RX: Notice Nature

I live in one wild corner!

Our newest wild resident is a deer.

She’s a brave young Momma and struts around like she owns the place!  Her territorial behavior makes me a little nervous.  In the photo below, she’s only a few feet from my door.  I stay back, keep my distance and she looks over at me from time to time, I guess checking to see if I’m still there.  After all, this is her new home and maybe in her mind, I am the resident human, who she thinks acts a little weird.

the young mother deer hangs around the yard

MY Home!

A few nights back, a neighbor knocked on my door.  She looked rather stunned.  I stepped outside.

First, she pointed at the deer standing close to us.

“Oh my!”  I gasped.

The deer was closer than usual!

We’ve become used to the deer and its territorial antics, but we had never seen it come for a sleepover right outside our doors, which is exactly what the deer did.

The neighbor pointed to our right and in a slight voice, suggesting she was taken by all the wild activity going on, she said, “The owls are here too.”

Two Barred Owls were perched under the street light on the electrical wires behind our building.  Oh, we’ve seen them before, both day and night, but lately, we’ve heard them too!

The owls were making a sort of hissing sound.  I’d heard the nightly noise for about ten days, but I wasn’t sure of the source. 

Barred Owls make several sounds other than the most known call (hoot), that can sound like they’re saying, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” 

I think the hissing sound we heard was from a fledgling.  The timing makes sense, because I heard the Barred Owls mating in springtime.

The hissing is a mysterious sound, and I think it’s a bit eerie for some people, but I love the owls and their presence is soothing.

Some people are afraid of owls.  Others say seeing one is a bad omen.

I respect the owl and feel protected when they come around.  Owls eat snakes, mice and rats.  They watch the darkness and alert their mate or youngsters (and me), of unusual intruders.

If you’d like to see the Barred Owl and hear the hissing sound, here is a video from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on YouTube:

My neighbor and I stood together for a few more minutes in the wild of our otherwise pretty normal residential neighborhood.  We watched and listened.  The owls were successfully hunting.  The deer was cozy in the corner of the yard.

OUR BEAUTIFUL RESIDENT BARRED OWL

Barred Owl hunting in daylight in North Carolina Town

Perched Above Creek

The air was thick with wild.

“I also saw a big snake on my walk home,” my neighbor added.  “I think it was a Copperhead.”

Our wild backyard scenario was becoming more interesting by the second!

Barred Owls at Night

To our left, the Barred Owls hunt

wildlife comes to camp

To our right, the deer prepares for bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank goodness, I don’t have a photo of the snake!  I’d rather they are not seen by me.

 

Nature is very much alive where I live and the residents do take notice.  Every neighbor I’ve talked with mentions something about the natural environment around here, usually pointing out one creature or another.  The children seem to like the turtles and the adults often mention the Great Blue Heron. 

A sense of community can be felt in our common awe, interest or simple excitement, inspired by the wild things that live amongst us.

Seeing the owls during the day (and capturing a few photos), is a beautiful thing.  Watching all the pretty birds, listening to the sounds of nature, and once in a while, getting a glimpse of the Great Blue Heron, are each blessings of beauty.

Nature’s beauty is healing in so many ways.  Beauty shows up unexpectedly too, like in the green muddy moss on the turtle’s shell and the hissing owls.  I think those are beautiful things.

A flood zone, surrounded by a creek, with a pond in the center, apparently has a unique ecological system, which is a big reason why we have a diverse community of wildlife, such as the family of turtles that live in the pond.

Below Photo:

A resident turtle.

Normally, the family of turtles take leave and dive into the water when people approach, which they did, but one came back after a minute or two of my arrival, climbed on the rock and gave me a stare!

Pond Turtle is Big!

I Like Water, Mud and Sunshine

Maybe I imagine these wild-life-looks I get, but I must say, I believe communication happens.  I like that.

For instance, I played with a white butterfly the other day.  That’s right.  We played and I had a grand time!

I was growing a few Kohlrabi plants, which might have been the reason for my playful winged visitor, the Cabbage White Butterfly!

I was so happy about my time with the butterfly, that I shared photos and wrote a little about it in my photo journal blog, Green Healing Notes.

Photo Below:

A Green Healing Morning with the Cabbage White Butterfly!

Nature is Beauty

Beauty in the Cabbage Patch!

I need the outdoors to thrive; whether it’s walking through woods, tending plants, birdwatching, chasing butterflies, or taking photographs of the beauty I see. 

In nature, even in my own little green space, with one butterfly hovering around, I lose myself.  Or perhaps, I find myself and lose the rest.

Thank you for visiting my blog!

Logo by Leslie Sigal Javorek, IconDoIt, the blog, and other places of original art
dogkisses

 

 

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Four-legged Neighbors

Ruthie and Happy sure know how to be good neighbors.  They’re polite and respectful to one another.  They always greet each other with a bark or if there is time, several dogkisses!  They are good friends.

Happy has a busy schedule of walks, playing and sleeping, but she enthusiastically remembers Ruthie on her way home from her morning walks.  Ruthie is always happy to see her friend and neighbor, the dog, Happy!

Dogs Make Good Neighbors

When it Rains it Floods

The Art Tree

Little Treasures of Home

The first thing I reached for when the creek started rising, was a picture of my son at the ocean when he was about five years old.  It’s my favorite photo.   He’s wearing a little pair of blue jeans rolled up above his ankles, walking in the sand and looking down at the waves barely covering his small bare feet.

I placed the photo carefully in the plastic tub I was using to hold my most cherished belongings.

I wasn’t ready for a flood, but I should have been.  Along with my rental lease when I moved six months ago, I signed a statement informing me that the apartment is in a flood zone.

I didn’t read the paper I signed.  I was desperate for a place to live. 

An unexpected bed bug situation in an apartment my son had recently moved into interrupted my search for a rental.  Suddenly, my son was without a home and I had a deadline to find myself a place.  We were tired.  The winter weather was cold and I was in severe physical pain.  Neither of us were able to continue looking, so we each rented an apartment in the flood zone.

The rain started late in the afternoon.  I hadn’t watched the news and was not aware of pending thunderstorms.

My dog, Ruthie, tried telling me the rain storm was unusual.  She barked loudly as soon as it started.  My gut grabbed me for a moment.

I opened the door and looked outside.  I could feel something different.  The rain was loud.

There were two birds here that I’d never seen before.  Cardinals were rushing to the feeders, getting more wet by the second.  As the rain continued, the birds kept feeding.  Water had soaked one cardinal’s wings and the poor bird struggled to stay in flight.

I quickly realized that everything in my home means a lot to me.  I’ve downsized and what is left isn’t replaceable.  Anxiety set in.

Family photos, art and crafts that either my son or mother created, and my pretty wooden clock that my sister gave to our immediate family members one year for Christmas, all went into the plastic tub.

I wrapped my little sculpture of a girl holding a bouquet of orange flowers to her face that my mother gave me for a birthday present about five or six years earlier.

Then of course, there’s the beautiful hand carved wooden spoon that I love.  My son made it from a large piece of Cherry when he was thirteen years old.  Without using power tools, he worked for many weeks chiseling, carving, sanding and shaping the wood.  How in the world can something like that be replaced?

I spent the best of four hours, while the downpour continued, putting things in high places, packing them in the plastic tubs and lastly, unplugging electrical devices.  I packed bags of clothes and necessities. 

Management sent a messenger to tell tenants to evacuate the parking lot.  Everyone moved their cars to higher ground.

Anxiety had me distressed.

Image of Haw River water currents

Currents Meet

Then, my son came over.  He was completely calm. 

At first, I was upset by this.  I mean, how could he be so calm, I wondered, when our homes might be flooded any moment!  I needed his help packing, I thought.

I felt disoriented.  I honestly wished I could have afforded a hotel, but since I couldn’t, then I was planning on driving to my mother’s home.  

After several hours of packing and listening to the downpour, along with seeing the families of other tenants come and go, taking their loved one with them, fatigue was overcoming me.  I would likely have to surrender my pride and perhaps, accept the invitations offered to us by two friends for nearby refuge.

My son had earlier gone to the store for water, drinks and snacks.  While I was running around packing stuff, he lied down on the floor with Ruthie and whispered in her ear.  This obviously relaxed her and since she is such a sensitive dog, I was grateful.

Within a few minutes, Ruthie was lying on her back with her legs in the air.  You know a dog is alright when they do that.  My son gently rubbed her little belly and continued talking softly to her.  

Ruthie and I both needed what he had to offer during the crisis.  I suppose he needed it too.

The worst of the storm came at midnight. 

The fire department and Red Cross had waited for hours on the other side of the bridge.  They had a rescue truck in our parking lot.  The water started to seep into the front door when I called them to say I was ready to leave.

Ruthie wouldn’t go outside.  I would need help carrying her to the rescue truck.  I was beginning to wonder if they would have to carry me as well.

My son had disappeared just before the water starting to come inside.  He’d gone to check on his own place.  I don’t think he realized how bad the situation could have been, until he saw the water rise to the level of my doorstep.  I had begged him not to leave because the water wasn’t only standing in our otherwise grassy lawn, but by that time, there was a current.

I didn’t want to leave without him.  I waited.

Within about fifteen more minutes the water started to go down.  I had a feeling the worst of the storm had passed, but the rescue team suggested that we leave in case of another downpour.

The water level had gone down enough so that Ruthie would walk on the sidewalk.  Three firefighters were at my door.  My son had told them I needed help.

“Where is my son?” I asked the men.

“He’s at the club house playing pool,” one answered.

Apparently, he wasn’t alone.  Floods are common and expected at this property.  Management opens up the club house for folks to gather, watch TV and play pool.

Ruthie and I walked with the men.  They carried my bags.  They were most enthusiastic about their duty, which fire fighters tend to get.

I had only seen three men, until we rounded the corner of the building.  There were six more waiting for us.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Ten strong beautiful men waiting to rescue me!

Thank you for visiting dogkisses!

Note:  I was right about the storm’s end when the creek reached the level of my door and fortunately, we didn’t have damage to the inside of our homes.  I did not refuse the help when one of the men offered to lift me up on the back of their truck.  How could I?

From the woods, I heard a gentle “hooo.”

Oddly, my insides churned.  The sound of our resident owl during daylight hours was unfamiliar

Normally, the owl would call about three minutes after sundown.  I’d grown used to it since early springtime, at least after the bird found a mate and from the sound of things at night, they had made some baby owls.  From then on, the calls were dependable and predictable, but hearing the majestic bird during the afternoon hours didn’t make sense to me.

I felt a pending doom, which I found curious and strange.  I let it pass, I thought, and continued to prepare for guests in my new apartment.

The Resident Owl Daytime Hunter

HIYA! I’M OWL!

I was tired and hungry.  My mood was fragile.

“How are you liking your new place?” one of my guests, John, asked me.

I was comfortable and pleased to see that I had arranged my living room furniture in a small circle because the intimate setting was perfect for the occasion.

My guests were friends from a small church where my son has gone for the past year.  I’ve gone a couple of times and attended a weekly small prayer group.  I like the people I’ve met through the church.  I especially like the young Deacon (and his beautiful wife), who will soon be a full priest of the small Anglican church.

My adult son and I met the Deacon rather mysteriously and most necessarily one early and difficult Sunday morning.  I believe it’s possible that our meeting him was a divine intervention.

The primary purpose of our recent gathering at my apartment, as well as my son’s place, was for prayers and a proper blessing of our homes.  The time was also, “Holy Week,” and the church members were reaching out to help people in need.

I was in need. 

“I’m having a hard time adjusting to the sounds and lights,”  I told John.

I started telling them about the owl’s soft call and that I had been uncomfortable that it called during the day.  Within moments, I was sobbing.

“I’ve never heard the owl call during the day,” I cried.  “I don’t understand.  Maybe something is wrong with the bird,” I told them.  I cried more.

John initiated the prayer time.  I was glad and grateful. 

He started a special healing prayer for me.  Each person said a prayer, and then I prayed for John.  He used, “holy water,” to bless each of us.

After we prayed, the elder walked around my apartment.  He said more prayers and sprinkled some type of salts on the floor of each door and near the windows.

My new place is in a flood zone.  Sixty eight families lost their homes in 2013, which is why the place was vacant.

The Deacon had a special water he used to bless the home and keep us safe from floods.

I can honestly say that I feel safer about the water than I did before.  I won’t leave my dog home alone when it rains and the floods might come again, but I believe we’ll be safe.

By the time the prayers and blessings were over, I was able to laugh about being upset over the owl’s timing.  However, the experience did leave me curious and a little concerned.

The owl’s calls soothe me, not simply because I like wildlife, but the predictability brings me solace. 

I get a similar feeling when I hear a nearby delivery truck every morning at the same time.

Thanks for visiting my blog, dogkisses. 

Note:  Since I wrote this post several weeks ago, where it stayed in my draft folder, a flood has come and it was not easy, but we stayed safe and my home was not damaged.  The grass is brown from the creek having risen like it did, intertwining itself, eventually into my yard, so that around midnight, my little corner where I call home was part of the current.

 

Predictability

Will Return…

dogkisses:

I miss dogkisses and all the people who have visited, along with the bloggers I know. I’m not well, but maybe I will return to blogging one day soon. I wish you all peace and love.

Originally posted on dogkisses:

Life and Health, one and the same... Life and Fatigue are one and the same lately, along with a large dose of pain.  I take leave, but I shall return when more rested.  Hopefully sooner rather than later.

As always, thanks for visiting Dogkisses’s blog.

Image of clock via IconDoIt, The blog.

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She’s the Sweetest

RUTHIE

We walked down the corridor in the shelter for the second time. 

“Look at this one,” my friend curiously remarked.

She was the only dog not barking.  

We stopped to look, which is all I had planned on doing that day. 

“Oh,” my friend added.  “Her name is Ruthie.  How sweet.”

What an odd name for a dog, I thought to myself.

Ruthie.

Most dogs have exotic or quirky and whimsical names these days, it seems, but Ruthie is such a simple name, you know?

She put her paw up against the cage.  I touched it and so did my friend.

“She has puppy paws!” my friend exclaimed excitedly. 

My friend, Tiffany, was a dog whisperer in her own way.  Actually, she was more like a dog’s angel.  I was never sure whose side she was on when it came to her helping people and their beloved pets, a career which she had temporarily chosen.

“What do you mean puppy paws?” I asked.

“They’re soft!  Touch them,” Tiffany answered.

I’m pretty sure Ruthie became my dog the second I touched her paw and it was unusually soft!

“You should change her name,” the little boy who lived across the street from us told me the first day I took Ruthie out for a walk.

“Yeah!” agreed his young playmates.

“To what?” I asked, but none had an answer.

The children walked closer to us.  They tried petting Ruthie, but she became frightened by the youngest one.

She had been adopted for two weeks and returned to the shelter before I met her.  The shelter staff said the family had a toddler who was allergic to her.  That’s all they could tell me about her past.

Ruthie was indeed shedding a lot, but my gut told me it was from stress.  I was right too. 

After several days of living with me, she started to shine and I discovered, I had the softest dog in the world!  Everyone said so too.

I didn’t yet know she is also the sweetest, but I tell you, there isn’t one any sweeter than Ruthie is.

For the first few days of our lives together, her name came up for consideration.  Mostly because people remarked on how it wasn’t snazzy enough.

I forgot who it was, but somebody suggested that I read from the Book of Ruth in the Christian Bible. 

“In Ruth 1:16 and 17 Ruth tells Naomi, her Israelite mother in law, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.”  (SOURCE: Wikipedia).

I read the story and I knew my girl had the perfect name.

Ruth was loyal to Naomi, even after her husband, Naomi’s son, died.  Naomi had lost her husband and later lost her other son, leaving her widowed and without children. 

According to the law of the land, Ruth could have left for a better life, but instead she chose to stay with Naomi.  She married again and gave Naomi a grandson.

How could I think of changing little Ruthie’s name after reading that!  I had been given a gift, I believed. 

In the spirit of dogs and the love they give, my gift was a new dog.

I needed rescuing and I fully embraced the love from my new four-legged friend who had come to save my life.

After taking Ruthie to the dog store to show her off and buy a pretty new collar, we went home and I looked over her papers from the shelter.

I was surprised to see that Ruthie’s overall grade was an A-.

How could such a sweet loving dog not get an A, I wondered, so I read on.

“Ruthie pulls back when people lean in toward her,” the report read.

To get an A, a dog must also lean in when strange humans try to pet them, which I found curious.  I mean, if I had been abused, and I could tell that Ruthie had, then I wouldn’t lean in when strangers come toward me either.

I knew I had a smart dog!

Ruthie Mae is the sweetest dog in the world

Ruthie in her element hunting insects!

Without Ruthie Mae, I may not be alive today.

Ruthie didn’t save me from a burning building.  I’m not blind.  I have both legs, which I’m grateful for, and both arms too.  I am not in a wheelchair.

I am disabled by illnesses most people can’t see with their eyes. 

These illnesses have changed my life, and me.  I spend more time alone than I did before I got sick. 

I’ve also experienced significant loss of connection and sense of belonging, both in community and family, as a direct result of disability.  I lost my career and many people have judged me for what they can’t see or understand. 

Ruthie is my medical companion animal.  She’s officially an emotional support dog.   

Ruthie gets me outside.

She helps me want to keep going when chronic illness takes away my hope.

Ruthie is a teacher, like all dogs, I believe.  She shows me what love looks like. 

She teaches me compassion, tenderness and acceptance. 

It’s hard to put into words what all Ruthie means to me and how she helps me live.

Ruthie Mae’s love and companionship is always there for me.  No matter how sick I get, she loves me.  I don’t have to put on a well face for Ruthie.

Just yesterday, I was sad.  Ruthie jumped up on the bed and put her little paws across my ankles.  She gently laid her head on my leg.

“You really are the sweetest dog in the world,” I told her.  The tears stopped and I couldn’t help but take joy from the love I felt.

I thought about the kind of life she could have had if she had been adopted by a healthier person and one who has more money than I do.  I imagined her running in an open field of grass with her pack.  Then, I remembered the story of Ruth. 

Perhaps if Ruthie could choose, I imagined, she might choose me over anyone else, no matter what they had to offer her.

One thing I know.  I am loved. 

Ruthie Mae’s Human Mom,
Michelle.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Note:

This post is a follow up from the most recent one, “Help the Sweetest Dog in the World.” 

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