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I remember a song from my childhood; "The bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, so see what he could see." The song has a good message that still holds meaning for me. As an adult, I'm still going places to see what I can see.
Most of the day Sunday, we had clear skies and sunshine, which was exciting! I was hoping those sky conditions would hold on into the night as there would be a total lunar eclipse. For a change, the lunar eclipse would happen at a decent hour so we could stay up and watch it. I intended to go out on my deck and watch the entire spectacle. But then the clouds moved in. Ugh.
Still, I walked out onto the deck numerous times, hoping to find a break in the overcast, granting me a sneak peek at the moon. No such luck. I wondered, "Why do we make such a big deal out of seeing the moon blocked by the showdown of Earth? Technically, we can't see it if it's blocked, can we?" I laughed to myself over my analogy, then went to bed.
My daughter and her boyfriend watched the eclipse under clear skies in Iowa. With their telescope, they took some excellent photos. I appreciated them sharing their photos, but pictures just aren't the same as seeing it for yourself. It's spiritual for me to experience a lunar eclipse firsthand.
Monday, I took Nova Mae out to potty a little after six in the morning. The sun was shining, the skies were blue, and a gentle breeze played a sweet melody on the wind chimes. "Looking at the clear sky," I said. "Where were you last night when I needed you?"
I went back into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. Two hummingbirds hovered around the red feeder just outside the window over the sink, keeping me well entertained. They fed on nectar from the small (plastic) red flowers. It was a delightful show to see. This same feeder has been the source of much entertainment.
Earlier this week, a male Baltimore oriel was hanging around our deck. He also was attracted to the red hummingbird feeder. Several times, I watched him perched on the feeder just outside the window. His bright orange and black feathers, with accents of white, were beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him. Then, wanting to encourage him to stay, I researched oriels. They like to eat fruits, nectar, and insects, but they won't eat birdseed.
Unfortunately, his beak was too large to draw nectar from the flowers, and there weren't a lot of insects out yet. So, I set up a four-foot ladder on the deck. I put a red lid filled with nectar and two strawberries on the top step. I added a few sunflower seeds, should the bird want to expand his palate by trying something new. The oriel returned a short time later. He enjoyed the strawberries more than the nectar but feasted on both.
The Baltimore oriel was perched on the left side of the step. Soon, a rose-breasted grosbeak landed on the right side. With wide-open beaks, the two chattered loudly at one another; the grosbeak had the oriel leaning back away from him.
A red-headed woodpecker landed on the end of the step between the two birds. It looked as if the third bird had taken his place, seated at the head of the table. The woodpecker listened to the two other birds present their case like an arbitrator. He'd soon had enough of them squabbling over the buffet and began squawking angrily at both. "Enough! I've heard enough!" Finally, the orange oriel and the rose-breasted grosbeak gave heed to the wood pecker's warning and flew away.
Now alone on the ladder, the woodpecker inspected the offerings for himself. "No insects? What kind of restaurant is this?" Then, he, too, flew away, allowing the oriel and grosbeak to return.
The bird feeder that sits on the deck was low on seeds. A hungry red squirrel climbed the wooden pillar that supported the house's roof. He was making his way to another feeder hanging from the soffit. The squirrel jumped from the post onto the wind chimes; he was making his way to the hanging feeder. Unfortunately, the smooth metal tubes proved a little too slick for the squirrel, not to mention the vibrations as the clangor struck them again. Sliding down the pipe, the little trapeze artist quickly retreated to the wood post.
Meanwhile, the oriel and grosbeak were again disputing rights to the feast on the ladder. The funny thing is each bird was after a different feed; the oriel wanted the strawberries while the grosbeak was after the seeds. The bickering birds were chased away again - this time by the red squirrel who climbed the ladder. The fluffy tail rodent made a quick meal of the sunflower seeds. The squirrel sat and ate them all, leaving empty shells scattered about. After sniffing the other entrees, the disinterested squirrel climbed down the ladder, looking for more seeds.
Once the sunflower seeds were gone, the grosbeak joined the other birds at the hanging feeder, leaving the oriel alone on the ladder's top step. But the oriel wasn't alone for long. Soon, he was joined by a female oriel, not as brilliant in color as the male, but still a beautiful bird. Hoping they will stay and nest in our yard, I bought some oranges (another fruit oriels enjoy), and we've kept oranges and strawberries for the birds since. It's a real treat to see so much wildlife gathering on our deck for us to view.
There's wildlife nearly everywhere. Sometimes, you have to look a little harder to see the critters.
Friday, I was at a Burger King restaurant enjoying a Whopper with my granddaughters. When we had finished our meal, a man in the dining room called us to see something he'd found. A baby turtle was on the quarry tile floor, no bigger around than a quarter.
I put the tiny reptile in a water cup. The turtle flipped over onto his back, exposing the beautiful red and black pattern on his tummy. "Cool," Addison exclaimed, "Can we keep him?"
Evelyn wanted to know, "Why is he in a Burger King?"
"Well," I began to expel my wealth of knowledge, "turtles will eat lettuce, and a Whopper has lettuce. Maybe he stopped in for a sandwich." We shared a good laugh over that.
"Papa, I hardly think that little thing could eat a Whopper," Addison said, then asked again, "Can we keep him?"
I explained, "The turtle would be a lot happier if we would help him back to the water rather than living in a water cup." So I dropped the girls off at their appointment, then took the turtle to the city park.
A man and his two young sons were fishing from the bank. I showed the dad the turtle; he, in turn, called his two young boys over to see the little guy. They were both amused and had a lot of questions. "Is that a snapping turtle? Will he bite me? Where's his mom?" I once again was able to share my vast knowledge of turtles. The boys were thrilled to watch as I released the small turtle at the water's edge. Soon the little fellow took to the water and swam in front of us. The older boy spoke up, "Could we use him for bait?"
I thought to myself, "Swim, little man, swim away!" Then said to the turtle, "You have no idea how lucky you are that I'm the one who brought you to the water."
This morning in my kitchen, I looked at photos of last night's lunar eclipse. "Boy, I wish the skies would have been clear. But it is what it is, and it was what is it was." I smiled, thinking about the bear that went over the mountain to see what he could see. I want to see as much as I can.
Maybe I didn't get to see this eclipse, but how many people get to see a Baltimore oriel, a rose-breasted grosbeak, and a red-headed woodpecker all sitting on the same ladder, having a discussion? When is the next time I'll get to save a baby turtle? There was certainly something spiritual in watching him swim freely away into the water. And who knows, maybe I'll get to watch baby Baltimore oriels in my yard this summer.
I decided I needed to be more thankful for what I get to see and not fret over what I don't. Besides, I read that there's supposed to be another lunar eclipse, visible from my neck of the woods, in 2025. Maybe next time.