Category Archives: animals

Mourning dove drop off

Hive mind helped identify the stray fledgling we found in the street this morning — it’s a mourning dove.

Once I knew it was a species my local rehabilitator would accept, I gave her a call. By then we’d already brought the chick inside because it was shivering a lot. I sent pictures. She wondered whether it was sick or injured at all and suggested putting it back out near where we found it. So we did.

Hours passed and nothing much happened, though at one point we saw an adult dove on the telephone wire. I called the Bird Lady again. “It’s either settled down to sleep or to die. I can’t tell.”

She suggested we bring it to her after all. When we went outside to gather the fledgling up, a mourning dove was calling from nearby. What if it was the chick’s mother? Were we doing the right thing?

But north and west we went. It was 6:30 pm so traffic really sucked, but never mind. I honestly was relieved to not be watching the rest of (recorded) Nicole Wallace. Enough already.

I’d been to the Bird Lady’s house once before. Sure enough, up a windy wooded road, left at two forks, across another road and then fifth house on the left with the white pick up truck. She was outside wearing grubby white shorts and a loose tshirt. Eccentric but knowledgeable. She identified the bird’s age (just shy of fledgling) by turning its wings over and examining feather development.

She immediately determined that the bird was sick. It wasn’t warm enough. It had poop stuck to its rear. It was opening and closing its beak as if gasping for air.

Pneumonia? She will warm it up and give it antibiotics. I was almost relieved it was sick because it meant we’d done the right thing by interfering. I hope it survives.

Rescue, repair, and pause

We found this injured bird on the road this morning, then directed her to the curb, where she hop-flapped to this semi-sheltered spot. I promptly researched rehabilitation services without much success.

My Merlin app couldn’t identify her. Does anyone know? I think she might be a starling and that matters because the closest bird rehabilitation center does not take starlings. (why I wonder? Aggression?)

Or maybe it’s a northern flicker — although probably not because the beak isn’t long enough.

I pulled the curb-found birdcage out of the bed of day lilies and equipped it with seed and water and shelter from wind. It’s on our deck table under an umbrella, so it’s sheltered from rain too.

Sunflower seeds don’t seem like the right choice. Will have to research. Also, K wonders whether it needs more warmth?

Any and all advice welcome.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the table: a relic from the insulation in the basement “studio.”

A soggy mess to hear K tell it.

It’s a blessedly quiet morning here. Camp is over next door for the year, all the near-yard crews roared through yesterday, garbage trucks run and done, and many neighbors (I’m guessing) are getting the last of their summer fun on the Cape this week.

I’m on a quilt finishing spree (post coming about them) and also a pause (are the two related?) My summer writing workshop wrapped up on Tuesday, I’m taking a two week break on both the daily haiku and weekly Paris Collage Club responses. The calendar feels suddenly spacious.

I have a dental cleaning next week which I’m dreading with more than usual angst because of this loose front cap (can’t you just hear me — “Don’t polish it! Don’t floss on either side! Leave it alone!”), also a morning of babysitting for a new neighbor’s infant. Otherwise though the days are mine. Completely mine.

1975. Can you pick me out? Hint: earth shoes.

Adding light, revising novel

I’m adding light and shadow to appliqued hawk. Made her head lighter and used white poly for beak to make it pop. A scrap of fabric practically fell out of the basket and felt like a minor show of Providence.

Jude had the idea over on Instagram to darken some of the ripples around the hawk’s head. Since I like the way it adds a sense of motion, I may continue around the body as long as I have that color thread. It’ll look good flowing off the wings.

Had some gross polyester swirled with black in that basket, too. Added to tail and wings for more contrast. Light. Maybe you can see a difference with earlier incarnation, maybe not (below).

It’s nice to have company.

In the meantime, I finally talked to my paid manuscript consultant yesterday. Round three coming up. I know I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, perhaps even shouting off the rooftops: SHE LOVES MY BOOK.

I think people forget how solitary a process writing is.

House names should not be italicized. If I’m gonna talk about the elder Middletons toward the end, they need to be introduced earlier. Still sags here and there — needs tightening. Not so many descriptions of clouds, perhaps. Maybe not so much about Melody’s first owner. Explain what head rights are and how to memorialize land in Author’s Note, which starts like this:

When I began this novel, Trayvon Martin was alive and as I finished the second edit, George Floyd was dead.

The suggestion that I add an epilogue (say in 1758 after Eliza and Charles Pinckney return from a five year stay in England), will take a little more thought. That’s fourteen years after my original end. Lots of years I haven’t thought about all that much.

A six year time frame (1738 to 1744) allowed a laser-like focus. Etiquette in 1720? I don’t care! Rice markets in 1750? Also don’t care. Now I need to care. I’ll start with Eliza’s letters.

A walk with temps in the 40’s was cause for celebration this week. Daffodils shoving aside leaf debris. Snow shrugging off the curbs. It won’t be long now ’til the miracle of hyacinths.

In the meantime I am trying to answer the question (Acey’s): how do you hold your heart? Or maybe just asking it. Softly.

The collage challenge with Paris Collage Collective continues. This week: Shirley Chisholm.

More to come. I want to cut up seed catalogues and wreathe her head with flowers. In the collage above, the headstone of Harriett Jacobs served as reference to the long history of oppression, Jacobs being another Black woman who overcame so much.

The Black Stallion — fan fic

It sinks, the ship. Engines failed. First, the ominous thudding. Casual concern. Benign stories shared. Oh, it’s just this. It’s probably that.

But then the cataclysmic cracking tore through the boiler room. Panic. Fire. The Arabian stallion breaks loose. The father loses sight of the son. He, the son, has gone overboard. He paddles on, the boy, in darkness and fear, eventually washes ashore in a fugue and near death. Asleep in the foam.

Stallion keeps head above water, too, emerges onto the same beach, regal but weary and spooked. He is tangled in ropes.

A new day. Shock filled with sun and water. A briny renewal. Boy releases horse from the tangle. It is the first of many salvations.

They play tag, the horse and the boy. Hide n’ seek. But two lone souls marooned together eventually find each other. Need each other. Or at least, they did. Found and needed each other.

They don’t know where they are, but then do any of us, really? In fact, they are blessed. For without society’s distractions, empty duties, hollow misses of relationships and the debris they leave behind, these two can dwell in essence. It is a boy and a stallion on a beach. The boy knows his father is gone. The stallion knows he is, for a time, free. After one sideways approach after another, sniffing and stalling, and with strategic use of the sea itself, for no way the boy stands tall enough to mount the horse otherwise — the boy finally finds horse’s back. The stallion allows.

Hang on!

It is a paradise of sorts. Sunshine raining down on hungry freedom. Shushurring ocean lullaby. A spangle of stars in lieu of thought. Curling, approaching, retreating foam takes the place of memory. What life? What family?

What else does a boy or a horse need?

But they are found and being found, forced into vests and pants with zippers or into gated stalls and bridles. Value recognized instantly when it came to the four legged – there is no hiding his majesty, a form bred for speed, manifest in beauty – but the brilliance now residing in the boy goes at first unnoticed.

He, the boy, sleeps in the backyard. The walls and ceiling are too close. His mother worries and tries not to take it personally, and fails. She sniffs his sheets — is it something she’s done? Omitted? She makes macaroni and cheese more often.

Fortunately for horse and boy, and mother, too, a mensch at the stables puts two and two together. Putting two and two together in this instance means putting horse and boy together. Together, again. He, the trainer, knows horses and in knowing horses, has insight into people as well – especially people who bond with horses (or is people with whom horses bond?) Never mind, he sees the boy’s brilliance immediately and knows the boy needs the horse. Shows him the mechanics of saddle and reins. The uses of speed.

The story unfolds in neighborhoods where houses with sweet porches line the street and on the race track. A rowdy, dusty, clamor of speed and anticipation. Triumph but also accommodation. Races are won, relationships built to last.

A disaster. A companion. A mensch. What looked horrible turned inside out by providence or destiny or something unnameable but big. Maybe it was just the taste of elemental freedom that changed the course of a life. After all, how many of us experience liquid grace and cross-species communion as salvation? And how many of us will be saved a second time by someone who sees us for who we’ve become?

* * *

If you google The Black Stallion, you’ll find any number of trailers.

Sunday in pix

Someone likes my heating pad. And no wonder, temps have dropped here. I get to wear my Deb Lacativa scarf for our walk around the lake this morning.

Yesterday: gourd-shopping and mouse revival. Watched Borat II.

I’ve shortened her arms (pipe cleaners cut with wire cutters) and given her an orange scarf (pix coming).

My brother will be transported back to Los Angeles either on Friday or Monday. With California covid19 cases spiking into the 6,000’s, it’ll be a while before we venture West, but it will be so much better for him to be closer to home. The light. And once he gets home: his dogs.

Single digits, folks! Nine days until the election.