Birds, Everything, Writing

Running Out of Time

For most, Sundays are generally a day of rest and relaxation. They aren’t so much for me, since I work on Sundays, but I do try to enjoy them.

This particular Sunday in May promised warmth and sunshine. After an endless winter with almost no birding, I was determined to bird my heart out. Once I’d escaped the walls of my workplace, I decided to run up to a local city park for a bit of birding.

I’d once promised my friend that I’d take him birding sometime. He was about to move to another state, and we’d probably not get another chance to bird together before he moved. So on a whim, that “sometime” had finally arrived.

I called him up and said I’d be by to pick him up in 10 if he was willing. He was.

We set out, with only a few hours of daylight to spare. The park greeted us with a sign: “Gates are locked at 9:00.”

Essentially, get out by 9:00 or get in trouble.

Being a Hermione Granger wannabe, I took note of the time and mentally mapped our route.

The park has so much to offer birders, and there was no time to show my friend all of my favorite birding spots. I would have to make a decision.

I chose to go around a trail along the water, which promised loads of visible birds, and if there was time, we’d go visit the Great Horned Owl chicks on the other side of the park and exit out the 2nd gate.

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So, on we went, around the trail.

We made record time and saw numerous birds: yellow warblers, woodpeckers, tree swallows, herons, coots, and even a bald eagle.

My friend was impressed. “How did you manage to see that? He’s so well-camouflaged.”

“Magic… or knowing where to look.”


We eventually trekked our way up the hill on the other side of the loop (why do I always go the way that takes me UP the hill?!), and we soon emerged in the parking lot.

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We raced to the car and quickly said “goodbye” to the Turkey Vulture that lives by the parking lot and began our drive to where the Great Horned Owls were, parked, and started speed-walking down the hill.

It was 8:40.

We had twenty minutes.

All of a sudden, we hear over a loudspeaker: “The park is about to close at 9:00; you’ll need to leave soon.”

At first, I thought it was a general announcement to all of the people in the area. We continued on our trek until he repeated the warning.

We turned to see a police officer sitting in his patrol vehicle.

I nearly jumped out of my hiking boots.

Me, being me, I immediately started to go back. My friend hesitated. He’s not a fan of the police, but he wanted to see the owls.

The officer noticed the hesitation and asked what we were going to see.

I said that I just wanted to show my friend a bird on the hill and we’d leave. I told him the bird was right around the corner.

The officer said over the speaker, “Well, okay, but if you’re still here after 9:00, you’ll get a ticket.”

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I promised that we’d be gone in five minutes.

And we were.

We ran up the hill, to the owls, glimpsed the babies in the nest, and got out of there before you could say bubo virginianus.

We still had five minutes to spare by the time we left the park.

Whew.

Now, I would not recommend you race the clock in a city park and narrowly miss getting a ticket to see a bird, BUT the look on my friend’s face after seeing the owls was priceless.

I’m really thankful we got the chance to see the owls, and I’m extremely thankful the officer allowed us to go, peacefully.

My friend’s day had been made, and I was able to fulfill my promise to him.

In the time since our adventure, I learned the tree the owls nested in fell (long after the babies fledged, thankfully), so it’s very likely that we would never have gotten another opportunity to see them.

It was a fun (albeit thrilling) way to introduce my friend to birding, and it was awesome to see some very sassy-looking baby owls.

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Everything, Poetry, Theatre, Writing

It Does Not Rise the Same

Flying faster and harder than had been known for her species before, the bird pushes through the sky.

She dodges buildings and trees and airplanes as they seem to leap into her path.

Still faster and faster she flies.

Into the darkness.

She knows that she can fly harder, so she does. And she’s carrying extra burdens, extra weight to carry with her. Sticks for her nest, food for later.

Still she flies. Pushing through the sky.

She knows that if she burns herself out, it’s fine.

She’s a Phoenix. She will always rise from her ashes.

So she continues to fly and fly and fly.

But something changes.

She loses her grip on the burdens. Sticks start to slip from her grasp.

A predator swoops in, steals her food, and is gone before she’s registered what’s happened.

She’s left with nothing but herself.

Still she pushes on.

Through the sky.

Faster.

You see, she’s set herself up to compete with birds of other species. Smaller ones, faster ones. Ones who can travel at that rate.

A rate at which she was not meant to travel.

The birds of other species love the Phoenix, but they don’t understand her need to keep up with them.

For she is a fine bird. But the Phoenix does not see it so.

So she competes.

Faster.

And faster.

Until it’s too much.

She starts to burn, but she doesn’t fear. She knows she will rise again from her ashes.

Like always.

So she embraces the warmth.

Until it’s gone.

Everything’s gone.

It’s just her mind.

Just her.

Then, nothing.

Puzzled, the other birds gather ’round the ashes, waiting.

Although a different kind of bird, she was unique.

Setting her standards high and her expectations higher proved to be her downfall.

Tentatively, the other birds approach the ashes.

There, they spot it. The tiniest baby bird, unlike that of a Phoenix.

It’s still the Phoenix, but the others don’t know it just yet.

She’s taken on a new form.

She’s smaller and lighter, but she cannot carry the loads of her past self.

She must only carry herself.

Whether she will grow into a better bird is yet to be seen.

But, she must start from scratch.

As herself.

And though she does not yet realize it, she has a whole group of other birds who will show her the way.

As she rises again, yet not the same.


This is a first draft.

Everything, Writing

Daily Prompt: Relocating Reflections

via Daily Prompt: Relocate

What does it mean to relocate?

We can relocate our lives. We can take new jobs and move to a new city, state, or country. We can move within our own city and feel as though we’re relocating.IMG_9985

I’ve recently moved from a townhome into an apartment in the city, and I feel like I’ve moved halfway across the country.

We can even relocate our relationships, in a way. We can change our focus, we can move away from relationships that are causing us harm. We can move toward relationships that provide value for our lives.

I’ve had quite a few people relocate in my life, some people who are very close to me. Some relocations by choice, others by necessity.

Personally, I love moving. I always reach for a chance for a fresh start. I love being able to start over and say, “let’s go.”

I kind of see “relocate” as “restart” or “refresh.”

This can happen at any time, even in the middle of a day.

You can physically move, you can move your thinking, you can move your focus in your life.

You can relocate.

 

Current Events, Everything, Poetry, Writing

The Bubble of Ignorance – Part 2

Okay, firstly, I hadn’t intended on publishing something twice in a row. This is my 100th post, and it’s not what I envisioned sharing. But this is the world we live in now, and I can’t make happy, woo, cutesy posts when our world is continuing to face terrible acts of injustice, murder, and hatred.

Over two years ago, I wrote and later published a post about my feelings on the so-called Islamic State.

In those two years, my knowledge and understanding about how they work has grown.

I’ve started speaking out more about them, as well as many other injustices happening around the world. Since publishing that post, I have made an effort to not live in my bubble of ignorance. I’ve started protesting and educating myself and people around me about what’s going on. I’ve become particularly passionate about what’s going on in Syria.

Okay, enough intro. Here’s my follow up on The Bubble of Ignorance, especially in the wake of the attack on the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Once again, it’s unedited because I just wrote it.


Here you sit, in your bubble of ignorance.

I suppose it’s better than indifference and apathy.

But you laugh at me

When I call you out.

“What more can I do?” You say, as you scroll through Facebook endlessly.

Your thoughts and prayers are with them, you say,

When in actuality,

You’re hoping that I just go away

And let you return

To your bubble of ignorance.

Because you can’t be blamed for not acting

When you simply didn’t know

About the killing

Or the drilling

Or the missing

Or the chilling scenes of death, despair, and destruction

That flood my Facebook feed, but somehow you’ve tailored your feed

To only show you things you want to see.

That’s fair,

But you know what isn’t?

That you get to sit happily in your bubble of ignorance

While PEOPLE in Syria

And around the world

Are crying

Are DYING

Are trying to get to safety.

Are risking everything for their family.

When all you risk is your “image.”

“Facebook should be about happy things,” you say.

Fine, and by the way,

Your privilege says, “Hey.”

You can’t rush away from this injustice.

Now, trust us,

You’ll be asking for trouble

If you’re caught

Sitting in your bubble

Of ignorance.

Everything, Poetry, Writing

The Open Mic

Ten feet away, an idol stands at a microphone in front of her.

The idol announces that her turn is up in 3, and she isn’t sure

whether she’s ready.

She’s never been one to be so real

in front of strangers, and she doesn’t want to steal

the spotlight from people

whose stories matter more than hers.

Not that she thinks she’s any good.

It’s the opposite. She supposes she could

decide to leave or withdraw, but she sticks it out.

She practically blacks out during the next two sets,

but she tries to focus.

The man before her is powerful

with a message that empowers.

Will her message empower?

No.

But it’s her turn.

The idol returns and announces that she’s up.

Is that really her name? It sounds unnatural, and she wants to throw up.

But she stands up

and faces the open mic.

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I did my very first open mic the other night. I read Stubborn and Enough. I think it went well, but it was terrifying. Thanks to everyone who supported me that night, and special thanks to Kristine for taking me.

A bunny bag sits on a shelf. Others sit below it.
Everything, Libraries, Poetry, Writing

A Journey to Tiny Hands

A lone bag slouches on a shelf.A bunny bag sits on a shelf. Others sit below it.

Filled with books, all ready for tiny hands.

It sits.

And sits.

And waits.

A lone being approaches the bag, smiling.

It lifts the bag and brings it to a cart.

It’s filled with other, bigger bags.

A day passes.

The bags wait.

The being returns and moves the cart to a vehicle

Where it loads the bags and cart.

The vehicle moves for what seems like ages.

It stops.

The being is back, and it lifts the bag and carries it into a house.

After some time, the tiny hands appear.

Two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve, too many to count.

They empty the bag.

Waiting to be refilled, it sits on the floor, satisfied that it has brought the books to the tiny hands.

A month passes.

The being returns.

The bag is refilled,

Reset in the vehicle,

Transported home,

Cleaned, and set on the shelf

Where it will wait for the next being who will transport it to new sets of tiny hands.