A couple of days ago, I watched this Egret catch a fish on Coronado Bay. With much patience, it stood very still, like a cat waiting to pounce on a mouse. When the prey was perfectly poised, the Egret snatched it up out of the shallow pool of water between the rocks. It happened so fast! I got one picture as the fish flopped in its beak and another as he swallowed, but both pictures were a bit blurry from all the quick action and my unsteady hands. The photo above came out okay. I love those feet!
If you follow my blog, you already know how much I enjoy observing birds and animals in their natural habitat. I find that it's a beautiful way to "be present" in life and it's especially healing when life is challenging. I love watching birds in flight. I'm often reminded of the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull. What a great read. I was 16 when I first fell in love with that book. I think birds really do enjoy flying. I certainly enjoy watching them.
When I go to the beach, it's the birds, as much as the waves that I enjoy watching. As we say goodbye to 2009 and hello to 2010, I leave you with this quote by Henry Elli: "All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on."
Happy New Year!
What a beautiful sight. This was at Ocean Beach this afternoon. The salt air with the sounds of seagulls and waves crashing is a healing combination for a weary soul ...
You'll find this photo on my online art gallery. This was taken a few days ago on the USS Midway aircraft carrier docked in the SD harbor.
Below is the USS Midway aircraft carrier docked as a museum ship in San Diego. It's a fascinating tour. It was around the docks where my story begins ...
As I was meandering around the shore and photographing boats and birds a couple of days before Christmas, I happened upon an elderly, homeless man. Something drew me to him. I can't really explain it. Never quite experienced something like it before.
He was down by the harbor sitting on a cement half wall. I sat next to him and began asking him how long he had been on the streets and what his story was. He's been in San Diego for 41 days and most of it was spent in the hospital following a stroke. He used his fingers to count the days. He had come out from North Carolina where he'd worked in the timber industry, but after some timber contracts weren't renewed, he lost his job. He also had been a cook for many years. He told me he's been homeless for about 4 years and later in the conversation it was made clear that he's NOT an alcoholic or a drinker at all.
He came out to San Diego to work on a fishing boat, but had a stroke instead. The job was filled when he got out of the hospital. He told me where he makes his bed at night and how he uses a tarp and blanket. He said he can deal with the cold, but it was the hunger that was really hard.
He said it was embarrassing to sit with a sign begging for money. He'd made 25 cents by the time I talked with him. It was two o'clock in the afternoon. The other day he had $20 accumulated and some skateboarders rode by and stole his cup.
He doesn't have any teeth so eating is hard for him. Then he added that after his stroke the doctors found out he has prostate cancer. He didn't seem to understand the impact of his illness. He said it answered why he was losing weight. But he wasn't upset. He was matter of fact like someone responding to a parking ticket. He told me people give him food sometimes and get upset with him when he can't eat it - like apples and chips. He said he ate chips the other day that cut his gums all up, yet if he turns down what people offer they chastise him and tell him he must not be very hungry. He said he guesses they figure someone hungry should have no choice. Someone gave him very spicy food the other day that made him sick because his stomach can't take it. He said he'd rather go hungry than eat something that's going to make his stomach hurt worse.
He said he doesn't make 'friends' with the others on the street because they stab him in the back and want money for booze. He proudly mentioned being Cheyenne and how his grandmother was at the Sand Creek massacre. People don't look him in the eyes and few ever talk to him. I normally don't carry cash and seldom give homeless money because I feel like it isn't truly helping them ... but this guy was different.
I dug out a $5 bill and 4 one dollar bills. I knew that he would buy a meal with it - something he could eat and would like. It was money that would make a difference. It didn't have to be money that would be a solution -- just $ that would make a difference was enough. I'd never looked at it quite that way before. The whole experience showed me a side to the homeless I'd not understood or encountered before. I've met homeless who want to be homeless and actually enjoy the culture of living on the street. Others are running scams or are some kind of addict or mentally ill. This man, for whatever series of events in his life that led him there, was different. Maybe a lot of others are different too. Hmmm..
The interesting and uplifting thing was how he was dealing with everything. He had no bitterness. He was full of God and faith. His tone, even when mentioning the hardship and how people treated him badly, was not touched with resentment. There was forgiveness in his voice. Real forgiveness. He kept saying he was okay and it wasn't all bad. He wasn't out to hurt anyone. He wasn't angry or self absorbed. He was out there with his sign asking for money for food because he saw no other way and yet he was full of forgiveness about his situation and about the people around him who were not going to help. Even when I handed him the little bit of money, he looked me in the eyes and asked, "Don't you need that?" I replied, "Not as much as you do." Only then did he reach for it. His body visibly seemed to relax. I could see relief come over him because he knew he was going to eat that day. He had missed getting a meal the day before.
As I left him, he thanked me for talking to him. He was also grateful for the money. I was left having learned about a life in someone else's shoes - someone I could have easily walked past without ever knowing. I felt grateful for the lessons and the experience.
This blog entry is from an email I wrote to a friend. I decided it was worth sharing here because it's a story about a homeless man who showed me the real spirit of Christmas ...
It was a quiet day for me. The birds, the waves and the sand beneath blue skies and sunshine were lovely....
I'm headed out shortly to try to photograph more of this bark. It's a naturally beautiful abstract....
Click to go to Change.org
Another good article by Amanda Kloer...
Tell Choice Hotels to Prevent Child Prostitution in Their Hotels
Don't buy the 'it' toy ...
Christmas "It" Toy Zhu Zhu Hamster Gets a D- on Child Labor
Click the link above to read full story by Amanda Kloer on Change.org.
It was another blue sky, sunny December day here in Southern California. Temps reached into the 70's. What could be more perfect?
I took my camera and headed to the San Diego harbor. I got lost in a delicious sort of way by the whole photographic experience. Searching for light, reflection, contrasting colors & intriguing shapes has its own rush. I step into a place where the concept of time disappears. I often lose track of how far I've walked and sometimes where I am. The best is yet to come though since the even bigger thrill is when I upload the photos to my computer and see if I have any images that evoke the feeling of hitting the sweet part of the bat. I worked with a lot of B & W today -- my latest interest.
I'm kitty siting in San Diego. My friends flew me out to be with their two lovely cats while they vacation in Lebanon. The cats are so sweet and cuddly. Both love attention and being petted. This experience is giving me a great idea. I'd like to do this professionally during the winter and spring months. Since I can often work from a computer and be located anywhere, I'd be around a large portion of the time with your pets, not only to walk and feed them, but to provide them with good company. Special needs animals welcome. So if you or anyone you know needs a responsible, in-home pet sitter focusing not just on their survival, but on their happiness, shoot me an email. As a bonus to coming home to animals well cared for and loved while you're away, I'll provide some great photos/artwork of your animal(s)!
I'm thawing out nicely in California under sunny skies with temps in the 70's. What a welcome change from the recent sub zero temps, and ice and snow in Colorado.
I took a two-hour walk around the neighborhood with my camera. I love all the flowers and plants, and not being bundled up with layers of clothing. The humidity is wonderful too. The Colorado dryness is torturous on the skin this time of year. I swear I woke up looking a few years younger because of the humidity!
My phone line went down and Qwest sent out a repairman. My cabin is in the middle of nowhere in the back country at 10,000 feet. It's the very definition of remote! But Doug found his way and knew what to do and fixed my line. Cheers to Qwest for taking care of business and sending someone who knew what to do. Thanks Doug! Great meeting you! Before Doug left, I introduced him to my birds. Here he is feeding one of the gray jays....
Yesterday was 20 below and today 26 below. That's below as in below zero! Skies are cloudless blue and there's not more than ten inches of the white stuff on the ground. In areas with a lot of southern exposure, there's not even any snow. But one big snow storm will change that!
The day before yesterday, I got Clark to feed from my hand! I'd been training him the past couple of days. He's been knocking incessantly on my windows wanting me to come out and feed him. So, instead of putting the nuts on the windowsill, I showed him the only way I'd feed him is if he trusted me enough to land on me the way the gray jays do. He finally had the nerve to do it ONCE. He was prompted by sheer frustration because he'd watch the gray jays filling up and he finally was so frustrated he just came to me. He stayed until he picked up all the nuts. I've only had gray jays feed from my hand - never a different breed. It was exciting to have a Clark's Nutcracker sit in my hand! His name sake comes from the Lewis & Clark Expedition. He was one of the birds they discovered.
He's bigger than the gray jays. His beak is much longer and he has black and white wings versus gray. He had a very gentle way as he sat in my hand. He picked up the nuts very softly. It was awesome to connect with him like that!
I'm an artist, writer, photographer, private investigator and an activist in small ways.
"Turning indifference into making a difference."
A labor of love website devoted to animal and human rights, and better living. A place to be inspired ...
My LADYBUG book is filled with beautiful images & inspiring quotes. Click here for more info.
I visited the Tiger Temple in Thailand & later found out it is under investigation for tiger trafficking and animal abuse. Read full story. In 2015 it was raided. More than 100 tigers and protected bird species in Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, popularly known as the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province were impounded by authorities following complaints that the temple was alleged to engage in illegal wildlife trading.
"The moment one gives close attention to anything,
even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious,
awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
~ Henry Miller
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS helps people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from healthcare.
Read about life in the woods with Chippy & the crew...