Friday, April 26, 2013

Appeasing the backyard bird-feeder dreams

Some dreams latch onto your leg, pull you down, and whisper into your ear.

Some dreams grasp onto your elbow, and gently stroke the hairs on your arm. 

Some dreams swagger on by with a peacock strut and sly glimmer in their eye. 

And some dreams are the backyard bird-feeder of chatter.

There aren't enough ambitions, awards, accolades, responsibilities, duties, or morals to muzzle the buzzing, whistling, and screeching chitter-chatter of the backyard bird-feeder dream.

 Is 34 *17 degrees enough latitude for a backyard bird-feeder dream?

 (*note from a later time when I looked at a globe=34 degrees would be a much longer journey than my backyard bird-feeder dream) 

Monday, April 22, 2013

What not to leave behind

My good friend said, "What matters is what we choose to give to the world, and what we leave behind. That's why people have kids, have careers, write novels, paint pictures. We become what we leave behind." I love her and I admire her.

What happens to a person as we conceive a person to be after they die is a matter of faith and belief. Matter remains, but the person is gone. If I don't believe in God or gods, an after-life, and this is my one and only life; then when I am gone, I am gone forever. 

And yet our choices and therefore lives are endless, cycling reverberations. After we are gone, the reverberations continue in the conscious lives of people who we loved and who cared about us. The reverberations continue in our abandoned edifices, our emotional and physical landfills, in our waters and in our air. The after-life is real to the living of this life, in memories and minds, and in the world we inhabit.

While I'm here I can choose how I spend my time, how I treat other people, and how I treat the planet.

Perhaps it matters what we choose not to leave behind, the very act of defiance a message of love.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Pelican Foraging Frenzy

Have you ever seen a Pelican foraging frenzy?

If I were a Mallard or a Cinnamon Teal, or a Green Night Heron or another wetland dwelling feather friend I would be wary. 

If I were a silver or orange or yellow water swimmer I would be even more wary. More than wary, I would be afraid.

Pelicans forage in a flock; their tranquil glide a confused anticedent to a messy, floppy, splashy free-for-all with their massively powerful wings. 

A flock of foraging Pelicans form a semi-circle in which they ensue to pummel the surface of the water and scoop up fish or crustaceans and water. 

If I were the slough or stream or river I would be wary. The waves from a Pelican foraging frenzy crash or lap against the sandy or muddy banks-depending on where the sand or mud may stand. 

If I were a Killdeer or a Willit or a Stilt or an Avocet, I would be wary. 

Water churns, ripples echo, fish flea, and the Pelican foraging frenzy is an unforgiving fish herding contest. 

The prize in a pelican foraging frenzy goes to who can herd the most fish into their center. 

In a Pelican foraging frenzy water sprays and splashes, and along with unlucky fish, is collected into a wide and deep gular pouch, trapped between vertically held mandibles.

Unlike the unlucky fish, however, some water is released-as much as three gallons drain as the unlucky fish follow an unlucky path into the center of the winning pelican. 

Most are wary in a pelican foraging frenzy with the exception of the Pelican foraging winners.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Where do words come from?

... not a vacuum.

They come from messages I read, hear, or otherwise am exposed to in this here world. In an effort for me to understand the source of my words and therefore my thoughts, actions and behaviors, I'm forcing myself to generate a list. I was that kid that said a word I liked because I thought it sounded neat without actually understanding the meaning of the word. 

Occasionally I still say words I'm not completely sure the meaning of because I like them. This can be embarrassing or entertaining depending on who you are. I try to be more careful, but sometimes I just can't help myself.  Jacob and I had a conversation the other day about the fact that I didn't really understand the meaning of peccadillo. I had always thought it meant quirk, "we all have our pecadillos-deal with it." In fact, I'm pretty sure Robin Williams used it in this way when he and Matt Damon were having a therapy session in Good Will Hunting. I did not fact check that-but I think that is the root of my peccadillo misunderstanding. Peccadillo means sin as Jacob pointed out to me. Apparently he had pointed that out to me multiple times. 

I have a really bad memory. 
I like to think this is an endearing quirk.

Jacob then went on to say how frustrated he was that people used the word literally when they mean figuratively. Which is confusing. "It was literally 1,000 degrees outside." Saying literally when you don't mean literally does not add emphasis. 

I've been to the Mountain View Public Library a lot in the last year or so. I didn't realize I could track my reading list online and didn't click yes on my profile, so most of what I've read is lost in my mind. Perhaps the words come to me in dreams at night, or trickle into everyday conversation, or have made their way into my writing. I want to understand how words I read affect me so this is my effort to do so. This does not come naturally. I have to work at listing.

Without further ado: 

Books I've read in the last few months that I liked enough to remember now:

This Close: Stories-Jessica Francis Kane (2013)
Lucid Stars-Andrea Barrett (1988)
Servants of the Map-collection of short stories-Andrea Barrett (2002)
The End of the Story-Lydia Davis (2004)
Franny and Zooey-J.D. Salinger (1961)
The Psychopath Test-Jon Ronson (2011)
Them-Jon Ronson (2001)
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft-Stephen King (2010)
No Woman Tenderfoot: Florence Merriam Bailey, Pioneer Naturalist-Harriet Kofalk (2002)
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer from Within-Natalie Goldberg (2005)
Psychiatric Tales:Eleven Graphic Stories about Mental Illness-Darryl Cunningham (2011)

When I'm not doing other things and spend time on the internets, these are the sites I visit most frequently.

I like all of these sites for different reasons. If I had a million dollars I would donate it all to them for the work they do. Not all of it. But a lot of it.