Drunken Squirrels

And so my husband is a nut, we all know that. He was telling me last night about squirrels and the availability of fermented berries and pumpkin? Yes, fermented pumpkin, and the rise of alcoholism in squirrels.

I googled this nonsense and came up with a story about country clubs in the south and how the alcoholic squirrels there, yes by cracky, here we go again, alcoholic squirrels have been harassing club-goers begging for sips of their mint juleps and spiked sweet teas.

I declare! In all my born days.

Squirrels are not only friendly and cute. They are also the animal you’re most likely to see wasted in your yard. Squirrels get intoxicated from ingesting fermented crab apples, squash, magnolia petals, and cherries among other delicacies.

Oh fiddle dee dee, Magnolia petal wine! We could be missing out here kids.

And so all these good-intentioned, well-meaning homeowners are being a bit lazy and leaving their backyard fruit to ferment. Not knowing that they are practically providing an open bar to the neighborhood squirrels along with any raccoons, stray cats or rodents that may show up.

This would explain a lot of the loopiness common in squirrels and other animals. I sure as heck know how silly even the most serious humans can get when they are “feeling no pain.”

I am fine with our backyard squirrels imbibing. It might make them more fun. As long as I don’t have to live with them lying on my couch all day and complaining about a wicked hangover and wanting sympathy and their nuts shelled for them.

 

The squirrels who inhabit our backyard are definitely peanut happy. Unfortunately there are no fruit trees or liquor stores nearby but they are content, and probably better off, with the nuts and seeds we feed them. They also like the clean water we give them in one of our cat’s old kitten dishes.

They have trained us to do this and we have found we like it very much. My husband plays music on his guitar and we dole out the peanuts. The squirrels run around and our cat Mocha loves to watch them and the many birds that visit us too.

These little creatures just bound up and they are so happy to see us. You can see it on their faces; the look of happiness and that little happiness spreads to us too. It’s “like a little jolt of electricity, a little high” as my husband put it.

This is our kind of partying.

 

 

What I am really trying to say, as nutty as it sounds is: We need more “drunken squirrels” in our lives. Fun little interactions with nature. Connections with other lifeforms other than ourselves. These creatures share our environment with us. Even if its just a cute squirrel in the park. I think we humans are becoming more and more separated from that connection with nature everyday. This makes it all the easier not to notice it all trickle away.

~SBI

“If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.”
Steve Irwin

 

Believe

You have to believe. Otherwise, it will never happen.
~Neil Gaiman

 

What do you believe? Do you believe in rational notions, in well explained, well thought out reasonable reasons? Do you believe everything has an explanation ? Or needs one?

 

Do you also believe the fairy tales you were told as a child about the things that go bump in night? In strange magical creatures, in aliens? Do you believe in the power of positive thinking? Can you stretch your imagination to believe something you have been told is not real? Can you go where your heart leads and believe what it tells you?

Albert Einstein said that reality is merely an illusion, a very persistent one but a illusion nonetheless. I believe everyone has their own separate realities that are all unique unto themselves and that we do have a choice in what our own reality is. Of course I can’t wish a terrible president away or think happy thoughts and start to fly but I can take actions to direct my own destiny and I can believe whatever the hell I want to. And so what  if I believe in unicorns, fairies, talking crows and humans with good hearts I can
If you want to believe that too, you can,  but if you don’t believe that is okay , I still think you are wonderful and it doesn’t make my beliefs any less valid. 

 

Part of me is more rational than the other and I choose which part to believe at certain times. The whimsical one is getting more power all the time as I grow wiser with time.  The whimsical side has a much better use for time than the practical side I imagine. 

 I believe that people generally want to believe something, something beyond or greater than themselves. Our time here is so short and the universe is so very big and we are so very small.  

The best beliefs are those which you cannot prove to be true, the invisible ones you hold your heart. somehow I think people lose sight of that along the way, we are told what to believe and not to believe by our parents , our peers, by society. 

I feel I can believe whatever I want to, no matter what, as long as the belief is good and pure and honest, as long as it does not hurt anyone or anything, as long as it does not contradict what my heart, what my soul tells me to be true. I can believe whatever I want to and I can can disbelieve any biased , hateful crap that comes my way. I can choose to believe in the good of people and that there is hope in the world and that with love and cooperation and wisdom to see the truth for its own sake we can all live together and save ourselves from ourselves if we just believe. 

♥ SBI

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Whimsy   (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Cottingley Fairies

 

What the Crow Told Me

A lone crow caws at me from atop a tall tree. The wind tosses my hair into my eyes. I push it away and squint to see despite the rain. And there it is. It looks down on me. As if to say…

“Don’t forget about me. I remain your spirit animal until I teach you what I have to teach you. Silly human.”

And I carry no peanuts, not a one. Not today.

And so it soars off into the unforgiving gray sky and I am left humbled in the rain by a tattered old bird in a parking lot in the first hours of morn.

I would feed them, these birds, every morning at my old job, the one that burned me out. It was only a couple of months ago but it still is very recent in my mind.

My interactions with the crows were my only joys during a joyless day. They became my spirit animal after a similar encounter with one months before the one I just described.

I was sad with nothing to hold on to. I would notice the birds on my way to work. it was wintertime and obviously not an easy life for them. I know from reading and from firsthand experience that that crows which are in the Corvid family along with Ravens , Blue Jays and other birds are extremely intelligent. I admire that intelligence and I admire the tenacity and determination these animals display just trying to eek an existence alongside humans.

So there is was in the same parking lot as before, in the very early morning and it cawed at me and kept cawing. I had time to take out the camera I was carrying and take this picture. I have since had the image blown up and I have it framed in a small frame. It is up on the wall to remind me.

It came to me that I could learn a lot from those scrappy but majestic birds and so I began to carry peanuts in my pocket to reward them for being so inspiring and to maybe give back a little to animals who have had so much taken from them by humans.

The winter came and went and so did spring and summer. My work life grew more difficult and it began to take its toll on me and through me, on my family.

All the while I learned from the crows and I grew tougher and more resilient and smarter. I realized that I needed to escape that job. I am learning that just because I am able to do something doesn’t mean I should do it. Nothing is worth having these burnouts. I have overcome so much in my quest for having a simple life, one just like everyone else despite my Autism. I think I need to work wiser, not just harder. I don’t need to torture myself. I need to celebrate myself. And I need to seek help. The crows are seldom alone, they thrive in groups, they are social and therein lies a strength for them . This, among much, much more I have yet to learn.

I am fortunate to have such wise and resilient teachers.

❤ SBI

Crow Quotes

When a crow says an intelligent thing, chickens may laugh at it. This is the laughing of the sand castles at the powerful waves!

Mehmet Murat ildan

Crows are incredibly smart. They can be taught five things on the drop.

Robbie Coltraine

I saw a crow building a nest, I was watching him very carefully, I was kind of stalking him and he was aware of it. And you know what they do when they become aware of someone stalking them when they build a nest, which is a very vulnerable place to be? They build a decoy nest. It’s just for you.

Tom Waits

“If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.” ~ Rev. Henry Ward Beecher

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Crow Symbolism and Meaning

Corvidae is a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers.[1][2][3] In common English, they are known as the crow family, or, more technically, corvids. Over 120 species are described. The genus Corvus, including the jackdaws, crows, rooks, and ravens, makes up over a third of the entire family.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvidae

The world between two pines

A mystical magical foray through the foggy forest

“The richness of a moment comes when it’s both full and empty at the same time. The truth is, we live simultaneously in time and timelessness.” ~ Ram Dass

Where does reality leave off and imagination take over? Does it matter?


All at once the light of overcast day turns to fog as we step between the two tall pines and descend into into darkening wood.

I proceed with an uncharacteristic reverence, my steps slow and deliberate.  

The air is damp. Tufts of fogginess elongate, curving and curling between the trees trunks like an asp lending an air of mystery to the atmosphere. Although I am inside a natural area that’s inside a large park, I could be anywhere. 

There is a sense of timeless here, of ancientness. I can smell it. The pine needles, the mud, the old leaves, the moss. Ancestral memories encoded in my DNA have been awakened. I feel oddly at home, every twist and turn takes me deeper and deeper in. 

My usual gleefulness is gone, replaced by a watchfulness. Where my causal romp through the woods has become more than causal. I notice my steady breaths and I notice the birds are quiet. It seems as everything is at a standstill, but me.

It’s as though I am walking through a dream. The haze grows murkier with every step, my footing has been lost in the fog. The path twists and turns and suddenly I find I have lost the path altogether. The mossy floor feels like soft clouds and I imagine I am high in the sky feeling the cool fresh air. I feel so relaxed and at ease , I am compelled to sleep…

Then I spy glossy black wings in the corner of my mind’s eye and hear the cawing of the crows…
…suddenly I’m back on the ground slipping in the mud, catching myself in dreamland and jolting myself awake. 
Better watch my step…haha.

 

~SBI
All photos taken by me on The Wildwood Trail in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon. 

 

 

 

 

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The infinite loveliness of nothing

There is a certain loveliness in nothingness, in unencumbered stillness, in silent empty space. In this absence of something there is a void that aches to be filled. Therein lies potential and that potential is infinite.

At least I tell myself this as I sit at the back door watching the trees dance in the wind. It is early morning and I am in the process of appreciating some idle time.

I still wake up at 4:45 a.m. A feat that has taken this once proud night owl years of cultivation to achieve and I will get as much down time as I can get even if it is in the early morning. Nothing lasts forever and this extra time will not.

In order to appreciate this time that I have seized for myself in an act of desperation, I must engage myself in the art of doing nothing.

My last job was in itself a culture of stress. I worked in a very busy call center in the public safety sector. There was high expectations and a rigid adherence to numerous and various state laws and regulations that required me to make statements that made callers confused and upset, this made customer service difficult at best. My days were timed to the tenth of a second, over one minute late and you have an “occurrence” and points were given, points that added up very fast for some and there was/ is a high turnover rate. I did well though. My calls were listened to and graded. I was thought of as smart and competent , I took  direction well and after a while I did start to sound like the others: A caller once told me I sounded like a robot.

I almost cried then.

There was a reason why I wasn’t the only one who had constant migraines there.

I felt I was drowning, gasping for air.  I felt desperate. An anger rose up in me that was not me at all.  This started to effect my relationships with my husband and family. I felt sick  to my stomach and my energy was zapped. I felt like a zombie just trying to get to the next day, to the weekend where I would try to cram as much living as I could in 2 days.

I bet my former coworkers would have been surprised to know that I am on the Autism Spectrum, I have masked it pretty well my whole life but that takes its physical and emotional toll on me and that job was not the best for someone with sensory issues, it may be one of the worst. 47 hour weeks of this for nearly two years did me in and burned me out. The job that gave me and my family health insurance made me sick.

 

Before I gave my notice I obtained a part time temporary gig in retail. It pays the bills, just almost. In the two months I have been there I have been much happier and healthier. I am getting myself back.


To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.
Lao Tzu

East bank of the Willamette River

Nothing gives birth to creation.

It provides the empty space for something to occur. Nothing is an empty cup waiting to be filled, it is up to us to fill it.

The only real commodity is time. We are selling hours of our lives for money. Money we need to survive. Most of us have no control over this and have to spend much of our lifetime devoted to that task.

There is no time for nothing. There is no blank canvas on which to create and on which to write the narrative of our lives. Some fortunate people have jobs that them happy, that happiness is reflected in their work and everyone around them can share in this happiness. They are excited to get up and start working for the day. I want to be one of those people.

I believe that I can contribute to society in a greater way than I am now, I should say in a better way. Whether I am baking bread, selling jewelry in a store or writing something that makes people laugh or cry or think.

This rat is so very tired of the race.

And so I sit here at the back door, feeding a few squirrels that have gathered. My mind has time to reflect, my writing voice is coming back, the one that has lain dormant for a few years. I hear it speaking in whispers, I can barely hear but I am listening.

SBI

 

**

“And to tell the truth I don’t want to let go of the wrists of idleness, I don’t want to sell my life for money, I don’t even want to come in out of the rain.”

Mary Oliver

Good donut, bad donut

It is early morning in mid winter. I type not knowing what to write but knowing that I should write. So here I am trying not to disturb the cat on my lap and attempting to ignore the hunger growling in my stomach.

Coffee would be good but again that would require me to get up and disturb the cat, this not disturbing the cat thing is not going so well. Too bad the cat just won’t volunteer to make coffee but that would be ridiculous; no one makes it strong enough for me, not even my cat who my daughter named Mocha after my coffee addiction.

Doesn’t that look absolutely delectable?

Now visions of hot dark strong coffee with very liberal doses of cream flood my mind…

Yummmmm

Who brought the donuts up? I have no donuts at home. I have a fondness for donuts, just glazed usually or sometimes an apple fritter is nice. Jelly filled is not my thing, too unpredictable, could explode on you at any time.

“Weird donuts near me”

There is a donut place in the city where I live. It has mediocre donuts but outstanding marketing. It sells “interesting”donuts and has set itself up as a tourist destination. This place has acquired long lines of vacation people with time on their hands and money to spend. These people then proceed to walk around town cumbered by these tell tale pink boxes of donuts, I can’t help but laugh

I googled : “weird donuts near me” I got the place. I won’t name it here.

The Bad

Bad donuts are just that. Bad. And although mediocre donuts are okay, good donuts are better but not so easy to find when you really need them. I am reminded of late night forays to convenience stores jonesing for a cruller or just a simple sugar ring only to be greeted by an old jelly-filled brown lump that sits alone under a half- warmish lightbulb snarling at you when you open the case.

The Good

Simple is good. Fresh is wonderful. Quality ingredients, consistency. No bright colors or anything oozing out. No sprinkles, no gimmicks; although I love bacon don’t put it on my donut.

mouthwatering…scrumptious…You donut know how much I love you!

Of course I am romanticizing it all but I do love a good donut. I love bakeries in general. ask anyone who really knows me and they will tell you. I am in love with that smell , that delicious aroma that emanates from them. It makes me sooooooo happy!!

I have a dream about owning a bakery someday. I am used to getting up early anyway. I used to call business owners in a previous job and I noticed that owners of bakeries seemed to be the happiest. And so in the interest of science and my growling stomach I googled the best donuts in the world. I got a list showing the best donuts in the US and much to my surprise and delight I found the number two to be in my city of Portland!

And we know where that is leading….

And so I will report back and let you all know how it goes…

Nancy

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Why do we love the smell of bread? UCD scientists find the answer. by The Irish Times

Fresh Quotes: The Moon and I

 

There has been times in my life when it seemed the moon was my only friend. It seemed so lonely up there in the dark. And so it came to be that we’d keep each other company.
If we seem well acquainted this is why. 

Having romantic notions about the moon. I felt my soulmate, my kindred spirit, my best friend, a person I had yet to meet was out there looking at that same moon wondering about me too. The moon told me that love is timeless and to be patient, for love is that too. 
And so we’d have these little conversations wherein the moon reminded me just how small I am and how big and ancient the moon is compared to me. These talks tend to put things into perspective when I am as lucid as the moon which is only sometimes, most of the time I am a lunatic which is another story…

 

-Nancy

***Here are some Moon quotes intended to inspire the lunatic in all of us. 

 

MOON Quotes

It is a beautiful and delightful sight to behold the body of the Moon.

Galileo Galilei
 

There is a moon inside every human being. Learn to be companions with it.

 
Credit: Public Domain

 

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

Anton Chekhov

“The moon is a loyal companion.
It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human.
Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.”
― Tahereh Mafi

 

“Yours is the light by which my spirit’s born: – you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars.”
― e. e. cummings