Don’t Give Up…

…without a fight.

Have you ever been put in a situation…or put yourself in a situation…where you lose control, completely.  You find yourself cornered/humiliated/vulnerable/speechless?  You lose your voice?  Loud voices are coming at you.  You see mouths moving and eyes wide open.  But, you really don’t hear a word that the voices are projecting.  You want to catch up on the conversation and what is happening, but you are so shocked that you’re NOT SAFE, that you are deemed useless, defenseless and feel only things in your body?  Oh. I’m sweating.  Oh, my heart is pounding.  Oh. Am I going to throw up?  Am I going to cry?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what is going on in a world where this is allowed to happen.  We become enraged when we remember these collective experiences happening historically, in the unbelievable and horrific impacts of colonization and slavery, of racist and immoral conduct in war.  (Presently watching the Netflix series on Vietnam, with my son.  Watch the entire series, beginning with French colonization…see what atrocities happened there.) We are shocked and freaked out when it happens on the world stage in the forum of politics, religion and foreign policy. (I can’t even name all such horrors.)

The strong prey on others.

The privilege of power; whether that is white or big or strong or conservative or educated or rich…the privilege of power is a demon in the face of building relationship or building community or building trust.

The second clutch of sparrows was attacked on the hottest day of summer.  It might have been a Magpie or a Crow.  I wasn’t home to see the events.  The Crow and the Magpie have youngsters to feed…their aggression is without thought for kindness, but for survival.  That’s the difference between human beings and Crows.  We can choose to communicate kindly, even in the face of conflict.  It is our moral imperative to do so.

Mr.  did not give up without a fight.  How do I know this?  Because his feathers show the scars of the attempt to protect his youngsters.  Mr. and Mrs. have grieved at the empty vent these past two days.

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I ask myself if I had stayed home from book club, would things have turned out differently.  Maybe not.

 

Sheep-ISH Dog

Some of my friends on social media may have thought I was joking when I compared this fox to my dog, Max.

I just returned from my hike around the pond with Max…something we do at least once a day and when the weather co-operates, twice.  Lately, the wintry pond environment has offered new insights.  For one, during the huge spell of deep snow and icy temperatures, I found a kill site.  A predatory bird, likely some type of hawk, was evidently taken down by a large carnivore (I was initially thinking, a larger male coyote).  The feathers and parts of the bird were carried over a long trail.

I’ve purchased some casting plaster and will want to take a cast of the tracks that I’ve found circling the entire pond, simply because their profile is much larger than the other coyotes that have inhabited the area….more than four inches.  I want to do some comparison identification.  These matters always intrigue me.

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Add to that, the presence of deer sign (very unusual for this part of Fish Creek because it is fenced off) and several skat sites that included lots of animal hair as well as the typical berries, and it is evident that the wintery weather is offering all of the animals challenges for food sources and water.

So, today Max was, as is typical, exploring all of this.  As well, he was showing his mousing behaviours, every so often, acting very much like the fox featured in the previous Youtube video…only difference is that he doesn’t do the exuberant leap into the air.  He does, however, bury his snout completely into the snow, even snow that has developed a bit of a crust in this morning’s lowering temperatures.

Today…YES!  He brought out a mouse!  And…NO!  It mattered not how many times I commanded “Drop IT!”

“LEAVE IT!”

“COME!”

Max, consumed the mouse…yes indeedy!  Right in front of me…sheepishly relocating to a different spot every time I made a move toward him!  I know that my readers can imagine this.  I was so exasperated watching the horrors of a mouse being eaten bit by bit by my domestic pet, that I am still agitated.  Does Max know that I am angry?  You tell me.

Sheep-ISH Max January 22, 2014

Sheep-ISH Max January 22, 2014

Now, of course, my next concern….”Is this going to bite Max in the butt?  bite me in the butt?”  As I collected these photographs at our arrival home, he burped.  SHEESH!

What I Do When I’m Not Searching For P. Mason OR Writing About Searching For Him

I came home from a day of teaching grade eight social studies (Yes…sometimes I am a guest teacher!  Yesterday I watched, four times over, a late 90s film on Latitude and Longitude.  I feel now that I’ve learned a lot that I hadn’t previously learned in my own schooling.  I often feel that way about teaching.  I’m going to have to remember to ask my brother who is in the Canadian Navy more about a sextant though.  In fact, I’d like to hold a sextant in my hands because then I truly think it will make more sense.  I’m amazed really, thinking about the early nautical travelers, setting out onto the ocean, not REALLY able to sort out where they were.  Huge risk, I say!  But…this has been a digression, yet again!) 

When I arrived home from teaching yesterday, my entire front yard was covered in a fresh blanket of snow.  Clearly, there was a footprint-story to be told in the crisp white surface.  There were no people-prints adjacent, so I excluded the possibility of these being those of a domesticated canine; however,  I am open to the possibility that they were left by a run-away dog. James R. Page does a far more professional job of taking photos of tracks in winter-snow!  I noticed that the footprints circled the place where my birdfeeder used to lose much seed to the ground. (The seed does not fall to the ground here anymore because I have attached a beautiful tray so as to not attract predators.  Now,  the birds do not even feed here anymore!  I jest…there are two neighbourhood chickadees and a couple of finches that are brave enough to tackle the new physical dynamic.   The sparrows line the branches of my front-yard tree and look down, longingly, at the mother-load.)

The footprints.  I have left the autumn vegetation in my gardens as protective structure for the jack rabbits that hang about all winter.  It may be that my visitor to the front yard was looking for sustenance (bunny) on the wintry day.  So, here are my suspicions.  I think that Wiley is still out there!  Yes, our neighbourhood has its own coyote, a male that comes up from the Fish Creek and hangs out in our neighbourhood park.  Recently, I believed that we had lost Wiley.  He has, at least three times, stalked Max and I back to my front doorstep.  In fact, one morning at about 4:00 a.m. Max made a huge commotion and charged up the stairs to the front window.  I followed, alarmed.  There, on my front doorstep, was Wiley, munching enthusiastically into some sort of flesh.  At Max’s reaction, the coyote, nonchalantly, made his way down the street, with ears and body of his prey dangling out of either side of his face.  The last time I made a visual siting though, Wiley was sporting some sort of facial wound.  He looked emaciated and generally, not well.  It’s been a couple of months and still, no Wiley.  Until yesterday?