Friday, February 27, 2015

Comparisons in Size

A Least Tern, alone:

One non-breeding Least Tern, looking upward, safely amid her kind:

Least Terns with two Laughing Gulls and a Black Skimmer's flyover:

A Ruddy Turnstone in front of a first winter Ring-billed Gull:

A Ruddy Turnstone in front of an adult Ring-billed Gull:

Size comparisons; just one of Mother Nature's many types of diversity.

Kind of like we humans:  we come in all sizes and shapes. If only we could just all get along.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Picture, Perfect, February

This 2015 February is making a lot of national news. 

The serious:  the northeastern U.S. is getting a rash of cold and snow and ice that is taking lives, causing misery, and destroying private and public property.

The serious with a funny twist:  the “viral” video of our President trying his darndest to pronounce February and remind young and old (but mostly the young) that the Affordable Care Act sign-up deadline has a February date attached to it.

And for me?  I repeat myself; gladly:  February is this Gulf Coastie’s favorite month of the year. 

If you’d been in my neck of the woods yesterday, walking beside me, along the trails of Brazos Bend State Park, you too could have celebrated a picture-perfect February day.  Full-ball sun with temperatures in the 60’s and some over-fifty bird species spotted in two hours. 

Today?  Repeat of yesterday.  And so I thought I’d share a few photos from a last-week trip to the Texas City Dike.  I kind of think that the photos say it all:

Picture, Perfect, February!

(Please "click-on" photos for full-screen viewing of the pictures)

This Brown Pelican, in perfect winter sunshine, is beginning to show beautiful springtime plumage:

I never grow tired of watching a day-in-the-life of Laughing Gulls.  Ah, but when they drink from the pool of living water, I feel as if I'm watching a holy moment:

Is that Long-billed Curlew popping out of green snow?  No, just the common green clover of a February Texas-Gulf-Coast day:

Here's to celebrating a Picture, Perfect, February Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Incognito and Out of Sorts

My fore-mothers were big on “If you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all.”

Holding my tongue has, at times, served me well; and speaking my mind has regretfully not.  But truth be told, there have also been times when my silence has mistakenly supported some miscommunication, or bad behavior on the part of we humans, and I’ve deeply regretted not voicing myself.

But speaking my mind these days would find me mostly talking to myself.  I’ve felt so terribly incognito and out of sorts that I don’t look or feel myself:

I’ve traveled a bit these last few weeks to some lovely state parks:  South Llano River, Palmetto, Huntsville and places in between.  I’ve walked and birded and tried to turn my sights on Mother Nature, looking for the good:

And then I’d have more RV issues. And here comes my not-so-proud-of-myself admission:  I’m find solo travels in this RV to be so very difficult.

I’ve felt torn and tattered with fighting my RV’s unpredictable issues.

And then I’d experience the kindness of a stranger; someone camping that would note my predicament and offer help.  Or someone that would gladly offer aid when I’d knock on their RV door, or approach their campsite with an embarrassed or emotional voice, in need of help. 

Without the help of these others that I do not know, I’d have been stranded at Palmetto, unable to release a bound-up parking brake.  Thanks to Fifth-Wheel Man, who responded to my knock on his and his wife’s trailer door, a wee bit early one cold morning. 

Fifth-wheel Man listened to my plight; listened to my quaking voice as I read the less-than-useful information from the owner’s manual.  It was an uncomfortable situation for me, asking someone I did not know to sit in my driver’s seat.
I watched and listened and spoke as he attempted, with large-man strength, to exercise the lifeless parking brake handle.  He pushed in the button and raised and lowered, as exactly described by the manual.  The brake would not release; the handle would just “flop down” with no use.

Fifth-wheel Man and I reached the point of believing I would require a tow—and then one last extreme effort—and the brake released!  We both let out a loud YEA!—and I embarrassedly had a release of water from my eyes, knowing that this kind man had just freed me to again take flight.

Thanks to camper-strangers Mike and Terri for Mike’s crawling under the RV with me to gain me courage to study the LP tank plumbing.  We two strangers, with only lower legs and feet visible, crawled under the RV to find a likely valve, and to discuss the safety of a “lefty loosey” maneuver of it.  Lefty loosey we did, and I now have LP furnace capability!  (Special thanks to Terri for being on the ready if she heard a loud explosion!)

And thanks to Don for providing the hand-strength to disconnect my leaking “quick-connect” hose fittings.  My lack of hand strength is one of several items I’d like to address with Mother Nature regarding Her design of we women-folk. 

Everything that came so easy in the Airstream seems so difficult in the Winnebago.  Everything that I once loved about family and community, I now so hate, traveling my one life, solo.

And so I’ve returned to my stick house with some difficult decisions to make.  Much of the RV brokenness is repairable; but its body-jarring ride is not.  A local Mercedes dealership, specializing in the Sprinter chassis, confirmed that “constraint”. And as of eleven years ago, my body’s brokenness cannot function with such a harsh ride, without furthering serious damage.

And so I’m at a loss for what happens next.  Feeling out of sorts is an understatement for seeking a reinvention of my purpose and goals. 

But I give thanks to those unknown camper-folk whose actions made me not feel incognito.  They saw; they heard; they helped.  Actions speak so much louder than words.