when the pungent stench of skunk met the sensory cells of my nose.  She looked extremely pleased with herself and I’m certain she sensed that I was not so pleased.

I scoured the cupboards for the age-old remedy of tomato juice but came up empty-handed.  I glanced at the clock and it read 10:30 pm, so a trip to the local, small town grocery store was out of the question.  I then relied on the only endless source of information I had readily available – Facebook.

As much as I have expounded in great detail about this social media icon being a complete mind sucking website – it became my lifeline and my hero.   After a bath of Hydrogen Peroxide, baking soda and dish soap, the putrid odor dissipated to the point that I could tolerate her and allow my dog to come inside.   Since I would never leave her out at night, I wrapped her in blankets to help her dry off and put her to bed.

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The “lovely fragrance” still lingers on my dog and in my house.  And I’m sure it will be a phantom smell that follows me for months.  But I have since forgiven her for the reminder that she is more canine than human, and she has forgiven me for forgetting that she is a dog and that she will continue to behave as a dog.   Lessons learned…..and from now on, we walk together….Callaway on a leash, and me with a flashlight looking for any eyes in my peripheral that may pose an olfactory threat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rage against the dying of the light

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Swallowtail-Butterfly-on-Lilac-Blossom

The perfect evening sky

is painted by the swaying branches

that continue to brush blue into the waning day.

A cool breeze

carries the scent of the lilacs.

 Dusk approaches,

but day fights for its last moments

before the fireflies seize the night.

 Leaves dance in the wind,

laughing as they are tickled by the currents of spring.

A lone butterfly

floats on the updrafts,

silently raging against the dying of the light.

The sun pulls up the blanket of the horizon,

golds and yellows caress the trees one last time

and the day succumbs

to the sleep of night.

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