Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sanctuary in the city

A few weeks back, Tim and I spent some time at the Ogden Nature Center.  It had been many years since I last visited, and I am grateful we went.  This place is truly an oasis of nature in the middle of a business/industrial area and close to an interstate.  We saw lots of birds (robins, chickadees, belted kingfishers, Canada geese), a few mule deer, a feral cat, and dozens of handmade bird houses spread over acres of forest and meadow.  The visitor center (which is a green building) is wonderful as well with loads of informative books, wildlife- and nature-related gifts, and a classroom where they teach all sorts of fun things such as how to make a felted owl.  It's a lovely welcome to the preserve as it  appears to almost spring forth from the natural landscape surrounding it.


There are also several birds of prey in residence due to injury and/or human imprinting that requires them to live in captivity.  While I enjoy getting to see animals much closer than one likely could in the wild, part of me feels tremendous sadness that they are confined.  I do, however, understand that these particular birds wouldn't survive in the wild on their own.  They also provide educational opportunities for ornithologists, conservationists, and the general public.  If you love birds, here are a few of the species you'd find:  barn owl, raven, peregrine falcon, golden eagle, bald eagle, screech owl, kestrel.  Please check their website to find out about educational opportunities and scheduled activities.  I wish we lived closer so I could volunteer here.

There's something rather soul-stirring in making eye contact with a bald eagle.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Victoria Erickson (instagram: Victoria1031) (facebook: Victoria Erickson, writer):

I realize that the outcome of yesterday's Presidential election has evoked countless emotions from fear and anxiety to happiness and excitement and pretty much everything in between.  I know many I love are bewildered or angry, and some of them are happy that their candidate won. 

Today, I've chosen to sit quietly.  To listen to meditation and soundtrack playlists on YouTube.  To savor hot cups of tea.  To peruse bucolic, inspiring, and ethereal photography boards on Pinterest.  To cuddle on the couch under a soft quilt.  Not out of sadness but rather reflection.

I am what is considered a highly sensitive person.  I get overwhelmed easily by loud sounds, crowds, noisy restaurants, images of sad things, violent words and movies, that kind of thing.  I startle easily too.  But when I awoke at 3:30 am and was unable to return to sleep, I decided that calmness is the way forward.  I, like many, can often look at the proverbial glass as half empty rather than half full.  I mean, I am scared of the overt racism, misogyny, religious intolerance, disdain for opposing opinions, and overarching language of fear and intimidation that has taken place in these last months from so many sources, in so many forums.  There were many moments of gobsmacking incredulity.  A lot of it terrified me actually.  Especially because it seemed so ubiquitous.  But I cannot dwell there.  I can't look at anything as being half full or hopeless, nor can I embrace despair.  I will do my utmost to hope because I want to think that somehow what's best for this country will outweigh cruelty and ignorance from any source. 

As folks have already said, "go high" and "we're stronger together."  I will respectively try and believe because negativity just doesn't work in the long haul.  It puts energy into something unsustainable.  

You may, as I did, find comfort in Mr. George Takei's words from his Facebook page last night.  Please keep an open mind, no matter how you voted.  I trust his intent.
I am addressing this to all who voted to defeat Donald Trump and what he represents. We may not have prevailed, but we must not despair.
Many of you are, like me, in a state of shock. This does not feel like the America you love and honor. We are in unchartered waters. In times like these we must reaffirm the values we cherish and have fought for: equality, justice, the care of our planet. We must stand up defiantly to any dark or divisive acts, and look out for the most vulnerable among us. It is more important than ever.
Within our hearts we know the society we wish to live in. No one can take that vision from us. We are each of us keepers of that promise. This country has seen wars and grave injustices, slavery and even civil war in its past. Yet we found our way through.
Hold your loved ones close. Tell them that it is in times of sadness and in the toughest of days where we often find our true mettle.