Friday, March 25, 2016

Blowing The Dust Off...

(The day before the official Full Moon; the Moon is so beautiful during the day when it's making its way through its usual cycle.)
It's me. I've come to resuscitate my blog. My separation for the past number of months wasn't necessarily by choice. Life intervened in a way that caused me to take a more extended hiatus from my posts than I would have liked. In any event, I'm here and feeling all the better for it. Life happens day by day, minute by minute, moment by moment. In the end it is up to me to keep the important aspects of my life alive and well. I have done so til now, but have vowed to make a more concerted effort from here on out.

Knocking wood...

The less than positive influences in life can gnaw away at the marrow of who we are. If one allows them to. I will readily admit that I have been a bit guilty of that. Let's say that I am focusing on the permutation of things. Altering in a positive way. Moving forward with a renewed outlook. I know that could kind of denote something serious. Those discards are only as serious as I allow them to be. In the end they really aren't that important. No...let me rephrase that...they aren't important at all.

The main constant here has been the marsh. It is always the marsh. My little corner of the world where I always can count on the world outside to calm and re-energize. Where nature equals nurture. Therapy.  My therapy. As I've expressed many times before in this blog, Gaia shows her many moods here on the Georgia coast. She is never boring.

Fall here was beautiful, which it always is. Leaves turning to various hues from red to mottled brown. Marsh grasses turning from green to mustard yellow. Just enough chill hanging in the air to warrant a jacket when I would make my way along the marsh for a healthy dose of nature.

For the final months leading into the new year I had braced myself for a bone chilling winter. It never came. There were nights and subsequent mornings where winter appeared to finally have arrived, but over all the iciness of winter was never fully realized. No puffs of breath in the cold air. No long lasting cold cutting to the bone. Many say global warming isn't a reality. I'm one of those who say differently. Gaia isn't well. The winter (or lack of) for the year 2015 into 2016 illustrated that quite plainly. For me, anyway.

So here we are well into a new year. It has been a few months already, and a number of my therapy/photography strolls have happened. Not as many as I would like, but the ones that I did take had the desired effect. I witnessed the ever changing marsh, and have never found it dull. Minute by minute, step by step, photo by photo.

The pictures I have posted in this entry mark the beginning of 2016 to the present. I write/post about a number of things on my blog. My photos being a regular feature. As I mentioned previously, the planet has many moods and I see them here. These images are the ones I glimpsed with my camera lens.

(The delicate shed husk of a Cicada next to some young clover)

(The alien new growth of a sago palm, a.k.a. cycas revoluta; this ball shape will wither to reveal red husked seeds inside, and then to new shoots; fascinating to see up close, but poisonous if ingested by animals)
(The marsh end of the tidal creek that runs behind the condo; there are various houses on the other side)

(One of the foggy days on the marsh, my absolute favorite times to visit the marsh edge; there is a calming isolation that falls over the island here, added to by the distant moan of an occasional fog horn.)

(One of the Camilia's on the bush by the front porch. The only flowering bush that blooms during the cold months; however, this year we had some confused Azalea bushes that were blooming at the end of December.)

(Various acorns, many of them partial discards from hungry squirrels.)

(A spent Magnolia seed pod from the Magnolia tree by our front walk.)

(Every year at the beginning of Spring the marsh edge is lined by dead and dying cat tails that have gone to seed; in the past I have seen fiddler crabs that have scaled the long stalk to the seeded remains to feed, but not this time.)

These last few photos are of the Full Worm Moon of March. It was big and beautiful. I always look forward to seeing the Moon in its monthly fullness. It's as if the universe is acknowledging us by shining a celestial spotlight in our direction.

I have more posts coming...

Therapy is back in session...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I have no Egrets about the Heron...

We have had typical coastal weather here on the marsh. Most days the weather forecasts give a certain percent chance of scattered thunderstorms, which is always a plus in my book. Some would call rainy skies dreary weather, but I call it dreamy weather. Gaia's moody side is always so relaxing, and it sparks my creative juices. Since my time at the mine is of the 'full time' variety the last year or so, I don't spend enough time being creative. I'm always quite knackered when I get home, and the sloth in me comes out. I do pop out for some quick photos here and there to at least witness the seasonal shifts, so that helps...a little...

I finally was able to laugh in the face of fatigue, and I made it outside one afternoon for a stroll. There are times when I miss the more in-your-face world of Los Angeles, but they aren't frequent. Walking out the front door to the various sounds of wildlife, peppered with the dull noise of my neighbors going about their business, is something I truly enjoy. It's very Zen here on the marsh. The presence of the natural world out-weighs the presence of man-made 'progress'...which should be how it is my opinion...

I do re-visit some of my favorite places. One of those places is the small pond at the far end of the condos. I've encountered ducks every now and again, and although I've never really seen any of them, in the evenings the loud rhythmic croaking of what I assume to be hundreds of pond frogs. (On some nights they are so loud I can here them from my front porch.) O'possums and raccoons are regulars around here, as are a multitude of feral cats. I've heard but have never actually seen an owl that hangs out in the trees (there could be more than one, but I can't really be sure). Also, on the big bird front, I've seen black vultures, hawks, and crows.

On the aforementioned afternoon stroll, I was to encounter several feathered beauties that also fall under the 'big bird' heading. This particular afternoon I took the route of crossing the condo 'driveway' (don't know what else to call it) and parking spaces. I walked between two of the buildings that back up against the pond, and when I looked over to the marsh (the pond sits right next to it) I froze...a rather large white Egret was standing in the branches of the one tree on the pond's edge.

Most of the times that I see the Egrets/Herons around here it is at a distance. Either they are perched on the dock ruins, or when the tide is out they are piercing the muddy floor of the marsh with their beaks foraging for food. Other times I see them flapping their large wings as they fly overhead, or across the marsh. This was really the first time I was close enough to study their features.

Once I caught sight of the bird in the tree, I noticed the ones on the pond bank. I was thrilled to be so close, but afraid that once they noticed I was there they would fly away. Growing around the tree are several large bushes. I decided to slowly approach using the bushes as a kind of blind. It would pay off.

Several shots of the Egret perched in the tree were taken. At such a close range I was able to see its deep yellow bill, and black legs. It was kind of interesting to see how clean its white feathers appeared to be since it spent time wading and probing in the mud. It was really beautiful.

When I returned to the condo I asked Glenn about the birds. He grew up here, so he would be a good person to ask. I figured them to be Herons or Egrets, and that's pretty much the response I got from him. Neither one of us could really tell the difference. Inquiring minds wanted to know, so I did what I usually do in those cases...I took my question to the internet...

The first question I posed to Google was ' 'what is the difference between an Egret and a Heron?' As I perused several posts that popped up, I would find that there are many similarities between the two. I didn't really find any info to tell me about any distinctive differences. They are tail-less birds. They typically hold their neck in an S-shape when on land, and also in flight (unlike cranes and storks who fly with a straight neck). Egrets/Herons are carnivorous which would explain their presence at the pond...they dig frogs and as I said before the pond is full of them.

The name 'Egret' comes from the French word 'aigrette', and refers to plume feathers that are the special breeding plumage of six species of White Egrets. These feathers were once very popular in fashion, plume hunting causing many Heron deaths. Early conservationists stopped the slaughter, and put the birds under protection. Since that time, the Heron/Egret has been the symbol of the National Audobon Society for many years now.

Since I see the long legged birds searching for food in the marsh mud when the tide is low, I found it surprising how clean their feathers are. It turns out they carry their own 'cleaner' with them. There are several patches of "powder-down" feathers on their breast. They break these feathers into a fine powder and apply it to messes with their beak. They then use a serrated claw on their middle toe to scrape off the powder and any muck.

('Egret Against Night Sky',
by: Ohara Koson, 1877-1945)
As is usual with me, I looked into the symbolic meaning of the Heron/Egret. Historically the bird holds great importance to a number of countries:
  • China ~ have a common charm, "May your path be ever harmonious", the Lotus flower and Heron being represented; signifies patience, strength, purity, and long life

  • Ancient Greece ~ the Heron is messenger for the goddess of wisdom, Athena

  • Ancient Egypt ~ associated with the Egyptian calendar, and the idea of cyclical renewal; the Heron was/is known as the sacred Benu-bird, which announced the beginning of time in the ancient myth of creation

  • New Zealand ~ the Maori hold the Heron in high regard; known as the "Kotuku", it symbolizes everything rare and beautiful; thought to be spirit messengers who dwell in the spirit land of "Reinga"; they are quite rare in NZ, so actually seeing one is thought to be a once in a lifetime event

  • Native Americans ~ when a wise man dies he is thought to be reborn as a Heron; the Blue Heron is seen as a good omen for Iroquois hunters 

The Heron is an animal totem. Although it flies through the sky, it is seen as a water creature as it lives by water. When coupled with the influence of Mother Nature (Mother Earth = strength), it has a strong connection to the Earth element.

An individual who has the Heron totem likes to follow their own path. They are self-reliant, and un-traditional. While walking their own path, others may see their way as being unstructured. In truth they are able to handle a multitude of tasks, and if one way doesn't work they know what will. They are very secure in who they are and what they can accomplish. It is a grounding agent for the Earth and spiritual beliefs. If a Heron wades across one's path it is telling them to take a deeper look at life and aspects that will bring inherent wisdom and self-reliance.

If the Heron is seen in dreams, it represents stability, tactfulness, and belief in ones self. With careful consideration of ones immediate or long reaching future, success can be reached. It bestows greater ease in connecting and exploring with the subconscious.

Interesting stuff. Since moving to Savannah and the more nature based, bucolic world here, I have felt more connected to the more important things in life. The Earth and the accompanying elemental energies. I see Egrets/Herons on a daily basis here on the peaceful marsh. Things with the daily rat race of work, etc. can be rather daunting, and pull focus from what's really important. It can pull you free from important grounding influences.

I think I need to try and absorb some of the vibes from my neighbors...the Herons... 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Happy Birthday, Chris...

Sending out a big Happy Birthday to Chris Hemsworth, who turns 32 today. 

For the rest of you...eye candy.