9.28.2014,9:49 PM
If I were an owl.......
Listened to a conversation between the male and female pair of Great Horned owls that nest here at the Refuge.I offered a few comments. The male answered, the female ignored me. 

Sigh. It's tough being a human owl.

posted by Macrobe
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,8:47 AM
A Traveler's Revelation
I have realized this summer while traveling that what I love the most is the loss of being drawn in and captured by the myriad of daily demands and trivialities that shrink our world to only the microcosm around us. It allows me the time and mental awareness to expand beyond myself, almost losing myself, while gaining a larger consciousness and spirituality. I know it sounds religious, but it is not at all. It is more an existential and holistic existence. And a freedom I don't want to trade for anything.

Walking out the door of a small cluttered room and into the wide open world filled with wonder.

posted by Macrobe
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,12:07 AM
A grebe comes home
Got close and personal with a Western grebe today. It was 'rescued' from the middle of the road near the Refuge HQ. Carried wrapped in a woman's sweater into the HQ, we explained to its rescuer how grebes can't walk well, nor take flight from the ground. Their legs are very short and placed near their rear end. On the other hand, they are excellent swimmers and divers. This one probably was blown down by the strong winds today.

We took the bird down to the pond and let it loose in the water. It was happy to be on water; flapped its wings, dove under and up through the water like a dolphin, and paddled away. I understand their courtship rituals are really incredible as pairs literally dance together on top of the water. 

I look forward to seeing this in the spring.

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posted by Macrobe
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9.16.2014,8:06 PM
Inward Bound
Every once in awhile, unplugging from the rest of the world entices the mind to turn inward. While at the same time connecting with the non-human element. This is the world that daily becomes more invisible to all of us. This summer I have had the fortune of becoming immersed in the Invisible. But it is not invisible to me.

Spending most of the summer at a National Wildlife Refuge in sothheast Oregon, I have enjoyed my reunion with wildlife. Surrounded by birds -waterfowl, shore birds, songbirds, raptors, and owls- my days are full of new discoveries and remembering old lessons. In the sagebrush steppes of the northern Great Basin, my plant skills have been honed. And I have enjoyed observing mammals that I haven't seen in decades.

But not all delights have been living organisms. In this land of recent volcanism and shifting continental drama, these basalt rims, towering uplifted fault blocks, and volcanic cinder cones dotted with pumice of all colors also give me delight. The child inside smiles and sometimes even squeaks, as I did when watching five otters in a pond one morning.

Part of my duties was to greet and inform visitors to the Refuge. More than just providing directions, I like to relay tidbits of natural history, sometimes personal anecdotes, encourage their questioning, and serve as a guide through the eyes of the creatures that inhabit this region. Rather than just directing them to a place where they can check off names on the bird list. I enjoy helping to tease their curiosity and searching for answers.

This is my calling.

And I enjoy spending the occasional self-indulgence of escaping to the wild.

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posted by Macrobe
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9.05.2014,4:16 PM
Lead kills birds
by Mary Oliver
Here is a story
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
This winter
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.
A friend told me
of one on the shore
that lifted its head and opened
the elegant beak and cried out
in the long, sweet savoring of its life
which, if you have heard it,
you know is a sacred thing.,
and for which, if you have not heard it,
you had better hurry to where
they still sing.
And, believe me, tell no one
just where that is.
The next morning
this loon, speckled
and iridescent and with a plan
to fly home
to some hidden lake,
was dead on the shore.
I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.
posted by Macrobe
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8.31.2014,10:47 PM
I am alive
When I was little, I talked to animals.
When I was a child, I asked why.
When I was a teenager, I lived in books.
When I was a young lady, I wrote poetry.
When I was a mother, I marveled at creating life.
When I was middle-aged, I juggled life's demands.
When I was older, I asked why and changed the answers.
Now that I am old, I talk to animals, rocks, clouds and water. I ask questions and smile at the many answers. I travel in books, on wheels, and through airwaves. I write poetry and prose about all the demands that were and a new simple life. I capture what I see in words and pictures, and fill my heart with family and good people. I play with animals and fly with birds. I might wear different colored socks, sing in the shower, or fill my hours with no human voice but with sounds of wind, birds, trees, and water.

When I am finally old, I finally get to live. And love everything.


posted by Macrobe
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8.28.2014,9:53 PM
Finding truth on the mountain
I reluctantly packed up my camp and headed down the mountain. During my 6-mile hike two days ago, a few epiphanies hit me, and a longing to stay there on that high savannah overlooking two gorges. There is a comfort in wildness and a solace in the isolation. And humbling to stand there with the wind whistling around you, instilling a timelessness that makes one feel old and born anew simultaneously. 

I had lunch at the historic Frenchglen Hotel, but found I had no voice. I left it up on the mountain with the wind. I let that speak for me.

posted by Macrobe
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8.25.2014,10:42 AM
An Ethical Life
"A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as well as that of his fellow man, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help." -Albert Schwitzer
posted by Macrobe
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8.22.2014,10:51 PM
Fall is Coming
The Sandhill cranes are grouping and moving. Their calls in flight are haunting and beautiful simultaneously. I stood underneath them, looking up and smiling.

And this old primal itchy feet feeling arises in me, too, from deep inside. I can start to feel that urge for going, too. It has haunted me all my life, every spring and fall.

I wish I could fly.

posted by Macrobe
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,3:09 PM
Call of the Wild
I awoke to a coyote orchestra, walked to work accompanied by the male Great Horned owl, watched an osprey swim in the sky and dive into the water for lunch, smiled at the sun peeking between clouds as it went to bed, and crickets chant me to sleep.

This is heaven to me.


posted by Macrobe
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