Monday, June 25, 2018

Walking It Off

Canada Goose family at one of the ponds
We've been walking miles and miles everyday. We start before 7:00 in the morning for our first mile bringing the skinny black kitty cat (who we've named Harold and now has an appreciative full belly) some kibble. He sits on the driveway and waits. There are always empty food bowls strewn about. I carry a small bag of kibble in my pocket. He gets up and walks over as soon as he sees us. I'm not sure I wrote it here, but I got to go inside the house to drop of 25 pounds of kibble we had picked up at Costco last week. There is more than a hundred pounds of kibble in there, plus a case of large Friskies wet food. Harold is old, and now he is loved. There's plenty of food for everybody.
Black-crowned Night Heron looking for fish
Then, we walk home, have tea and toast and plan another couple of miles of walking. Some days it's a trek to the co-op for something (two miles round trip). So we check our lists to see what we need.We like that we can run some errands and get in a three mile walk before noon. That's life in our small college town.
Great Blue Heron
If we don't have to go to the co-op for anything we'll take a short drive over to the marsh for a good three mile walk there. In the summer there really aren't many birds. Most of the beautiful migrators have come and gone. The locals are spending lots of time on their nests. So, we don't get to see many feathery friends. When we do, though, we are really so glad.
Black-crowned Night Heron walking in the tidal flats
We are planning to go to a march next weekend to protest our country's treatment of immigrants and their children. To say we are outraged, appalled, brokenhearted, and stunned would be an understatement. My older brother went to a detention center on Saturday with hundreds of others to protest. We must each take a stand for humanity. If not now, when?

Until then, we go walking. We're walking off the stress of these times we are living in. What are you doing for stress management these days? We'd love to know.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wordless Wednesday: Look Closely

There in the river an egret stands
The egret in the river
There on the other side of the river Harbor Seals sleeping
The seals so far away and easy to miss
There in the horsetail grass a frog rests comfortably
The perfect froggy camouflage on a sunny day

Monday, June 18, 2018

Sunshine and Minus Tides

It finally happened. The fog and clouds left us. The morning sun has been rising in a clear blue sky. Luckily this break in the usual foggy summer pattern coincided with a significant -2.0 tide these past few mornings. So, we headed out to Trinidad Beach to walk to the beautiful beds of seaweed.

We drove 15 miles up the coast and got there at 7:30 about an hour before the lowest tide. Of course I had to stop and photograph this sea foam, but really I just love seeing Roger heading out to the tides.
The light was crazy out there and really hard to photograph anything. The sun was just coming up over the hills so there was lots of shadows and blinding brightness everywhere.

We headed north, going around the glimmering pools left behind by the retreating tide.
I'm not even sure why we wanted to see the seaweed gleaming brightly in the morning light.
Maybe just because we could. Because it was sunny. Because the tide was low and our spirits were high. Then we sat and had the tea and toast we had brought with us and watched other people arrive to take in such a beautiful morning.

PS-- It feels absurd to post photos and write about how lovely it is to take early morning minus tide walks when our country is carrying on in the most outrageous and horrific way. We don't know what to say that hasn't already been said by so many. We walk in our glorious freedom while children are being held in camps separated from their parents. The truth of this is so profoundly disheartening. That this is what our country has become is shattering and heartbreaking. What then must we do?

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Skinny Kitty Cat Story

Our Facebook friends already know this story, but we wanted to share it here as well. I posted this on Friday there:
We've all heard the "crazy old cat woman" stories, and this morning Roger and I met one. We were out for our usual 7:00 am neighborhood walk, when we noticed the saddest skinniest little cat on a driveway. It looked so bedraggled and forlorn. I went over to it to pet it. I could feel all of its bones. It had unbelievable crap in its eyes. It made me feel so bad, we walked home fast, went to the market and bought two cans of cat food. We drove back to the house to find the cat, when the front door opened and the crazy old cat lady came out. Oh yes, she has many strays she feeds. There were empty food bowls strewn about the yard. I went into her back yard and several cats ran away, but the skinny black one came over to me. I opened a can of food and fed it. Roger stayed out front talking to the cat lady. Yes, she feeds them, but definitely not enough. We're going to bring her a bag of kibble every week, and I'm fighting the urge to go and get that skinny black kitty cat and bring it home.
It received a lot of good, kind, supportive, and thoughtful comments. One was from a woman we know locally who recommended that we contact someone she knew who does cat rescues around our neighborhood. She gave me her contact info; I messaged her and so began a day of communication. She was out trapping cats, dealing with kittens, and all kinds of other kitty cat issues. Her work is full of kindness and support. She helps people get strays neutered/spayed; she connects people who find cats in need of medical support; she delivers food. She couldn't get over to the skinny cat's house on Friday, so we promised we would head over there on Saturday, bring more food and find out a little more details of what was going on with the cats.

Skinny cat eating the kibble we had just brought over
On Saturday, we learned that the old cat woman has five cats, one is hers and four are strays. She feeds them all as best as she can. She knows nothing of their histories, whether they need to be neutered or spayed, if they've had their shots, etc. She was very grateful for the food we had delivered.

We reported that information to the helpful cat lady. She made it over to the old woman's house on Sunday morning. She wrote me this note. I changed the name to initials so as to keep the old woman's identity private:
Hi Robin, I went by to see CB and the cats. I spent some time with them. The cats that I saw are all elderly. I think they are too old for spay, neuter. CB says she hasn’t ever had kittens, which tells me they are most likely fixed. They seek shelter under her house, so that makes me feel better. I think they could benefit from good cat food, and CB was grateful to you for donating food to her cats. I agree, she’s a bit limited by finances and energy (she’s in her 80’s.) The old black guy on her porch is a lovely cat, he’s just very old, which is why his appearance is a little alarming. I looked at him carefully, and his eyes are goopy, but his nose is clear, which is a good sign. Rehoming him would be too traumatizing to him at this age. 
I have to say I was so relieved that the skinny black kitty cat is really too old to be rehomed. I was still fighting the urge to go and get him Sunday morning. He really is very sweet. I posted this follow-up on Facebook:
I would like to hope for every crazy old cat lady there's a good and kind cat person who goes around neighborhoods trying to make life easier for old strays and kittens. The latest update on the kitty cat saga is that the skinny cat we saw last week is very old and would not benefit from rehoming. His eyes are goopy but his nose is clear (doesn't that sound like song lyrics?), which is good sign. The good cat lady spoke with the old woman who was appreciative of the kibble we dropped off yesterday morning. We will continue to supply food weekly. We are relieved and our hearts are lightened by this news. Friends, if you see an animal in distress please help when you can and find those with hearts so big they do the real heavy lifting.
We went to the store after getting the update and bought 12 cans of food and another bag of kibble. We will help on a regular basis. I'm not a big fan of outdoor cats and strays, but college towns often have issues like this when students leave and people move on and let their kitty cats stay behind. It's not their fault. So, we help as best we can. And, that's our skinny kitty cat story.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Poem On A Wednesday

I find myself so full of despair lately. This land on earth that I call "my country" is heading down a path so terrible I simply cannot believe the times we are living in. And yet here we are. I was reminded of the poem by Wendell Berry 'The Peace of Wild Things" because those first lines are where I am. So, I go looking for the peace...
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives might be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.  I come into the presence  of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Photoshopping The Grandkids

It's funny how things get started. We were watching our grandson Ian a few weeks ago while his mom ran some errands. She had put out a box of Legos and said, "Have fun!" So, we did. Roger built something and decided to put a little plastic Yoda in it. I said, "Hey it looks like Yoda is meditating." Ian said, "We meditate at school," then proceeded to sit cross-legged on the floor, hands in that classic meditation position, eyes closed. I loved it! A few weeks later both grandkids came to visit. I mentioned to their mom how much I loved seeing Ian meditating. Delilah shouted, "We meditate at my school too." Then she, Ian and Roger sat on the floor together and meditated. I couldn't resist taking their photos. But when I downloaded the pics, I didn't like the light in the living room or the crayons and kid books strewn about on the floor. So, this is what I did...
 ...I photoshopped them meditating on top of the earth with the moon in the background. It was a fun way to spend a foggy cloudy day. The perfect cosmic diversion.

Then the grandkids came by for another visit just the other day. We were hanging around, drawing pictures and looking at rocks, when I remembered the photo I had made of them. So I grabbed the computer and said, "Hey kids, take a look at this." Well, they loved it and immediately wanted me to photoshop them into other scenes.

Delilah posed like this and wanted it to be on strawberry ice cream...

...and Ian posed and wanted to be on a penquin.
They thought I could do it just like that while they waited. I had to tell them it takes a bit of time to make this happen. But I did get to it a few days later and made these. Delilah wants to also be put on a rose, and Ian wants to be in a tractor. I'll do it for them because that's what crazy grandmas do. They photoshop the grandkids into scenes they love. I also hope it will teach them to question the validity of images they see. Because I know they know these moments never happened in real life... or did they?