Monday, April 25, 2016

Good Walking - and Other Stuff

One step at a time is good walking.
~   Chinese proverb

There is some white stuff falling steadily from the sky as I type this but there was a short string of especially warm spring days, last week. I got out to enjoy the weather a few times, and of course, my camera came along for the walk. I couldn't help but notice the many ways there were to get around while out there - walking, cycling, rolling, towing, flying and slithering. Here are some of those and a few more.

This guy kept a wary eye on me until I got a little too close...

gull take off eh
And then he turned tail and flew off.

A little one slept in the back while the dad biked around the lake.

There's nary a train in sight but that guy at the curve in the tracks is struggling with a shopping cart.

A couple of boys abandoned their skateboards because they were preoccupied with something they found to be more interesting (coming up soon).

This young cutie's chariot awaits her - whenever her little feet get tired of walking.

The next two photos were from the following day but they fit the theme well enough.

paddle and strum2
I was out by the lake enjoying a coffee with a friend when we noticed this boat being lowered into the lake. Of course, I wandered over to get a few pics.

paddle and strum
The boaters were smiling - as were we. My friend requested "Stairway to Heaven" and the guitarist quickly obliged, evoking a chuckle from all.

Back to the previous day, this woman jogged past me with a thoughtful warning. "Just a heads up - there are snakes back there."

And that brings us to what had distracted the young skateboarders from the earlier photo. I'm giving you the same heads up. If you're not fond of snakes, you can skip the rest of the photos.

ball python5
Each boy held one of a pair of harmless Ball Pythons which a man brought to the park so that they could enjoy the afternoon sunshine. There's not much more to say about this slithering set so instead, I'll offer up a few quotes to accompany them.

ball python3
Stop feeding the snake around your neck. One day it will grow strong enough to strangle you. ~ Johanna Georgsson

ball python10
The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die.
As well, the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

ball python4
He's the devil in disguise, a snake with blue eyes and he only comes out at night. ~ Carrie Underwood

ball python7
When I was 16, I worked in a pet store. And they fired me because they had three snakes in there, and one day I braided them.
~ Steven Wright

ball python2
Were you always such a snake," the child asked, "or did you grow into what you are?" ~ Dean Koontz

ball python8
A snake can change its skin but not its disposition. ~ Persian Proverb

ball python
Truth is as straight as an arrow, while a lie swivels like a snake. ~ Suzy Kassem

ball python9Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake. ~ W C Fields

Thanks for joining me on my walk while those around us jogged, flew, cycled, rowed and slithered.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Dark Side of the Heron

The female blue heron hears the love screech of the male. She picks her heart's desire and settles on a branch nearby. The male immediately begins to court her. The moment she indicates interest and approaches him, though, he changes his mind, becomes unpleasant, shoos her away, or even attacks her. As soon as the discouraged female flies off, he screeches after her. If she gives him another chance and flies back, he may very well attack her again. Gradually, though, should the female's patience last that long, the fickle male's grumpiness subsides and he may actually be ready to mate. He is conflicted and ambivalent. Sex and aggression are mixed up in his mind, and the confusion is so profound that, if not for the patience of the female, this species might fail to reproduce itself. If ever there was an avian candidate for psychotherapy, the male blue heron is our nominee. ~Carl Sagan

These photos are from last summer. A heron was becoming increasingly troublesome and lazy about its proper fishing habits, turning instead to the furry rodent buffet which presented itself to him at the base of the bird feeders. Multiple feeding stations were kept full year-round to attract hoards of birds, which it did. But it also drew red squirrels, grey squirrels and chipmunks - and flying squirrels and raccoons at night. The heron in turn, continuously stalked these cute little daytime beasties, and all too often could be seen making off with one of them in its bill. It would seem that overstocking leads to over-stalking.

This is the darker side of the heron (quote-wise).

heron strolling
I think the very word stalking implies that you're not supposed to like it. Otherwise, it would be called 'fluffy harmless observation time'.
~ Molly Harper
This is more or less where the heron is supposed to be - checking out the lake for fishing prospect. This was right after one of the many times it was chased away from trying to capture Chip or Dale.

blue on watch
It is a negligence of the mind not to notice how at dusk, heron comes to the pond and stands there in his death robes.
~ Mary Oliver
Contemplating its next move.

blue take off eh
I think anybody with an insecurity, which is everyone, appreciates the fact that it's much easier to be a predator than it is to be prey.
~ James Van Der Beek
It turned and left the dock in search of a place to fish, presumably.

blue soar
Lazy and indifferent, shaking space easily from his wings, knowing his way, the heron passes over the church beneath the sky. White and distant, absorbed in itself, endlessly the sky covers and uncovers, moves and remains.
~ Virginia Woolf
It seemed to have a place in mind.

great blue takeoff
A stilted heron labored up into the air and pounded down the river. ~ John Steinbeck
Wings raised in a hopeful V for victory.

great blue takeoff2
Freedom is only the distance between the hunter and his prey. ~ Zhenkai
Unsuccessful, or unwilling to put the work into it, it turned back to see if it could make its way back to the chipmunk diner.

great blue landing
The man flaps about with a bunch of feathers: the woman goes to work softly with a cloth.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
I think it was just having a bad heron day. ;)

blue face
If you wanna find out what's behind these cold eyes You'll just have to claw your way through this disguise. ~ Pink Floyd
Yep, back on land in search of furry critters in a day-long feeding frenzy for all.

More photos will be on the wing soon