Archive for the ‘healing’ Category

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!

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dogkisses

 

 

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This Mourning Dove

Beautiful Backyard Bird is the Mourning Dove

This Mourning Dove is Smiling!

Mourning Dove in October One Mourning Dove stays when I approach with the camera.

I hope you enjoyed the photos of this beautiful backyard visitor.

 

The following is a link about this bird’s life history. (http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/mourning_dove/lifehistory).

Please see related links (at the bottom of this page) for interesting posts (and pretty photos) about the Mourning Dove!

Thanks for visiting my blog, dogkisses!

A note to those of you who are aware that my sweet dog, Ruthie Mae, has been recovering from a severe GI upset that happened after our end of summer camping trip. 

I’m happy to report that Ruthie is doing well!

She is still on a prescription diet, Hill’s ID, which is expensive, but has helped tremendously in her recovery.  I’m working on transitioning her to a more normal diet by adding boiled chicken and rice, along with pumpkin, to the ID food.

I’ve been working on a post about HGE, which is a rare and mysterious condition in dogs and is the diagnosis Ruthie received in early September.  I’m not used to writing about such factual information and I’m tired these days, so it’s taking me a while to finish the post.  I wanted to at least offer an update. 

Thanks to all of you who have expressed your kindness and concern.  Ruthie and I are most grateful!

Related articles

Autumn Nectar

The sound of bees swarming in the patch of Asters caught my attention.  I saw a shadow of movement and slowly, I approached the pretty Lavender flowers.  There were several little Skippers, a Painted Lady and dozens of bees drinking nectar.  I started taking photos and right away, the elegant Monarch appeared.

The Elegant Monarch

While recovering from pneumonia over the past several weeks, I’ve been fatigued and not able to do much.  A flare of more serious fibromyalgia pain and fatigue has been difficult and humbling.

Melancholia surrounded my spirit as I walked toward the patch of Asters.  I had taken several photos before I saw the Monarch.  Within moments, I saw another one.

I love all the butterflies, but personally, seeing the Monarch is a unique experience.  Their relatively long life-span and amazing migrations evoke a deep respect and admiration.

The two Monarchs were lovely and I enjoyed watching them play.  They looked young and strong.  Their wings were perfectly untouched, not yet shaped by a butterfly’s life.  They appeared to have seniority over the other butterflies, but that’s an amateur’s observation.

What a wonderful treat their gracing the garden was for me.  My spirit felt lighter when I left the gardens and headed home to rest.

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Nature has given me a special place for respite. 

Note:

You’re probably aware that Monarch habitats have been seriously threatened.  The following link from http://www.MonarchWatch.org offers us an easy simple way to help:  Monarch Waystation Program

Below is an excerpt from the website:

“What You Can Do
To offset the loss of milkweeds and nectar sources we need to create, conserve, and protect milkweed/monarch habitats. We need you to help us and help monarchs by creating “Monarch Waystations” (monarch habitats) in home gardens, at schools, businesses, parks, zoos, nature centers, along roadsides, and on other unused plots of land. Without a major effort to restore milkweeds to as many locations as possible, the monarch population is certain to decline to extremely low levels.” (www.MonarchWatch.org)

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Responding to Stress

red flowers on stems

While the tears poured,  I thought how I surely didn’t look like a green healing girl, nor did I feel like one.

Shingles had hit me fast and hard.  In the past, I’ve been able to recognize the virus before an outbreak.  Not this time.

I had been sickly for several weeks losing a precious nine pounds.  I even went to the doctor fearing I had a tick-borne disease, but my doctor said he didn’t think I have one and instead, blamed my symptoms on stress.

I get tired of my health problems always being blamed on stress, but I realize it’s a serious problem, particularly when it’s ongoing.

My mom and I were talking on the phone when I saw the outbreak.  I was relieved because I’d rather have shingles than a tick infection.

My son was a resident at a small farm, where I thought he might live for three months.  I had gone to visit him two days before getting sick and thought he was going to stay. 

He had said he was homesick and sometimes felt pretty down, but after spending more time with him, he said that most of the time he felt good being there.  Most of the time is a lot to me, so I encouraged him to stay.

He wasn’t sleeping well at the farm and as a result, was often so tired that he was a little late for the chores and classes.  He was trying really hard and the farm’s director informed me that he was improving.

I left the farm after that visit feeling more hopeful than I have in a decade.  For the first time since my son was diagnosed with a mental illness, he was at a place where people treated him like a full human being.  He wasn’t a ‘case’ to be managed.  He was treated the same as the other residents, which meant he was expected to arrive on time for classes.

During the few weeks he was away, even though I had to drive a lot, which was difficult, I had enough time to see what it was like being me.

I was not a full-time caregiver.  I was Michelle.  I was a single woman.  I saw parts of my personality that I hadn’t seen in a long time, such as my sense of humor.  I’d forgotten that I have a pretty good one.  I had fun.

It’s not my son that I need a break from, but instead is the caregiver role that I don’t have help with.

Two days after our weekend visit together, my son was an hour late for one of the farm’s classes.  He said he was so tired that he lied down for what he intended to be five minutes, but then fell asleep.

The man leading that particular class, which was a prayer time, asked him to do a writing assignment.  It was a long and arduous assignment.  He refused and as a result, had to leave the program.

I am not proud of myself for the way I responded to the situation.  I was angry and didn’t handle my emotions well.  I needed someone to talk with about the situation.  Someone with experience, empathy and a positive attitude.  I didn’t have anyone who could offer that.

I told the manager when I arrived that I was sick.  I also confided in him that I wasn’t sure how long I could keep going the way I have been.  He said they would pray for me and we parted ways.

The six months before my son went to the farm had become more and more difficult for us.  I didn’t get a break.  I deeply desired and needed help. 

My son needs peers and friends, something to do with his time and more activity than I alone can offer. 

A few months ago, he was rejected from membership in a clubhouse for people diagnosed with a mental illness.  The reason was because he’s doing well and doesn’t have a case manager.  They aren’t used to that.  I’m not sure their response is altogether a bad thing. 

My son talks about recovery and has a reputation in that particular community of not taking medication.  Sometimes this causes ripples in the water.

I had begged God for somebody to help me.  The director of the farm called to say they would accept my son as a resident the same day that I had nearly screamed at the sky.  I thought my break came and it was one that I believed could change my son’s life. 

Things simply didn’t work out the way we had wanted.  I wish I could go back and respond to this fact differently than I did, but of course I can’t.  I can only try to do better in the future.

I feel better now.  I don’t know exactly what to do or where to turn in life, but I’ll keep on keeping on.  I’ll keep on trying and hoping and praying that there is a way to help my son, that we both can heal and recover, and that perhaps one day our lives will look much brighter.

I learned from the farm experience that I need to work on myself.  I need to take time for me.  I need personal time, as well as time for healing my own wounds.  I want to  heal.  I want to respond to life in a way that doesn’t cause me illness or worsen existing health conditions.  I certainly don’t like responding in ways that bring harm to others, hurt feelings or make the situation worse.  All easier said than done I suppose, but giving up is not a good option.

I’d like to say thanks to my blogging friends for the awesome support and encouragement you have given me.  I’ve said it before, but I’m proud to be a part of this community!  Thank you so much!

Even though my mother will likely never read this, I must say here that I am truly grateful for her love.  She sure stands by me when I’m sick and for that I sure am grateful. 

I am proud of my son for trying the program the farm offered.  He’s a strong young man with a kind and good spirit.

Thanks for visiting Dogkisses’s blog!

Red flowers in the garden, by Michelle and Son.

One Green Healing Day!

Today, I’m practicing accepting the moment.  My other options don’t look good.  I have a lot on my mind, some of which I simply don’t know what to do about.  I’m taking a break from trying to come up with solutions, at least for a little while.

I’ll take another break in a few minutes, with my pretty, insect-hunting four-legged companion, Ruthie Mae.  She needs me, and I need her. She let me know today how much she loves me, and how she misses us spending more outside time together. 

She walked over to me, as I was rubbing Tiny’s belly, which he loves of course, and put her paw in my hand in the sweet way she has always done,ever since the first time she introduced herself to me.  Ruthie does have good manners, even though, she doesn’t use them a lot of the time.  She looked me in the eyes, as if to say, hey thanks for loving us, and then she gave me a soft little kiss on my hand!  I promise you she is one of the sweetest dogs in the whole wide world!

I’ve regressed.  I meant to talk about butterflies.

I’d like to share a photo of the beautiful butterfly that I was friends with today. 

Beautiful Butterfly

A Green Healing Moment!

I make a lot of garden friends in Horticulture Therapy.  First it was the lizard, then the ladybug, and recently my son spotted a lizard by the bog that had an orange throat, and of course, butterflies!  I love the butterflies, but I’ve noticed that I do love all my garden friends.

I must go check my books of butterflies, my favorite of which is, BUTTERFLY GARDENING, FOR THE SOUTH, by GEYATA AJILVSGI, if I can find it.  I have nature guide books, but let’s find out what Geyata has to say about this amazing and beautiful creature.  

ZEBRA SWALLOWTAIL (Eurytides marcellus) 

Family: Papilionidae

Size: 2 3/8- 3 1/2 inches

Range: All 

 Flight Time: March-October 

Broods: 3, possibly more  

Overwinters: Pupa

Though the Zebra Swallowtail has bright striking colors, when it goes to rest in the shade, it gets a little darker and blends in with the environment. 

I know one thing this butterfly likes, and that’s drinking from Asclepias Tuberosa, commonly known as Milkweed, which is a nectar producing flower, but is also the plant that Monarchs lay their eggs on.  Milkweed is the only plant Monarchs use to lay their eggs on.  Something in the plant makes the Monarch poisonous to prey.

I once dreamed I was a Milkweed plant.  I was happy and lived in a great large field with many others like me.  But, that’s a story I’ve told in this blog.  Ruthie Mae says I don’t have time to give you the link.

That’s it for today.  The sun has gone down, and my girl needs a walk.

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s Blog! 

Green Healing ~ Heart and Soul

Image of pretty lilac woodland Phlox blooming

Woodland Phlox

I saw my son’s heart while we were working together in the gardens yesterday.  It was beautiful!  Some people have a green thumb, which I believe my son has, but he also has a green heart.

I saw it when he watered the beds where we planted tiny carrot and lettuce seeds last week.  And of course in the bed of Bok Choy.

in horticulture we thrive

BoK Choy coming along

I saw it when he pulled a few weeds from our special bed where the little lizard used to live.  (I guess my cute little friend went on to some greens without gardeners).

one spot so powerful!

Our Special Therapy Garden

I saw his spirit shining when I later looked at the photos I took during class, which included the potted Cacti he made during the first class.  That pot continues to show me his spirit.  It grows on it’s own.  It’s easy for him to have this potted plant, which isn’t the case for all of us.  Some of us have a hard time keeping them alive, much less seeing them thrive without effort.

in horticulture, we thrive

Easy does it...

The horticulture therapist and I had a chance to chat a bit after the earlier week’s class.  My son didn’t feel like going that day and I had gone alone.  “He has so much heart and soul,”  she remarked.

People often say that about my son.  I often forget to remember what is right, when sometimes it feels like a lot is wrong.  It’s easy, I guess, to focus on what I can help change or make better, than it is to spend time being grateful and enjoying all that is okay and good.

working in the beautiful Mother of the therapy gardens

Heart and Soul in the Garden

My son is a quiet person now.  He doesn’t engage in conversation the way he did growing up, which was enthusiastically with almost everyone he met.   This change has been very difficult for me to accept.

Psychiatry suggests that his frequent silence is a symptom and I must admit that ever since he was diagnosed with a mental illness, I believed this was true.  I’ve believed many things that today I am seriously questioning.

I believe my son has a lot to say.  I believe he has been silenced for a long time.  I believe in the right environment he could and would thrive.

Times are changing in the mental healthcare arena.   There is a new language used to talk about madness.  We are finally starting to acknowledge that matters of the heart matter.  The spirit and soul of a person matters.

I’m glad to be alive and a part of the conversation.  Honestly, I didn’t think I would be.

I dream of access to healing and rehabilitation centers, and organizations created to help people who live to a different beat have meaningful work and be able to make valuable contributions in community.

I don’t know if my dreams and hopes will be realized in my life, but a new conversation has begun!

Thanks for visiting Dogkisses’s blog.  Feel free to leave a comment and I hope you also have some ‘Green Healing’ days.

smiling at you

Green Healing ~ from lizards to ladybugs

lucky little lady

Beautiful Lady and Morning Dew

How brave a ladybug must be!
Each drop of rain is big as she.
Can you imagine what you’d do,
If raindrops fell as big as you?
~Aileen Fisher

The little lizard who captured my heart a few weeks ago didn’t make an appearance in the gardens this week.  I missed him but on our way to the greenhouse we spotted the pretty little ladybug living in the patch of clover. 

I’m a volunteer in the horticulture program, but I sure do get a lot out of the class.  I feel good when I can help someone, even in the smallest way.  It makes me feel useful.

I took photos of the students working yesterday, and although I’m not a photographer, the abundant sunlight and pretty gardens naturally make good pictures.  The images depict what may only be known by those of us participating.  I hope they will serve as a reminder to the students of the good times and ‘green healing’ we’ve had together.

I feel a bond forming in my heart for the students.  I care about them.  They are very special people. 

Something happens while we work together in the gardens.  Something that I don’t feel like I have the right words for yet.  Personally, my heart and spirit is lifted and nourished.  Based solely on my observations, I believe this good energy flows through the other students as well.  I hope so. 

I am most grateful for this opportunity.  It is a blessing.

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog!

Ladybug on Clover, All rights reserved

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