Life and adventures in The Hedge. Because you NEED an alligator in the backyard

Archive for March, 2012

Beach Birds

A quick disclaimer – I am not a big fan of birds. I don’t mind looking at them from a distance, but I have no desire to be close to a free flying bird. I spent my first 7 years of life in a 3 family house in a city. Pigeons were everywhere. I had nightmares about them growing to be 3ft tall and poisonous.

Finally today I got my toes back to the beach for a walk. There is something magical and holy about the sun coming up on the beach. I love to walk on our beach early in the day, but don’t get there frequently. Making a short drive to the beach for an hour to walk just never seems to be on my to-do list. There are less than 50 school days left – the time to get to the beach for a morning walk is dwindling.

Today, I went and as usual my mind wandered. I am a barefoot beach walker. For me, a beach walk is about toes touching sand & feeling the surf. My walks are about enjoying God’s creation as much as they are about getting exercise. If I just look around and pay attention, God gives me a life lesson in each walk.

Today as I approached the beach, I could see others already in their routines. A man in nothing but shorts walking in what appeared to be patterns where the water and sand met; it seemed to be his own personal labyrinth. Next came a woman with her sneakers on and headphones in her ears, eyes fixed down the beach; it seemed she was missing the entire point of using the beach for her walk. There was no communion with nature, appreciation of the sea. Her walk would have been the same inside a concrete box. A runner came by running hard in her sneakers, but her focus and intensity were in harmony with the pounding surf. Finally, ambling along came along another soul like me, perhaps what I want to be in 20 years. Barefooted in shallow surf, walking stick in hand, hat shading her face this older woman was prepared to enjoy her journey.

More people appeared on my walk. Some walked or ran in harmony with the beach. Others seemed to be exercising in spite of the beach.

Then came the birds, and they made me look at the people again.

The first birds were all standing on one foot at the water’s edge. My approach was an obvious threat. Birds began scattering, but not by flying off, thankfully! Instead, most walked away calmly a few even hopped off not bothering to put down their foot. A few feet away the flock settled in again. They had handled my approach in a calm orderly manner.

A few yards further down, I encountered a small bird. This bird was a tiny nervous critter. He was already quickly pacing about in the surf. My shadow caused him to break into a run for your life panic. He skittered away as fast as his tiny legs would talk him. My approach caused mass panic.

The sun came up higher in the sky and I began to walk back. The seagulls had come out. The seagulls were different. The saw me approach, turned their heads away from me and took a few steps away from me. It felt like being shunned. I have no need for you human. Bring crackers and we will talk.

How often do we get caught up and flee in panic from the smallest threat like the tiny birds? I know I get myself all caught up in a tizzy. Trying to run from task to task and never really getting my goals accomplished.

The gulls with their standoffish behavior, glaring back over their shoulders at a threat. Choosing to ignore their problem rather than face it.

I like the birds that did not even bother to put their leg down in my presence. There I was a potential threat, but I was not going to deter them from their current task. They moved out of harm’s way without panic or distain. The hopping birds stayed on task.

Today, I hope to just stay on task despite the distractions or stresses that may loom over my day. How about you?


Stop being a cat

This past week has been traumatic to say the least. We lost a member of the family –our 12 year old dog – Savannah. Obviously, she was a part of the family. The dog stuck around way longer than my husband and was older than my daughter.

I had expected some transition in losing the dog, but I was completely unprepared for the reality. Working from home can be a bit isolating. I did not realize how often during the day I talked to the dog. The first day without her my daughter caught me asking the dog about making dinner. The dog wasn’t there. I am sitting outside writing for the first time without the dog sitting in my shadow. I expected to have some disruption and emptiness.

While we miss the dog, my daughter and I are adapting to the new routine. The cats however are not.

Kallie Cat went MIA for longer than normal. I went out to look for her and found her sitting by the side of the road unharmed but crying at me. I think she had gone out looking for her friend. I found her sleeping on my daughter’s stuffed dog that resembled Savannah. Edwin Kitty has been outside more than normal as well. I heard he went on a walk with another dog.

The strangest behavior though has to do with the food dish. The food bowl had been up on a bookshelf for the past 18 months. The dog was particularly fond of cat food. When I discovered why the cat food dish was ALWAYS empty I moved the dish. It took a day or two and the cats found the food without being shown. I moved the food back to the floor for less mess now that there is no cat food thief.

The cats are having trouble with this transition. It has been 4 days. The cats walk in the house, past their bowls and hop up on the bookshelf. They sit there on the shelf and stare at us. My daughter picks them up and places them in front of the bowl. I can understand a time or two. Put this is happening 5 times a day for 4 days.

It got me wondering…what cat food bowls am I walking by? Basically these cats are willing to go hungry and cause a fuss looking for their food dish. The food dish is less than 2 feet away from where the cats are stubbornly sitting.

What blessing has God placed 2 feet away from our food dish? What are we missing because we insist on following an old routine? I read a great article today about declaring New Year’s Day on a random day. The author was declaring it today on her birthday. I think I need to hit the restart button today. I have gone so far off track and wandered away from my goals. Today I start getting back on track. This is the link to Mindy’s post since I swiped her idea and I adore Mindy’s writing!

I already have begun by writing this post. Next I need to clear away some physical clutter that accumulated in my grief and chaos this week. I am getting back on track today. It is a perfect spring day here – a great time for rebirth. Even more fitting it is Lent, a season for reflection. For many, Lent is a time to give things up. For the past couple of years we have been trying to add something more constructive in this season. A positive action is following Jesus more than giving up candy. At least, that is the lesson I have been teaching. Today, I am going for a positive action and giving up procrastination.

I am going to look for my own food dish. Perhaps it is spiritual, maybe personal or financial. I am sure though that I am missing something because I am being a cat.