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Poetry Sunday: The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

This may be my favorite of Mary Oliver's poems. It is certainly in the top five. And it is one of her most famous, deservedly so. I am particularly struck by the lines that say "I don't know exactly what a prayer is, but I know how to pay attention," and I can only smile my assent to that. Perhaps that is enough. The question she asks in the last lines may be the most important one that we all have to answer: What will we do with our one wild and precious life?   The Summer Day by Mary Oliver Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean— the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down— who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away. I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do

This week in birds - #587

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  A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment : This is a joro spider and evidently we can expect an invasion of them in the eastern part of the continent this summer. They are venomous but shy and do not pose much of a threat to humans. *~*~*~* Seabird populations can be devastated by tropical cyclones . *~*~*~* Pharmaceutical and illegal drug pollution is a growing threat to wildlife . *~*~*~* John James Audubon has long been honored for inspiring the conservation movement, but a closer examination of his life shows that he was a racist who profited from the slave trade. *~*~*~* A woman in California was killed in an attack by a black bear , the first known attack of its kind. It is unclear what precipitated the attack. *~*~*~* The revival of medieval farming practices in Europe is offering a welcome refuge to wildlife. *~*~*~* It turns out that climate change is taking a toll on soil-dwelling invertebrates.  *~*~*~* Amateur archaeologists in England are making

Poetry Sunday: June by James Russell Lowell

Welcome to the gentle days of June. Before too long the heat of summer will be upon us but until then let us enjoy these "rare" and "perfect" days. June by James Russell Lowell What is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days; Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune, And over it softly her warm ear lays: Whether we look, or whether we listen, We hear life murmur, or see it glisten; Every clod feels a stir of might, An instinct within it that reaches and towers, And, groping blindly above it for light, Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers; The flush of life may well be seen Thrilling back over hills and valleys; The cowslip startles in meadows green. The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice, And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean To be some happy creature's palace; The little bird sits at his door in the sun, Atilt like a blossom among the leaves, And lets his illumined being o'errun With the deluge of summer it receives

No TWIB

One would not imagine that having a broken bone in one's foot would impair one's ability to put together news tidbits from the world of birds and Nature, but apparently one would be wrong. At any rate, it has impaired my ability and I was not able to gather the information needed for the weekly "This Week in Birds" post. I apologize to my faithful readers who look for it and promise that I will try to get back to what passes for normal for me next week. In the meantime, thank you to those who have expressed concern and well wishes. You are much appreciated.    

Poetry Sunday: The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski

While looking for a poem to feature this week, I came upon this one and it immediately grabbed my "laughing heart." I especially loved these lines: "there is light somewhere. it may not be much light but it beats the darkness." And these: "you can't beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes." Better the light than the darkness and here's to beating death in life. And so my poem of the week was chosen. I hope you like it, too.   The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski your life is your life don't let it be clubbed into dank submission. be on the watch. there are ways out. there is a light somewhere. it may not be much light but it beats the darkness. be on the watch. the gods will offer you chances. know them. take them. you can't beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes. and the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be. your life is your life. know it while you have it. you are marvelous the gods wai

This week in birds - #586

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A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment : My son-in-law is currently in China on a business trip and he sent me pictures of some of the various birds he has seen there. Among them were these, of what I identified as an Oriental Magpie , a lovely bird, which is apparently quite common there. *~*~*~*

Poetry Sunday: It Is Not Always May by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

May has been called the "queen of months" and for good reason. At least in the northern hemisphere, it is likely the most pleasant of months. But as the poet says, we should enjoy it while it lasts for it is not always May. It Is Not Always May by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow The sun is bright,the air is clear, The darting swallows soar and sing, And from the stately elms I hear The blue-bird prophesying Spring. So blue yon winding river flows, It seems an outlet from the sky, Where waiting till the west wind blows, The freighted clouds at anchor lie. All things are new; the buds, the leaves, That gild the elm-tree's nodding crest, And even the nest beneath the eaves; There are no birds in last year's nest! All things rejoice in youth and love, The fulness of their first delight! And learn from the soft heavens above The melting tenderness of night. Maiden, that read'st

Home again!

Yes, it's true! I am home again after my INTERMINABLE stay in the hospital and then a nursing home. (Well, actually a few days.) The old homestead never looked so good to me as when my daughter turned the car onto our street. I want to thank my readers who offered their good thoughts and wishes to me following my accident. You are SO much appreciated! The ankle is still broken and in a most uncomfortable "boot" so I'm learning to navigate a wheelchair and a walker. But it will heal and this will pass. It just gives me a great deal of appreciation and empathy for those who must deal with such encumbrances as a usual part of their lives. Again, thank you for remembering me, and keep sending that positive energy my way! 

Note to readers

 I am currently in the hospital, having fallen and broken my right ankle. After this I will have to go to a rehab center for a while so posting may be sketchy. Keep me in your thoughts as I try to heal.

This week in birds - #585

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  A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment : My 'Christmas Cheer' dwarf azalea is in bloom. Obviously, its calendar or its name is a bit off. The plant was a gift to me on the death of my mother twenty-three years ago this month and I treasure it. *~*~*~* The swallowtail butterflies are beginning to make their appearance so it must truly be spring. *~*~*~* Are you ready for the solar eclipse on April 8 ? Plants and animals, unlike you, might not be able to anticipate the eclipse but they will respond as Nature disposes them to. *~*~*~* Climate change is increasing the chances of glacial lake floods in the Andes. *~*~*~* What are the signs that spring is truly here to stay? *~*~*~* Should orcas be split into two distinct species ? *~*~*~* Punxsutawney Phil and Phyllis have welcomed two baby groundhogs to the family. *~*~*~* How do birds manage to remember where they have stored food? It turns out they create a kind of memory barcode to guide them. *~*~*