The Swan Visitor

Gazing out glass windows
Still, calm waters
LBJ’s remembrance
Lake of many views
Suddenly, ripples from around the bend
Soft push back-forward….push back-forward….push back-forward
Closer, closer, closer, slowly spinning
Long pure white neck decorated with abundant soft feathers
Looking towards me
Slowly opening nature’s doors
I creep down the sidewalk
Closer, closer, closer, slowly raising camera
As I softly speak in high – pitched tones
Orange beak alert; listening; watching
Snap; Beautiful Swan-moment captured
I sit on the dock; bread in hand; watching; waiting
Soft push back-forward…push back-forward…push back-forward
Closer, closer, closer, slowly spinning
Listening; watching; waiting
Niblet of bread gifted forward
White neck stretching; reaching
Orange beak to hand….opening wide-wider;
I toss the bread in an arc towards the waiting wonder
Touch of soft bread piece on water triggers ripples
Snap; treat from a friend

By Terry Grosvenor
1/18/2014
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Owl Houses

Living on the creek, a variety of “visitors” surprise us on occasion.  We’ve seen raccoon families, possum families hanging upside down from trees, a few long-tailed creatures tight-walking the telephone wires across the creek, bobcats on people’s roofs, multiple foxes, squirrel families born in birdhouses, etc.  When our boys were very young, they had a yellow and orange “Little Tykes” picnic table out in our backyard.  One morning following a very bad thunderstorm resulting in many broken tree limbs, I looked out the window and saw an unusual shape moving underneath the picnic table.  I watched it for a while to see if it was staying in one place. Looking closer, I felt it was definitely some sort of  bird; small, but with a significantly round body.  When I got outside, the bird made no effort to escape.  As I approached it, I discovered it was a screech owl.  He was adorable, but one of his eyes was badly injured. I wondered if he had been hit in the head by the large pecan tree limb that had fallen nearby in the storm.  Knowing very little about screech owls, I didn’t really know how to help him.  I didn’t want to leave him on the ground too long due to the possibility of a predator harming him.  I made a decision to call our local zoo and ask their advise.  They told me to get him to walk into a box and bring him out to the zoo.  How does one get a little screech owl to agree to walk into a box?  Very carefully!  I found a big stick and gently coaxed him into a box I had put onto its side in front of the owl.  He acted like he didn’t really know what was happening.  I was finally successful in getting him to slowly waddle inside the box, tipped it over quickly and put the box into my car.  After delivering him to the zoo, I waited several hours before receiving a phone call from the zoo veterinarian. After several hours, the zoo called me and told me they had worked on the owl in surgery all night, but that they couldn’t save him.  I was so sad about the sweet owl, but was somewhat comforted that at least we had attempted to save him.

Ever since that day, having had a close encounter with a little screech owl, I have always been fascinated by owls.  My niece, Jannica had a screech owl living in an owl house in her backyard by the swimming pool.  She named him Otis and he was just adorable.  Now that the age of “Google It” has arrived, I enjoy searching for information about a variety of subjects.  I started looking up information on attracting owls to your property and found the specs. for building a screech owl house.  Knowing my younger son, Brett,  loves to use his tools and build things, I e-mailed him today to see if he would build his mama a screech owl house.  His response was quite positive, so I am hoping that someday we will have an owl house complete with owl family on our part of the creek.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Having heard from my sister-in-law, Janice Northerns, that “The Goldfinch”  by  Donna Tartt was an excellent novel, I proceeded to borrow it from the Abilene Public Library on my Kindle.  Since beginning the journey, I find I cannot put this book down.  The writing is so genuine amidst an all-too-common tragedy in our world today, that the characters so horribly moved by the events truly grasp your heart and your mind.  One might say that the pace in the beginning is almost in slow motion, but isn’t that the way it is reported by people experiencing a sudden, moment of destruction and loss of human life?  

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On the Subject of DREAMS

I rarely discuss my dreams.  However, I found last night’s dreams to be quite interesting.  To set the scene for one of my dreams, my mother is an amazing lady in her 90’s, who lives quite independently outside of Austin on beautiful Lake LBJ.  Her faithful companion, since the death of my father, has been a delightful Pomeranian, named Riley.  One could say that Riley has definitely acquired  “the life of Riley” from living with my mother. They adore one another.  Riley is 14 years old and has numerous anomalies which make his life more difficult at this point, such as poor hearing, poor eyesight, allergies, violent coughing, and occasional listless behavior. However, with all of Riley’s old age problems, he still takes wonderful care of my mother.  Recently, my mother’s three children, including me, have been discussing how to best care for her if needed in the future, since all of us live quite a distance.  Of course, my mother has no desire to leave her home or her sweet Riley.  So, last night, I dreamed about my mother and I searching for a new puppy for my mother on a huge beach.  There were numerous people on the beach selling very odd-looking puppies of all ages and sizes.  Of course, no matter how many possible puppies I found for her, none of them could ever begin to replace her Riley.  A very appropriate dream, I think.

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DSC_0804_edited-1My second dream was quite interesting to me and one that I continue to reflect upon in my “spare time”.  If you have ever had a seemingly positive friend relationship explode on you, you might be able to relate to this dream.  The friend, in question, appeared at our door.  The conversation was quite cordial.  Apparently, we were standing on a second-story balcony, looking our over a huge forest and large grassy area.  Our family members and pets were down in the grassy area.  Suddenly, there was an explosive sound and a female lion came bounding out of the woods.  I was trying to warn my boys about the lion, and was very concerned about them.  Somehow, Brandon and Brett ended up donning hammers to defend themselves from the lion.  I was so worried about the boys, but also found myself eventually feeling sorry for the lion being “hammered” on the head.  I found myself feeling as though the lion had escaped from a zoo unexpectedly and had no intention of hurting anyone.  I remember being in quite the conundrum about the entire situation.  Similar feelings to those I have been feeling about the situation with “our friend”-precisely!

Happy New Year, 2014

As another new year is upon us, it is time, once again, to jump start my fitness kick, record all of those calories, walk briskly around the boulevard, budget, and vow to make the most of our time on a slim dime!   Of course, after projecting much more time for creating for others in December than I actually had, I continue to work on a few delinquent Christmas gifts.  Hopefully, the receivers will consider them worth the wait!  I did start the new year off right by spending an entire morning in every book store in town.  My delightful excursions resulted in a boatload of  “good reads” to enjoy and prevent me from spending dollars I do not have!

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We attended a holiday party last night and made a number of new acquaintances, many of whom were McMurray professors and spouses.  I tend to enjoy the “outsider” approach from afar when attending such events, but after receiving a little help from my friends and forcing myself to “step out” a bit, I considered it a highly entertaining evening.  Actually, the first week in January is a perfect time to host a party.  Everyone is ready to escape the comfortable, yet at times tiring ” room with a view” of home, with the opportunity to listen to fresh conversation.  It was a wonderfully, cool night on the LeMaster’s beautiful, covered porch overlooking the creek.  I believe BG looks similar to this picture of Mr. Buttons, following his partying, though he is not inside of a box today.

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At the party,  I was able to find out this year’s location of our previous neighborhood creek visitors , two Great Horned Owls. Apparently, they are “hooting” during this, a later time of year than usual, off of Rivercrest, where my Aunt Ginger and Uncle Hubert used to reside.  I want them to return to us very badly, as photographing them was one of my favorite creek activities!

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I saw a great deal of evidence of our large fox population in my backyard yesterday afternoon.  I need to replace a light bulb, so that perhaps I can catch a photograph of them one of these evenings.

My endless project of card creation continues:      

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