Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘birds’

AWAKENED

I had a most interesting week — in a weeks time I have revisited many of the talents and interests I had over the years. Many of them slipped by the wayside without my noticing it. Too busy, too many other things occupying my time. Years ago, I belonged to the Nature Club at our campground. This week, Sunday, I attended a presentation on a wetland area that is only a few miles from our campground. Even though it has been there for quite a few years, I was completely unaware of its existence. The person giving the presentation had interesting slides of the plants, animals and insects that inhabited the area.

Two days later, I saw a member I knew from the Nature Club at a restaurant. The very next day, I ran into another person who had helped me with the float on a parade. The back to back experiences reminded me of not only the fun I used to have, but also how much I have forgotten. Too many years have passed!

That same day, I attended a colored pencil drawing program hosted by the nature club. I haven’t drawn in years — not that I have ever been very skilled. I picked a flower to capture on a wood panel. All the supplies and pencils were provided. The experience reminded me of when I first started painting 30 years ago. It was an invitational program put on by the campground. Bring your body and talent and we will provide the rest. My rendition of that painting opened up a new world for me. I didn’t think I could paint — I was proved wrong. Thankfully the technique I learned this week was easy to adapt and the flower I colored surprised me. Instead of hiding in a drawer, it is occupying a space on our wall. My family thinks I should pick up my paint brushes again. They may be right.

While I was occupied with colored pencils, I learned of nature activities coming up on the weekend. A nature hike and later, a nature presentation of life in early America. Both sounded interesting — I planned to attend. Then I WORRIED. Would I be able to walk on a two mile hike? Would my knees allow me to do it? I decided that I would hike as far as I could then walk back and leave.

I didn’t need to worry. I arrived at the prearranged spot and saw the leader putting down a plastic ground cover. The plan was to DRAW, then hike. I WONDERED HOW not only would I get DOWN on the ground, HOW would I get back UP?

I needn’t have worried. The leader asked me to wait, he had something in the car for me. HE DID! He had his mother’s wooden folding chair. I WAS VERY COMFORTABLE. I still couldn’t draw — a bird, copied out of one of his books. (My grandson could have done better!) A tree — some resemblance but nothing to brag about. I think I will try to pick up his suggestion and DRAW every day.

The presentation — EXCELLENT! I convinced my husband to accompany me. He was glad that I did. Brian “Fox” Ellis became Prince Maximilian in 1832. I was reminded of the many hours I spent in storytelling.

The only thing missing was writing. OH! I GUESS I’M DOING IT NOW!

Years ago we had bird feeders hanging in our yard. A hummingbird visited a few weeks ago — reminding me. This weekend, we hung up hummingbird feeders. We had a visit from either one hummingbird twice or two separate hummingbirds. WELCOME. ( I have plants that are beneficial for hummingbirds in my garden. The feeder is more permanent.)

HOMER LAKE

Rain finally ended, sun came out, temperature warmed enough to be pleasant — no reason to stay indoors. Our daughter suggested we take the family and go to Homer Lake. The men of the family had other things they wanted to do — just the girls were up for the adventure. We also took the two female DOGS.
Maggie, a golden retriever who is heavier, walked up the ramp to get into the SUV. Robin DID NOT want to walk up the ramp — neither did she want me to pick her up. I wanted to pick her up from her hind quarters, she kept turning her face to me. I thought we would have to leave her home. She is my husband’s dog. If he went there would be no problem. Finally she put her paws on the deck and I lifted her in for the short ride.

We went to a part of the park we hadn’t visited before. Robin was happy to jump out. She was happy to LEAD all of us on the walk — she had to be first. Birds were singing, some flowers were already blooming. I had my camera ready. Some of the path was still muddy from the rain so we had to be careful.

My granddaughter wanted to go to the play place. I didn’t want to try to get Robin into the car for the short ride so we walked EXCEPT Robin DIDN’T WANT to walk with me. Part of her family was going in a different direction and she wanted to lead them. Robin and I finally made it to a path that I thought would take us to the play place. It branched into two paths. I took the one to the right but after walking a bit decide to turn around and take the path to the left. Robin was VERY HAPPY to turn around, she thought we were going to join our family — she wasn’t happy when I took the path to the left.

I saw a small bird sitting on a branch. My camera has a good zoom so I zoomed in and took a photo. After I did the bird flew away. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, no binoculars so I hoped my photo would let me know whose picture I took. (It was a blue bird.) In the distance I heard a bird call peter, peter. I remembered hearing that call years ago but didn’t remember the name of the bird. (Back home GOOGLE helped — tufted tit mouse.)

We finally reached our group. Robin was HAPPY. In fact, when the back was let down of the car, she jumped right onto the bed, she didn’t want to be left behind again.

This ramble was written in May, scheduled to publish in June but the Tornado caused it to be rescheduled.

STILL COUNTING — FOOTNOTE

When I was writing STILL COUNTING I had no plans to include a thought on our house or how well it suited our family. I was noting current things I considered to be gifts. Somehow I got sidetracked to the bigger picture — our house and family. While I was on the subject I asked the question — Did my mother help us find the house? I followed that thought up with how thankful I am for our family. That is how some of my thought rambles progress. One thought leads to another. I’m sure the ideas are not necessarily mine alone. Then I uploaded the thought ramble and picked the date it would publish — Jan 17. I’m sure you didn’t hear my laughter! The publish date was very appropriate for this thought ramble. The anniversary of my mother’s and brother’s passing is January 19. I never knew the anniversary date until my father passed and I found an old newspaper clipping. Neither my father nor any of my relatives mentioned it.

This isn’t the first time that the subject of my ramble coincided with some important date. I understand the relevance at the time but don’t note the reason for future reference — EXCEPT this one was too noteworthy.

The temperature of the weather in December was above normal — snow wasn’t in the forecast either. A nice change from the year before. Then January arrived with winter temperatures — single digits with a noticeable wind chill. Before taking Robin for a predawn walk, I put on my thermals and found a long scarf to go with my hat and mittens. Robin was wrapped in one of her coats. Most people were sleeping in, recovering from the night before. We met an older woman walking Charlie, her chocolate lab. It is no secret that I miss Mabel, our chocolate lab. Charlie loves our meet and greet. Robin doesn’t get upset when I spend a few minutes scratching his body. Robin isn’t a people person but she did sniff the owner’s hand. I learned that Charlie came from Oklahoma. Supposedly that is were Robin was born. Happy New Year!

This morning the cold front had passed by. The temperature was in the high teens with barely a wind. Robin didn’t need her extra coat. I didn’t need my thermals. Opening the kitchen door, I heard a cardinal greet the day. He is early and I told him so. The temperature is heading for the single digits next week, wind chills below zero. Last year, my first note of hearing a cardinal sing was the second week of February. We celebrated blue sky, gentle breeze by taking Robin to the beach. Instead of waves, ice now borders the shore.

STILL COUNTING

It dawned on me after I posted COUNTING that I left out a part that was of “help” to me this holiday season. I LOVE to cook — not gourmet — just plain, family style fare. After cooking almost daily for more years than I wish to count, I’m running out of ideas. Of course, the food would also have to be stuff my family would eat. Not as easy as it sounds.

I have more friends in high places this year who also liked to cook. Are they helping to enlighten me? Good question — no answer. Recently I received three recipes that are a hit. One is for chicken in a crockpot. That recipe was on Facebook. A cookie recipe was on the afternoon news. A third for apple pie bites was on a cooking show. All three — from various sources that I don’t always frequent — were a hit with my family. I didn’t plan to get together with a friend before Christmas but suddenly I had a free day and she did too. We stopped in a grocery store where I learned that ham with a $25 purchase for other food was only 79 cents a pound. Ham is a favorite of our family. The sell date was February. I couldn’t pass up the savings. Maybe I should mention that this wasn’t the first time that I have chanced on a deal for ham. Let me say “thank you” just in case I forgot.

Very quiet Christmas morning, walking to Mass behind a family of four. The father whistled a Christmas song as he walked. By now, if you have read many of my rambles, you know I enjoy music. I enjoyed tagging behind the family. Music was abundant at church as well. I attend an early morning Mass. The music director and the cantor where accompanied not only by an organ or piano but also TWO horns, and a violin. This was their first Mass of the day with three more to follow. There were three Masses on the Eve. I didn’t expect the extra accompaniment. The church with the manger and trees with lights was beautiful. On the way home a flock of large birds landed in a neighboring tree. As I wondered who they were, I heard a crow caw. Question answered.

My mother passed over when I was four. I’m confident she has been behind the scenes for all of my years. She was smart and kept her involvement hidden — or I was purposely blocked until my father passed over and let the cat out of the bag. The house we are living in, although in the city, is perfect for us. It was only a mile away from my husband’s job. He didn’t have a long commute every day. It was in an affordable German neighborhood. The neighborhood is no longer affordable — I never dreamed I would be living in a neighborhood that had million dollar houses. It is close to shopping, the lake and I can get downtown via public transportation. It is big enough to shelter my growing family when they come to town. Over a hundred years old, it would not compete with the more expensive houses. Was my mother involved in our search for a house? Many good questions. No answers. And do I really need the question answered?

Still counting my gifts, my family tops the list. I could keep counting my gifts but this ramble is long enough already. It would probably help if I kept a daily list of the many gifts that come my way. That way I might remember but if history repeats itself, I’ll get busy, think I will remember, and forget.

TRUST

TRUST

I’m banging my head against the walls again! No energy, too much weight, etc, etc. And the word that pops up is TRUST! Trust that you are where you are supposed to be — and I do. I have learned that I’m almost always at the right place, at the right time — to either help someone or be helped myself. Let me say that most of the time my being at the right place IS NOT because I PLANNED it.

This morning I took Robin for her morning walk. She chased squirrels, as much as I would let her. We met two dogs that were walking with their person — One dog wanted to play but I won’t let Robin play when there are two dogs with one person EXCEPT for a man back from Texas who walks a three legged dog and a smaller one. The three leg dog likes to play, the smaller one doesn’t. I’ve learned that playing with this twosome is safe. I can’t let Robin off the leash, if she ran I couldn’t catch her. We met a dog whose person doesn’t allow her dog to meet when it is on leash? How strange! We met a dog who only has vision in one eye, who DOES NOT LIKE ROBIN. Robin laid down, refused to move until they were nose to nose and TODAY Emmett played with her. Today, Robin was safe. I wanted to speak to his owner, he would be able to confirm my suspicion that the priest’s dimension had gotten worse. Sadly I was correct. He was forgetting part of the Mass.

Just a short walk — right place, right time.

Deepak Chopra’s meditation this morning contained the statement: “It will surprise you when you see how wise you are.” It has to do with inner wisdom, not life experiences. And sadly, even though I’m pestered to meditate I got nowhere. I’m stubborn, I’ll keep trying. I’m reading Sherri Shepherd’s PLAN D. She talks to God and she HEARS His reply. I talk to God but His reply does not come in the spoken word. Sometimes it is the call of a crow. Sometimes it is a person I meet on the street. Sometimes it is something I hear on the radio or TV, or read in a book. Sometimes the answer is delayed. Every person is unique and the way we receive our answers is also tailored to us. TRUST — keep trying.

I have to laugh. After I wrote this ramble, after breakfast, my husband shared a happening with me. Friday night, in his office, he had a conversation with God. My husband DID NOT hear God’s voice. My husband asked God if He was alive. He said he believed in Him but did not receive any feedback. On Saturday morning, after breakfast, I bought the movie GOD’S NOT DEAD. I did not know of my husband’s conversation the night before. My husband believes he received his answer, so do I.

For many years now I have been learning, step by step, experience by experience — I forget how special my interactions are. I love to hear that others have received answers or help. I especially love it when they are members of my own family. Our son told me that I have a team of “helpers” who vie to help me everyday. I’m sure he is right.

I’m often reminded of Abraham in the bible. It took many years before God’s promises to him became a reality. I don’t know the length of my own life — and truth be told — I really don’t want to know. People who are successful, vibrant, healthy, enjoying life in their eighties, nineties and hundreds are in my vision often. Is that a message to me? I don’t want to speculate on that. But I do know that I want to have the best quality of life that I can have. Therefore — TRUST — KEEP TRYING. My mantra for today.

SUNSHINE

Rain, rain, rain — go away. Too many days — gray skies — damp, cool, wet. Finally a day of sunshine. I ran away from home to the Botanical Gardens and so did the world. I knew I was in trouble when I got off the expressway and entered a long line of sitting traffic. Barely moving, we inched our way to the entrance, resting every foot or two. Many cars turned around. I wondered what my options were. A shopping center was near by but I really didn’t want to be in a store. I WANTED TO ENJOY THE SUNSHINE!

As I approached the entrance I said a prayer that I would find a parking space. I repeated the prayer many times before I gained access. I asked a person directing non moving traffic if there was still parking. I asked another person at the gate about parking also. In fact, I asked which lot might have the best chance. As I drove up the entrance, I saw cars parked along the drive — I was concerned and said another prayer.

The first lot I drove into — I saw people heading for a car. I staked out their parking spot only to have a van with handicap plates pull in behind me. As I waited for the car to load and pull out, I noticed I was blocking another van that was ready to leave. I tried to send hand signals to the car waiting behind me — there are two spots. I didn’t know if they got the message so I tried again. The car I was waiting for pulled out — and I parked. The car that I was blocking — pulled out and the handicapped van parked also. They had a child in a wheelchair. I asked if they understood my hand signals. “Not at first, ” the woman replied. “Then we got the message.” I told her that I had been praying for a parking spot, I was glad they got one too.

The last time I had been at the Garden was during the week, this was a weekend. Daffodils had been in bloom, crab apple trees were waiting. Now daffodils were done, so were the crab apple trees. I was sorry I had missed them. The roses hadn’t started. The garden was waiting for sunshine — warm temperatures. I WAS TOO!

No sense crying for what I had missed — time to enjoy what was there. A man and his son each had an expensive camera, taking pictures of the same scene. I asked if they were having a contest. I didn’t see the swans but before leaving I found the blue heron. Redwing blackbirds sang, robins sang also. I found many photo opportunities. An older woman sat in a wheelchair, pushed by her daughter. I asked if they wanted me to take their picture. Thankfully their photo turned out well. Although I take many pictures, sometimes they are fuzzy — not clear. I don’t always take the time to let the camera focus the shot.

Since I’m by myself, I kibitz with strangers all the time. Thankfully this time I edited my comment before it left my mouth. An older boy pushed a baby stroller with a doll in it. I almost asked him where the missing child was when I noticed that the boy might have been challenged himself and it was his doll.

Right place — right time — all day.

Sadly — the forecast for the next week is RAIN — EVERY DAY! But at least I enjoyed the sunshine for a few hours.

SMART

I don’t know how many times I have heard someone remark that animals are dumb. That person is probably so wrapped up in their own life that they don’t pay attention to the animals around them. Anyone who has watched a squirrel for any length of time as they conquer the contraption that has been set up to stop them from getting food knows how much ingenuity they use to accomplish their mission.

Many years ago, when I spent a summer at our camper, a bird knocked on our window to alert me to a squirrel on the bird feeder. The bird was hungry, it wanted to eat. A different bird knocked on the window when the feeder was empty.

Taking advantage of a warm day, we went to the country to pick up my husband’s 1954 Lincoln. Our mechanic shared a story about his golden retriever. His dog does not want birds in her yard. One day he looked all over for her — when he called, he noticed her head sticking up from top of their pine tree which rises above their house. He told her to come down, which she did, but as he was standing there, she climbed back to the top again.

We were at our daughter’s recently. She has a wireless fence but Robin doesn’t wear the needed collar. We have a long lead that is attached to a stake. It is long enough to allow her to run with their miniature poodle and their golden retriever. Maggie, the retriever, has had a long winter — she has put on weight too. Tired, she stopped Robin from running by sitting on her lead. Robin is younger, she has energy to spare — later Maggie held the lead in her mouth to stop the activity.

All the time we were at our daughter’s it rained every day — there were some dry hours but mostly non stop rain. The sky was cloudy when we left to drive home but rain was forecast. I noticed that Robin was moving around in the back seat, not settling down to sleep. We stopped at the first rest stop, to give her an opportunity to do any business — settle down for the trip. It was a good thing we did — not more than 5 minutes back on the road, the rain started and didn’t stop until we reached home, over an hour later. Thankfully, “my friends” take care of our whole family!”

On a different note — a waitress at a restaurant that we frequent shared a happening with me. (I have shared my stories with her over time so she is aware that I walk to a different drummer.) A few months ago her boyfriend passed over after a long illness. She had not visited the cemetery but was planning on going that day. I told her that he wasn’t there. She replied, “I know but he keeps asking me why I haven’t gone.” Her comment caught my attention. I asked if he appeared to her in a dream. “No,” she said. “While you were awake?” I asked. To which she replied, “Yes. This was the second time he came. So I’m going.”

I can truthfully admit that has NEVER happened to me. I DO NOT SEE spirits — we all have our own talents, we need to honor them.

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