Friend or foe, Fox or friend

Often I listen to Talk Radio while running errands. The other day, the host was wondering how news reporters can watch someone in a dire situation and not rush to aid. For a photographer, if they stop, they will lose their shot. Of course, there are times you can’t help and you can only witness. I have read about many who picked up their camera afterward and continued. They saved the day but lost the moment.

This topic intrigued me. Turning the question around, asking what would I do? I’d like to think that I’d jump in to help but you won’t know till you are in the moment.The husband says, there are two types of people. Those that run towards an opportunity or away from a problem. However, there’s a third option, those that don’t react and do nothing.

Later in the day. Jess and I went apple picking with friends. It was a beautiful day to walk in the orchard. The trees were heavy with fruit and it was easy pickings. It didn’t take long to fill our bags with apples.

As we headed back, slowly meandering out, Jess was leading the way. She was about forty-two feet ahead of us ( I’m specific because I replayed this event in my mind. I’ve also walked enough courses for fences to know my stride.)

Just after the bend in the dirt road, I glanced up at Jess and my heart stopped. There was a Red Fox jumping at her feet! Jess had a small bottle of bubbles in her right hand and she was holding it high above her head as if she were playing keep away. The fox seemed interested in what she had and was dancing around her.

Instantly, I started running towards Jess yelling, “go, go, go…”. All I could do was make noise so the fox would move along. I sensed that Jess would want to reach down to pet him like she does when she is greeted by a dog. The thought that should could get bitten made me run faster.

Fox tend to keep their distance from people. To be approached could mean he was sick but this one looked healthy. My guess is he lives in the orchard and has become comfortable with humans, maybe had been released after rehabilitation.  Regardless, I reacted and didn’t think.

While I was alarmed, my friends were not. Was this because it wasn’t their child, or was it because they didn’t grow up on a farm? Their laid-back nature made me feel like a drama queen. (found out later that one didn’t see and the other caught a glimpse, so this explains)

We were a short walk back to the register (where we’d weigh and pay for the apples), Jess voiced her displeasure the whole way. Because I yelled, she thought she was in trouble and protested the unfairness all the way back to our car. She had been minding her own business, hadn’t done anything wrong, was not afraid of the fox and couldn’t understand why she had been wrongly accused.

Over and over I repeated why I was scared. I explained that whenever an animal shows unusual behavior, you need to be careful. It took us both awhile to calm down.

Earlier this summer, the husband saw a Black Bear walking through our backyard. I griefed him about not taking a photo. Now I get it. I understand how he felt. Even though the bear was just passing through, it was unusual to see and he went into protection mode.

It’s been a few days and I can still visualize the fox standing at Jess’s feet, his eyes turning to look at me before fox-trotting off. He did not understand why he was being yelled at. I’m sure he too felt he did nothing wrong. It’s human nature to fear what we don’t understand.

Not till I had shooed the fox did I say “damn, that would have been an awesome photo”.

It’s ironic, after raising the “what would I do” question that I was tested.

I guess the answer depends on what your element is. I may not have street smarts but have lived on farms, This is my comfort zone.

I love knowing that Jess is an animal whisperer. It’s one of her gifts. Animals sense that she will not harm. Dog, cats, and horses are drawn to her, so why not foxes? It’s all beginning to make perfect sense.

Chasing dreams

Over the summer, I had a bad case of writer’s block. I had nothing, nada, zilch. 

Looking for inspiration, I listened to a TED talk hoping to learn how writers found their spark. One lecture, had me mesmerized. Elizabeth Gilbert shared about poet Ruth Stone, how she “would run like hell home”, chased by a poem. She had to get to a piece of paper to write before the words thundered through her. If she didn’t write, it would be lost. Continue reading

Playing hooky

Even though we live an hour shy of the shore, I rarely go. I don’t know anything about  traffic patterns, parking or beach badges. Thank goodness for “phone a friend”. Just like the game show “Who wants to be a Millionaire”, if you don’t have an answer, you call someone who does.

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The previous days had been stormy and brutally humid. The weather was breaking and the shore seemed like an ideal place to take our house guest from Ohio. Over dinner, as we were finalizing our day trip, I turned to husband and said “why don’t you join us?”  Then asked Jessie if she wanted to play hooky too.  Hooky is one of her favorite words. It means fun is to be had.

The timing was right, husband was game. As for Jess, one trait people with Angelman Syndrome have is impulsivity.  Sometimes it’s good to break routine.  Didn’t have to ask her twice, she was in.

IMG_1502The next morning we headed for Belmar. At the time, we didn’t realize  we chose the best day. The skies were clear and it wasn’t very crowded.  While husband went to get the badges, I called a rental company.  Within seven minutes, we had umbrellas and lounge chairs delivered and set up. It was like hotel service but without the hotel!

Even though we were slathered in sunscreen, the shade from the umbrella was welcome. Jess planted herself in the sand and was happy as  a wave that dances on the sea.  I was going to say “happy as a clam”, but how do we really know if clams are happy? The ones I’ve known ended up in soup or at a clam shack…IMG_1533

We were not lacking for entertainment. A surf school was in front of us, on the other side of the pier is a relatively new bird sanctuary. Now that they have their own private space, rare birds are making an appearance.

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IMG_1522Good eats were a short stretch down the beach. Specifically, Playa Bowls, a refreshing alternative to fast food.

For fear of getting too much sun, we left around noon. It was too early to head home, so we drove through a few shore towns before ending up at the Seaside boardwalk for lunch. None of us had walking shoes, so we did the tourist thing, we rented a surrey.

 

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With the sky so blue, we couldn’t help but sing the song from Oklahoma,

All the world ‘ll fly in a flurry
When I take you out in the surrey
When I take you out in the surrey
With the fringe on top…

When it was time to head home, we realized that we had been given a gift, time together on a beautiful summer day.  It’s amazing how only nine hours felt like a weeks vacation. It doesn’t get better than that!

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Volunteer…you are needed!

Everyone has their passions. Some like working with the young, the elderly, the disadvantaged and others with special needs. Then there are those who prefer to garden and have their hands in the dirt.  I fall into yet another category, my calling is to work with animals. I once volunteered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, but realized that my gift is with the winged or four legged.

For a few years, I volunteered at the local Wildlife center. Animals that had been displaced, injured or orphaned were brought in every day. My job was to clean and feed.  They had bats, baby bunnies, chipmunks, fox, ground hogs, skunks, squirrels, opossums, snakes, turtles and baby deer, as well as, baby  birds, eagles, hawks, owls and vultures.

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  • The Owl  is a resident and is used for teaching. I picked up the Cardinal on the road. He had been flying in circles, probably neurological. The Wren was one that had been caught in a sticky mouse trap.

The majority of my time was spent with the birds. The babies were fun, but I was enamored with the owls. Like all of the animals at the WLC, they had their own special diet.  The big owls lived in outdoor aviaries, but the smaller screech owls lived inside.  They were fed pinkies which needed to be cut into pieces with scissors.  This job was not for the squeamish.

After a few seasons of cleaning the butts of baby birds, I was ready to do something different. Last year, after we adopted a four-month old puppy from Georgia, I knew where I wanted to volunteer, with Soco.  It’s a tough job playing with puppies, but someone has got to do it.  Of course it involves changing paper and picking up poo, but it’s okay, they are just babies.

Every time I volunteer, I fall in love. For a fleeting moment, my heart makes me want to adopt, but then my brain takes over.  Our home has filled its quota of rescued dog and cats.

How fortunate I feel to have the opportunity to work with dedicated dog lovers. These are mostly rescue dogs, as well as, some who have been surrendered. Georgia is a state that does not have a spay/neuter policy.  If a rescue operation doesn’t step in, their odds of survival are not good.

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Chester, a very sweet boy! He’s about 8 months old.

 

 

Here are just a few photos from  today.  Maybe you will see a face that says “pick me”, don’t hesitate to go and meet them. If you have an opportunity to adopt a rescue, you won’t be disappointed. They know they are lucky dogs to find a  home.

 

 

The puppies:

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What light are you?

Why do the stars not play with the moon? Is it because when he is full and beams so bright, not even a star can shine?

Some stars are distressed when their light has been dimmed, while others are content being in the shadow.

Stars sweep over the sky, but when the moon is full, they acquiesce to the back of the night, waiting patiently for their part of the play.

The sun, she loves the moon and he in turn basks in her love. She generously shares her brilliance, taking joy when he becomes round and full. She’s proud of her son. Continue reading

Excuses!

I’m a procrastinator extraordinaire.  I’m avoiding the installation of Dropbox. From all accounts, it is easy and will simplify my life.  Not only am I not able to rein myself in to focus, but I have an irrational fear of the process. My excuses are now paralleling Jake Blues: