WINTER 2015 – THE TIME CAPSULE

Time Capsule – What would you put in this year’s time capsule to channel the essence of our current moment for future generations?


It would have to be an electrified, refrigerated time capsule because aside from the technical problem involved in keeping stuff frozen indefinitely, there’s but one possible answer, at least if you live around here.

Snow. Ice. More snow. More ice.

For your shivery pleasure, here’s a summary of the past 6 weeks:

CARDINAL ON A SNOWY MORNING

Imitation/Flattery

Today’s Daily Post suggests I write about something — anything — in the style of my favorite blogger. (Be sure to link to them!) I don’t have a favorite blogger. I have a lot of favorite bloggers, each a favorite for a different reason. Some make me laugh, others make me think. Their work entertains and inspires me … but how could I imitate one of them?


I have been left pondering the conundrum. I love my blogging friends … but copy someone’s style? I don’t think I can. It’s not they aren’t great writers, but imitable style is something else again. A favorite author, maybe Hemingway with his short, sharp, sentences. He’s easy to parody. Poe. Faulkner. Joyce. Wolfe. Easy to make fun of them, but I’m sure parody is not the same as imitation. And surely it’s not flattery.

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What to do? Then, an epiphany. Many of my favorite bloggers don’t write, or at least, not much. They are photographers. By fortuitous circumstance, this very morning I spied a flash of red in the big forsythia bush. I ran for a camera, all the while thinking of Suzanne Rogers, who takes gorgeous pictures of wildlife around her home.

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She doesn’t use a lot of words, but posts amazing pictures — especially of birds. Other creatures also populate her world, but the birds seem to steal the show.

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So not so much in imitation of A Window Into the Woods, but more in acknowledgement of her beautiful work, I present (short drumroll) — Cardinal On A Snowy Morning.

BISHOP IN THE SNOW – NEW PICTURES!

72-Bishop_01It didn’t snow a lot today — at least not compared to a lot of other days — but it snowed and is still snowing. I keep hoping it’s the last one. That the winds will change and spring will begin to inch into the world.

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Not everyone is tired of winter.

Today, after the new snow, Bishop didn't want to come in ... until he heard the sound of biscuits being offered ...

Today, after the new snow, Bishop didn’t want to come in … until he heard the sound of biscuits being offered …

Bishop, our big Australian Shepherd, of all our dogs, loves winter. His coat is so thick, so weather-proof, he will — by choice — sleep in a snow drift and let the little dogs use his body as a mattress. They have their own flap door, so this is their choice. They come and go as they please.

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To each his or her own. I prefer my recliner and a hot cup of coffee. Or tea.

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ANYTHING BUT SPIDERS

I’m afraid of spiders. Not because they are dangerous, though some are. Not because they are poisonous. I’m afraid of spiders because they make my skin crawl. They scare me half to death and it doesn’t have to be a particularly malevolent member of the species. Under the right circumstance — like when I’m sleeping and wake up to find a spider on me — I can actually levitate from fear. Rise right up off the mattress, screaming. Wake everyone in the house.

A friend of mine was attacked by a wolf spider while sun bathing on her patio in Arizona. The thing was the size of a small dinner plate (dessert plate?) and landed on her breast, then proceeded to take a chunk out of her. The pain was one thing. The fear was so intense she promptly sold her house and moved to a place where there are no wolf spiders. I’m with her.

Giant forest scorpian (heterometrus laoticus)

Giant forest scorpion (heterometrus laoticus)

I lived in Israel and did not deal well with scorpions. I am not physically brave. I will take emotional and professional risks, no problem. One garden spider will unglue me.

Do I remember the last time this happened? No. There have been so many times. The best thing about a mindless phobia? You only have to imagine there’s a spider nearby to get your heart pounding, your blood rushing in your ears. It could turn be a bit of dust or dog hair brushing your leg. Or an ant.

It’s the thought that counts.


Fight or Flight – Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

A WORLD FULL OF FRIENDS

Daily Prompt: Cut Off – When was the last time you felt really, truly lonely?


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Until this morning when I saw this prompt, I was feeling pretty good about the friends and relationships I’ve formed during the past three years of blogging. Now why would you go and ask this question? The people who write these prompts must be very young. They are forever bringing up depressing topics that are real downers. Only the young think it’s fun to explore bad times.

But here’s a real, no kidding, response. Because Garry and I were talking about this very thing last night before bed.


Years ago, when I moved to Israel, I was suddenly a single mother in a new country with no friends, or acquaintances. Most people spoke English only a little and the customs were different. Emigrating to another country and culture is hard, but that’s what I signed up for. I wanted culture shock. I wanted something different, new. I wanted to tough it out and discover I could do it on my own. I was just 30 and I was ready to take on the world.

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It has been a long time since I felt that way. Nothing I could do in my native land and language, could match or exceed the isolation of being on my own on foreign soil.

Of course I felt lonely and isolated. I really was isolated. It wasn’t a mood I was in, or a feeling. It was reality, even though it was in a place I had chosen. With all its perils, change is healthy.

I am not lonely anymore. Being physically challenged, if this were even 25 years ago, I probably would be. The Internet lets me reach out and find friends all over the world. You — yes, you with your pot of tea and crumpets — have rocked my world. You are my friends, my support. How can I be lonely with wonderful friends like you?

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Across continents and oceans, from every corner and culture around the globe, you are my friends. I have a whole world full of friends. What a wonder this blogging thing has turned out to be!

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

Ice and snow still covers our land. It snowed several inches overnight. But it’s warmer today. Above freezing for the first time in weeks. I believe this is the first day of the great melting. Everything is dripping.

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I opened my window. I was able to pull off the sheath of ice which has clung to the window frame for weeks. I looked below and saw that birds had gathered.

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This land is home for many creatures, humans being the only primate. Some years, a bobcat lived here. Those years, we had few small animals. Our local bobcats are about the size of a large house cat, but powerful for their size, with a voracious appetite for squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits.

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We have birds. Buntings, woodpeckers, chickadee, robins, cardinals, jays, crows, hawks, American eagles. Big red-winged hawks who like to chow down in our driveway. It isn’t a charming sight. I’m always grateful when the big birds leave and take their leftovers with them.

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Coyotes are always nearby, as are fishers, raccoon, and skunk. Opossum, snakes, chipmunk. Our greatly reduced squirrel and rabbit population hasn’t quite rebounded from several years of depredations by bobcats. The cats have moved on to other hunting grounds. I hope our squirrels and bunnies will be back.

I hear owls, though have never see them. There are deer in the woods. Garry sees them from time to time. I’ve caught glimpses, but never a clear view.

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This morning, the birds were camped out in the frosty forsythia hedge. It must provide something they can eat. While I watched, a dark furry shape slunk by. Fisher? Fishers have returned to the valley after having been hunted to near extinction. Now, they vie with human for space to hang out in the sun … and being rather bad-tempered and sharp-clawed, usually take the field. One of them takes over our back yard on warm summer days. He likes napping in the sunny areas and does not (apparently) want human company.

The birds are not afraid of the fisher. Their perches on the forsythia put them above the fisher. He cannot get them. He knows it. They know it. He moved on, hoping for an unwary chipmunk or a juicy rat. Pickings have been lean for prey and predator on this  land, this winter.

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I like our land as it is. We use a bit for the house, a bit more for two small yards, front and back, and a driveway. The rest of our acreage belongs to the wild things.


A Plot of Earth – You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please. What’s the plan?

EEK, ICK, YUK

Wolf Spider (Virginia, USA)

Wolf Spider (Photo: Wikipedia)

I’m afraid of spiders. Not because they are dangerous, though some are. Not because of the potential toxicity. I’m afraid of spiders because they are creepy, make my skin crawl, and make me scream like a little girl.

EEK, I shriek and jump straight out of my chair with my heart pounding like a trip hammer. The loudness of my EEK and the hysterical pounding in my chest is in direct proportion to the blackness and largeness of the spider. Bigger is scarier. Big, black and hairy might actually kill me from sheer panic and irrational terror.

A friend of mine was attacked by a wolf spider while sun bathing on her patio in Arizona. The thing was the size of a dessert plate. It landed on her breast and proceeded to take a chunk out of her. The pain was minor compared to the fear. Her terror was so intense she sold her house and moved to a place where there are no wolf spiders.

I’m with her.

But today, I am a warrior. I am a woman of power and pride.

I went into my bedroom to change my clothing this afternoon. There, in the middle of my white blanketed bed was a medium-sized black garden spider. Did I scream in panic? Did I even go EEK?

I rallied my womanly strength, balled up my clean pink tee-shirt I had just taken from my cupboard and squished it. Kept at it until it was nothing but a black smear of used-to-be-a-spider. Then, I put the tee-shirt on.

I went and told my husband. He gave me a proud thumb’s up.

I wear dead spider proudly. I am woman. Hear me roar.