Monday, February 28, 2011

Return of the Bird

On a bright winter's day last month, Seymour the Peregrine Falcon was soaring high above Transylvania County.  Abruptly a large female Peregrine attacked him and chased him.  He was clearly injured, but continued to fly away.

On the ground master falconer Peter Kipp watched in horror as the scene unfolded.  His falcon was injured and then he was gone.  Kipp was devastated.  When Seymour did not return he contacted the media and all appropriate organizations in North Carolina hoping someone might find Seymour.

Two weeks later and more than 140 miles away, a businessman iin Hickory, NC noticed a large bird bumping on the window glass at his office.  The bird flew away, but came back and bumped against other windows.  The bird was not flying into the glass, but landing on the edge of the window and bumping as if seeking attention.

A day or so later the businessman pulled into his office driveway and noticed the bird alongside the road.  He got out of his truck and the bird immediately hopped into the open door and sat right in the front passenger seat.  The man noticed the foot strap and bell on the bird's leg and knew this was not a wild bird.  He called his veterinarian for advice and was given the number of the local wildlife rehabilitator.

The bird was so calm and seemed so comfortable that the man decided to drive to the rehabilitation center WITH THE FALCON SITTING ON THE FRONT SEAT rather than having the bird confined by the handlers.  "People told me I was crazy to ride around with a falcon in the truck, but I said, 'he looks calm...what the heck.'"

Several phone calls brought the news to Kipp who was delighted that his falcon had been located.  He immediately drove to Hickory to pick up Seymour.

Kipp and Seymour
(Courtesy photo from The Transylvania Times)

Seymour was a bit dehydrated and hungry due to his injury but is improving and is expected to fully recover.  Soon he will be back at work with Kipp educating people about the beauty and wonder of raptors.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fridays are Golden

Life often seems so complicated, doesn't it?  We have so much to do with so many things to worry about.  We try to do it all, giving it everything we've got.

This past month has been different at our house, especially for the dogs.  Used to a constant routine, they had to adapt to some changes.  Why is the injured player using those two aluminum poles when he walks?  When is he going to come downstairs to the den and play with us?  He doesn't even sit on the floor.  The girls have accepted the changes and remain loyal caregivers.

In the evenings they are exhausted.  After dinner they play together and I toss tennis balls to them until they decide they are just too tired to go on.  Then they plop in their beds.

Here they are in their beds.  I have no idea how they know which bed belongs to which dog, but more often than not each is in her own bed.  (My husband says that's why he had their names put on them.)  At any rate, in most instances Lucy tends to take a bit more than her share.

Please don't ask me to get up, Mom!

Maybe if I don't even look at her she won't ask me to get up.

Unlike humans, dogs know when they should work and when they should play.  We should take a lesson from them.

When I was working, the most dreaded days of my year came with the annual "Strategic Planning" sessions when all the senior management team went away and spent two days listening to an over-paid motivational planner.  Oh, and don't forget the participation in those horrid "ice-breakers."  You all pretend to enjoy the sessions and leave the two-day off-site planning pretending to be refreshed and renewed.

While I truly detested these sessions, I almost always came away with at least one thing that was helpful to me.  One such gem was a story about two men in a contest for chopping wood.

Each man was alloted the same stacked quantity of logs.  They both started out with great enthusiasm.  Man #1 continued to work at a frenzied pace.  Man #2 worked hard as well, but periodically he walked away and sat on a stump for a while.  Man #1 was delighted to see the other man taking so many breaks.  He did not stop at all, but kept plugging away.  Imagine his surprise when he saw Man #2 chopping his last log and winning the contest.  Exhausted, he walked over to the man and asked, "How in the world did you beat me?  I saw you stopping to rest several times while I kept on chopping."  The winner replied, "While I was resting I was sharpening my axe."

Learn a lesson here.  This weekend, while you scurry about, remember that you need to occasionally stop to sharpen your axe."


Monday, February 21, 2011

All the Days are Golden

Thanks for your positive thoughts for our injured player.  I am pleased to report that he is well on the road to recovery.  We couldn't be happier with his progress.  In no time at all he will be hiking the trails and life will return to our normal here in the mountains...and life is indeed better in the mountains.

Every February I keep a careful watch on one of my favorite plants.  Arnold's Promise is a beautiful witch hazel that brings bright golden blossoms here in the dead of winter.  The blossoms are a cure for the winter doldrums.  I cannot tell you what uplifting sight it is.  This February magic never fails to excite me.  As an added treat, the refreshing aroma fills the air with the slightest breeze.  When I open the front door I can smell the witch hazel and every year it is a breath-taking moment.

In addition to such a great outcome for the injured player, and Arnold's Promise fulfilled once again, we have had several days of record-breaking warm and sunny weather.  Life is good.  So very good.

We set up a temporary office for the injured player in the dining room.  The Golden Girls have maintained faithful vigil.  No matter where he chooses to sit Nurse Ellie and Nurse Lucy lie as near to him as possible, alert to his every need.  [OK, they are at least there if not so alert.]

We feel truly blessed with every single golden day.  In fact, even the cloudy days are golden to us right now.