Saturday, August 27, 2005

Chorus of the summer night

Sit outside on your porch and listen to the nightly chorus of birds, frogs, and insects. It is a pleasant sound that most people miss, since they are inside watching television. In Washington D.C. area, it is hot and humid. However, sweating out the night is worth it since you can heard the cicadas buzzing, the frogs going jug-a-rum, and an owl hooting. Watching the fireflies makes the whole experience better than any tv program.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Birds on the Porch

I have been putting out chunks of stale bread on my balcony. I have been visited by flocks of sparrows and wrens. Cardinals come early in the morning, while ravens during the day. The sparrows will fight with each other about who has the biggest piece of bread. They drop the bread and the ravens will scoop it up.

From my ANIMAL Teachers' site: Birds:
Birds fascinate people. Many people set out feeders to attract Birds to their Gardens. Others travel distances to spot a particular bird. People watch Birds fly, perch in trees, and sing to each other. What is it about Birds that draw people to them? People tell you they love Birds for the joy they bring.

Birds teach living in the moment. A flash of brightly colored feathers, then They are gone. The sight of a Condor soaring in the sky makes people pause and watch. Crows amuse people by their antics. A lonely call of the Loon fills people with longing. Constantly in motion, Birds teach people to live in the moment.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Michigan J. Frog

Michigan J. Frog was the corporate logo of WB Network. However, WB has decided to eliminate him since he doesn't draw older people to their shows. However, I thought he was a lot better than any other corporate logo. WB replaced him with a silly flag: Comedy for All.

Frogs have many teachings that WB have missed. Here are a few:

Frogs demonstrate the principle of tolerance. Frogs come in all shapes and sizes. There are the tiny Spring Peepers, ugly Horned Toads, vigorous Bullfrogs, and green Barking Tree Frogs. The old song goes, “All God’s Children sing in the choir. Some sing low, others sing higher.” Listen to Frog songs, and you will here the low jug-a-rum of the Bullfrog, the rasping natter-natter of the Natterjack Toad, and the high peeps of the Spring Peepers. Together in unison, They provide a melody pleasing to the ear.
--ANIMAL Teachers: Frog Family

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Cardinals on the balcony

I have been putting out bread on my condo balcony. I had a rare sight of cardinals eating the bread. I always thought they just ate sunflower seeds. However, now I have a surprise - they eat bread too.

The cardinal is a beautiful red bird. At least the male. The female is more of a duller brown. I find their color to be cheery. Their call is cheer-cheer-cheer. So it fits.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Few Bugs In the Laundry Mat

What I am finding is that my local laundry mat is a haven for bugs. All sorts of bugs like to fly in between the screens and rest on the machines. We have moths, leaf hoppers, and spiders. I never knew that an urban laundry mat could be an adventure in nature.

I have no problem with the bugs but some of my fellow laundry types do. One woman just hates the big bugs and shoos them away. Most of the bugs just sit there and do nothing. However, I guess people just dislike them for being so alien looking.

Inchneumon Wasp

The recent movie, "War of the Worlds" featured Martians that looked like Inchneumon wasps. I guess it was the perfect way of getting people to be afraid of them.

More information can be found at Everything About Wasps and Insects

From ANIMAL Teachers: Crawling Ones:

The Crawling Ones are usually small, creepy, and crawly. Moreover, They give many people "the creeps." Go beyond the “ick factor” and learn what Crawling Ones have to say. They are opportunists, and one of the most diversified life forms.

As long as people have been on Earth, Insects have been a part of their lives. Insects provide food or live off people; protect or ravage crops. One fourth of all living animals are Insects. They are found in every place on Earth, adapting to all sorts of environments.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Meaning of Turtles

Why should anyone care about turtles, let alone sea turtles?

Nothing on earth today is like Turtle. The Turtle’s unique design–their ribs fused to their shell and leg bones tucked inside their body cavity–is a hallmark of the family. Turtles have been on earth since before the dinosaurs.

Turtle teaches tenacity. They have walked on the earth for millions of years. While other species have come and gone in that time, Turtles are still here, alive, well, and going about their lives. From ANIMAL Teachers: Turtle Family

“As about, so below, and within. The gentle sea turtle acknowledges the delicate balance between ocean and earth, and reminds us of the importance of respecting both.” Copyright: “Wisdom of Australian Animals”, Ann Williams-Fitzgerald.

Friday, August 12, 2005

A Good/Bad Month for Sea Turtles

(Olive Ridley Nesting from Sea Turtle Restoration Project)

First the bad news, there was a carnage of sea turtle bodies in one of Mexico's protected beaches. The poachers wanted only the eggs for sexual purposes. WHEN WILL PEOPLE REALIZE THAT TIGER WHISKERS, SEA TURTLE EGGS, BEAR GALL BLADDERS, DO NOT HELP! The more we can convince people of the non-health effects of these and other animal parts, the better the animals will survive.

The good news, a Green Turtle made a nest in one of the beaches in Virginia. This is first time north in a long time, that a turtle had laid her eggs this far north. That beach has been protected by the Commonwealth against evil poachers.

I call them evil for the simple fact of greed. Pure simple greed.

How can you help these turtles? Adopt a nest
Adopt a Nest
By adopting a nest of baby turtles, you will be helping protect a species that has existed since before the dinosaurs. Adoption funds support sea turtle conservation work, including:
projects to protect sea turtle nesting beaches
efforts to ensure that sea turtles are not needlessly caught and drowned in industrial fishing lines and nets
international programs to teach local communities about sea turtle conservation.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Swallow Family Update

The Swallow Family that lives on the porch of my neighbor is still here. They are still raising their second batch of young. We see them on summer evenings catching insects. I find them to be cheerful and optimistic.

"Prior to the advent of Christianity, the swallow was symbolic of the afterlife and personal resurrection. In Egypt and Babylon, swallow images were associated with funerary practices and represented the hope of a richer life after death...In pictures of the Annunciation and the Nativity, swallows represent the incarnation of Christ...The swallow is also associated with motherhood, good fortune, prudence, prayer, fidelity, unfaithfulness, courage, and danger." From ChristStory: Swallow

Sunday, August 07, 2005

A Big Green Bug

While I was doing the laundry at the laundry mat, a big green bug rested on the inside wall. It was a huge insect. Naturely I wanted to know what it was.

Unlike most people, I find bugs to be friendly creatures. Most are and are worthy of our notice. In the Middle Ages, when bugs infested crops in Europe, they had trials. The bugs had an advocate who pleaded their cause. Sometimes, people would decide to build a place for the bugs to feast. Other times, they asked the bugs to leave.

At Bob Patterson's Entomology Hobby Page, there is a color picture of 'my bug' - the leaf hopper. He writes, "Shape, Color and Pattern: You could decorate a small christmas tree with these Leafhoppers of the Family Cicadellidae, not Cicadas, Family Cicadidae. Features making them stand out from Planthoppers: overall body pattern, different wingshape, and spines along the hind tibia (leg), not to mention wing veination." Imagine your tree decorated with beautiful insects.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A Lizard is Not A Lizard is Not A Lizard

One of my pet peeves is that people who look for wisdom from animals, think that all lizards are the same. They are reptiles who lie in the sun and bask. Their tails detach and they escape. Not So.

Lizards are found all over the world. They come in many sizes and shapes, which is their secret of success. Lizards range in size from tiny Geckos to huge Komodo Dragons. Chameleons are tree dwellers that can change color. Race Runner Lizard of North American runs fifteen miles an hour. Horned Lizards have short, flat bodies covered with fierce looking spikes.

Lizards display a variety of survival adaptations, from gliding through the air to pattering across water. One well-known survival technique is that They are able to shed their tails when caught by a predator. Tail shedding distracts the predator and allows the Lizard to escape. Tail loss is serious since the tail is used for balance, but most Lizards can regrow their tails within a month.

To read more about lizards and their meanings, go to: Animal Teachers
Animal Teachers: Lizards or Who Zoo

Thursday, August 04, 2005

It's A Boy (Panda)

Living in Washington D.C. means seeing the pandas at the zoo. Ever since the first pandas - Mei Ling and Hsing-Hsing - came, people have been panda crazy. A visit to the National Zoo to the panda palace included seeing the boxes the pandas came in. When the first two pandas died, people were bereft.

Now, we have new panda family and a new panda cub. It is exciting and fun. The new cub turned out to be a boy. (Picture from the National Zoo web site.) Here is the panda cam and zoo site: read all about the new panda that captured our hearts.

Ever since pandas were found in China and brought to the West, people have fallen in love with them. They seem so cuddly and cute. However, pandas are neither. Relatives of the bear family, pandas are large mammals who rely on bamboo for food.

Panda Insights:

"In China they call the Panda "Xiongmao", which means Giant Cat Bear. The Panda was believed to have magical powers that could ward off natural disasters and evil spirits" From World Kids: Endangered Animals Center http:///"

"Pandas live alone except when breeding, indicating a solitary lifestyle. Those with this medicine will be happiest when living by themselves. Relationships can be acquired and maintained but only if a partner respects the need for privacy and sacred space. Although relationship issues are common for those with this totem a panda medicine person will be forced to rely on their intuitive voice for nourishment and guidance. This aids them in developing a deeper understanding of who they truly are. From the perspective of spiritual growth this understanding is a fundamental requirement for the souls evolution." - From Sayahda's Animal Totems: Panada

Monday, August 01, 2005

A Gift of Feathers

While on a walk, I found a crow tail feather. I have a collection of crow, pigeon, and blue jay feathers. I use them to fan sage with when I cleanse my home. Feathers are magical and are a gift from the birds themselves.

Most people prize eagle and hawk feathers since they represent spirituality and bravery. However, in the U.S., it is illegal to possess such feathers without a permit. Also treaties cover migratory birds such as herons and the possession of their feathers. I write this since in the late 1800s and early 1900s, thousands of birds were slaughtered for their feathers. Women's hats, at that time, were decorated with heron and egret feathers.

Back to crow feathers, these like the birds are sooty black. They are used for mourning and for letting go of situations. For followers of the Norse religions, crow and raven feathers have symbolic meaning as well. The two ravens of Odin told him of the happenings in the world. Among the Arapaho of North America, crow feathers were widely used in their Ghost and Crow Dances for making ceremonial items.

I have a personal connection with crows. When I am looking for direction or advice, they drop feathers on my head. Sometimes, they will come and eat my lunch or at least try. When I do listen to them, I have to think quietly of what they are saying to me. Sometimes, I get it and sometimes, I don't. However, the crows seem to understand and try some more. That is the way between people and animals sometimes.