Category Archives: Animal Memo

Beginning again. And again. And yet again!

IMG_5945The day after I wrote that last post about starting over, a Wednesday, I went to yoga and the instructor announced that the theme was “Begin again”.

On the way home from yoga, I saw a swallow-tailed kite.

That evening, I wrote in my Gratitude journal, where the quotation for the day went like this:

It is no disgrace to start all over. It is usually an opportunity.” – George Matthew Adams

I drove up to Disney on Thursday to spend Earth Day there, and to see some of the Flower and Garden Festival.  As usual, I spent a fair amount of time in the butterfly tent.

IMG_5946The day after Earth Day, while still at Disney, my Gratitude journal treated me to this quote:

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” – Buckminster Fuller

Butterflies are significant to me; I donate to their conservation, I participate in wildlife surveys dedicated to the counting of them, and I traded in my “Nemo” license plate for one with a butterfly on it. I have a tentative plan to create a caterpillar-to-chrysalis-to-butterfly sanctuary on my patio (if I can ever scrape together the funding!). When butterflies present as a Memo, I should probably pay attention. Also, they get to “begin again” too, through the magic of transformation from one creature into another. I think metamorphosis counts as “begin again”, don’t you?

While driving home from Disney, Siri told me that because of “delays ahead”, I could save 17 minutes by ditching I-4/I-75 and cutting down the middle of the state. Passing through all the little “old Florida” towns, I saw signs for the Sunshine Motel and New Beginnings high school across the road from one another. I’ve since discovered that the motel is closed, but the high school is open.

Finally, after driving three hours (instead of three hours and 17 minutes – LOL!), maybe 2 or three miles from home, I saw a hawk on a wire – in EXACTLY the same spot where I spun out a few years back, and maybe even the same hawk (my stHAWKer!).

So… what do we have here?

Many of these Memos are repeats from the past, the butterflies being a new addition. Therefore, I have the impression that this is not so much a “new” beginning, but more of a do-over or a transformation.  And my keyword, which hasn’t made an appearance in quite some time, appears twice in this sequence, intermingled with the birds of prey and the butterflies.

The motel is closed, though. Might mean leaving something behind and concentrating on basics, which will lead to a transformation, a new beginning.  The hawk in the same spot as a scary driving experience… I hope that doesn’t mean “begin again from October 2013”.

What was I doing in October 2013? I can use an app on my phone called Momento to find out. It sucks in all your social media feeds and presents them to you in calendar/journal form. I’ll get back to you on this….

Out of the gate and into the wild

Out Of The Gate And Into The Wild

I’ve been indulging in my usual Saturday morning routine – sitting in my pajamas with coffee, idly paging through social media until the brain shows signs of life. Facebook’s “On This Day” feature this morning offered me a video by recording artist LP, whose incredibly unique voice isn’t even halfway showcased here (you should try a song called Tokyo Sunrise if you want to hear what she can really do!)

LP – Into The Wild

A few minutes later, the interwebs offered up this gem:

Left the gate open

Of course, the two connected are screaming, “Memo!”

I actually think this is a foolish sentiment, as a routine life strategy. One should not always be bolting willy-nilly through every open gate one sees.

Who bolts through open gates? People who are looking for a way out. People who are some combination of bored, scared, trapped, desperate, and/or yearning for freedom. People who are convinced that what lies ahead HAS to be better than whatever they’re leaving behind. People who want to run.

I decided to google the song lyrics for insight. The pertinent, most recognizable lyrics to the LP song are:

Somebody left the gate open
You know we got lost on the way
Come save us a runaway train
Goin’ insane….

Oh please believe me I’m more scared than not
That oh now this isn’t the way

So here we have another category of bolter – astray, scared, and with full, after-the-fact awareness that bolting wasn’t the best idea they ever had. This was not a well-thought-out bolting, but an irrational, reckless rush into madness.

When we were growing up, our family included a dog named Rusty, who would bolt at every opportunity. Gates, doors, however he could manage it, Rusty would lead us on a merry chase through the neighborhood until his inevitable recapture. That is, until the time I found him in a doorway, reached for his collar – and he snarled and snapped at me. Here I am, worried for his safety (hey, we lived at the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Francis Lewis Blvd. in Queens!), and this is the thanks I get for chasing him down. Fine. Be that way. And I went home in a huff, leaving him to figure it out on his own against the perils of the city.

I have no idea why some dogs are bolters, and some are just plain disinterested in the open gate. He wasn’t abused or ignored or anything like that, and always had a big yard to run around in. Some dogs are calm, placidly content. Rusty was a more energetic, more interested in what lies beyond the gates, I guess.

On the surface, the placid pooch seems smarter, more dignified, more mature, steadier and more reliable than the bolter. However, his worldview is more limited than Rusty’s. The placid pooch never gets to sniff and explore and learn quite as much as the one who wants to know what’s outside the gate.

There’s got to be some happy medium between the sameness of contentment, and the terrifying plunge into the abyss.

When is a cigar just a cigar?

Red-shouldered hawk at Galt Preserve, Lee County, FL  April 2013
Red-shouldered hawk at Galt Preserve, Lee County, FL April 2013

A few days ago, I drove home from the grocery store in a torrential downpour typical of Southwest Florida during a rainy season afternoon.  The same conditions up north would strike fear and a strong hibernation instinct in most drivers; here, the development of white-knuckled nerves of steel is essential, else we’d be hibernating about six months out of the year.

As I approached a major intersection close to home, I saw a hawk sitting high upon a utility pole. He stood stark against the rumbling skies, seemingly impervious to the pelting rain.  Immediately after I saw the hawk, things happened fast; the light turned yellow, I applied the brake, and the car hydroplaned.  The light turned red, and the car slid perilously closer to the intersection, seeming to gain momentum rather than lose it.  I released the brake and turned the wheel. The car slid sideways. CLICK to read more…

The messenger

Red-shouldered hawk in a mahogany tree
Red-shouldered hawk in a mahogany tree

I have often seen a hawk overhead while driving down the main road in my new community – which, by the way, I am very much digging 🙂 .   I have seen the hawk crossing the road above me, zig-zagging from one tree on this side to the next tree on that side.  These are old-growth trees, oaks and mahoganies and others whose names I have not yet learned.  These are trees that tower, that spread their shade generously, and that provide abundant habitat for wildlife of all kinds.  I knew I’d been missing it, this life amongst old-growth trees, but I hadn’t known that I’d be this grateful to have it back, nor had I realized that gratitude can bring such joy. Life is good.

In the immediate vicinity of my home, it’s been red-bellied woodpeckers I hear and see the most, with an occasional visit from a CLICK to read more

A kite tale

Swallow-tailed kite Estero Marsh Preserve

Early in January, I met with a social acquaintance who is a realtor to talk about a relocation within my current county. There is one primary reason to do it in general, but lots of smaller reasons for moving to the particular area we targeted. We met at a Starbucks in the target area. I presented my simple “list of demands”, which she felt could be met in the current market, or at least the majority thereof.  We both knew that while it is still an awesome market for buyers, prices ARE rising, so if I was going to do it, best to CLICK to read more