Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Spring of Staying At Home: A Birder's Poem

The Spring of Staying At Home
A Birder’s Poem

People wear masks,
And Laughing Gulls laugh, (Donald Peter Freiday)
And the birds in the yard,
Make it not so hard. (Harvey Tomlinson Jr.)
We wait in lines so far apart,
Like swallows on a telephone wire, (Sarah Mccarty)
I’ll have more yard birds this year
Simply because I am here. (Stacie Cantu)
Sometimes feel I’ve been shackled,
Most definitely grackled! (Mary Watkins)
While birds go about their tasks,
Of building nests from feathers and chaff, (Tresa Jones)
While sandpipers pipe
Amd Wilson’s Snipe. (Dave Kiehl)
The cardinals continue to court and sing,
Not worried about safe distancing. (Betty Ashwood)
One can have fun in,
Consider a dunlin.
Please don’t come near here,
 Or you’ll watch me play killdeer! (TK Port Norris)
With few humans about,
More birds have come out. (Tammy Ehrhart)
No feathers are ruffled
By pishes so muffled (Kate Garchinsky)
Falcon talons dig deep,
The Rock Dove his treat. (Marc Breslow)
Like a verdin,
Touched for the very first time. (Chris Hajduk)
I wonder if the birds have noticed
We are gone. (Pete Dunne)
And you’ll finally know why
the Laughing Gulls are laughing. (Rich Kane via Brian Moscatello)


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Coronaeducation, Episode 4: What it's Like to Have Covid-19

[Sign in the Badlands, SD.]

One person's experience:

You're exposed. You later figure out where, and deal with idiots by phone with plenty of the f-bombs you so studiously avoid, because they had staff who were sick and stayed open.

You develop symptoms 5 days later, apparently a typical number. Fever, cough, aches, weakness, loss of appetite. You can throw in bloody nose. You talk to your doctor's office, and arrive at self-quarantine and 9-1-1 if you start having trouble breathing.

You wait. In a few days, you start feeling better, and think you skated like most seem to do. Go five days with no fever (CDC recommends waiting 3), and go out, wearing mask, social distance. Watch birds.

You start not feeling right. Quarantine. Fever, bad cough, bad aches, weak, no appetite. You wait.

One night at home breathing is hard, pulse is pounding. Can't cough anymore, ribs ache. You lay down with your phone dialed to 9-1-1, all you have to do is press the green button. You don't. You think those people have enough problems right now in this podunk county with weak healthcare being held up by some very good, strong and noble people. You have learned that basically they can't help until you need a vent, and that most people who need a vent eventually die.

And you ask, should I call my kids? My friends? All are far away, except a few friends, and it's not like they can do anything. Why should I worry them?

And then you think, who will find my body, and when? How long will it take for the neighbors to start thinking the local bird guy hasn't been taking out his garbage? It's not like anyone is visiting anybody, and rightly not.

And now you are two days without fever (apparently, thermometer battery is dead, but my trout stream thermometer says 98F.) And you know you are far better off than many.

["...Destruction leads to a very rough road but it also breeds creation. . ." - The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Californication. Eventually, Coronaeducation (© Donald Peter Freiday) will find its way to a platform other than The Freiday Bird Blog. For now, if it's birds and nature that are what you need, I'm with you, and so if that's the case, skip down a blog or more or check "Time Machine" to the right for some of that. With Coronaeducation, it is not my intent to play epidemiologist, scientist, or politician, except when my brand of training and teaching lends itself to that arena. Mainly, this pandemic has set me to wondering, about humans, family, friends, life, the future . . .]

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Thoughtful Thursday: the Moral Arc of the Universe

"The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Coronaeducation Ep. 3: A Country Boy Can't Survive

[Swainson's Hawk using its racial memory, tractor as bison. Cape May, NJ, November 2009. A Swainson's Hawk can survive. Click to enlarge.]
". . .I live back in the woods, you see
My woman and the kids, and the dogs, and me
I got a shotgun, a rifle, and a 4-wheel drive
And a country boy can survive. . .
"I can plow a field all day long
I can catch catfish from dusk 'til dawn . . ."

I can make a ventilator from a tractor and some twine...

Uh oh, Hank.
Lookit, people. I love this song. I grew up on a farm, killed a zillion deer, shot those SD pheasants, caught those WY trout, tailed those TX 'gators. . . and been in 49 states and despite what some moronic ultraliberals say about people in the "flyover states," the people of this nation are not stupid.
So, where exactly did we go wrong? How about it, Missouri? Alabama, we know you're not California, ok?
I'm thinking when we finish the overhaul of pandemic response, we've gotta overhaul the education system. Trouble is to do the first, we might have needed to finish the second.

Fri-D: There's a Raccoon on the Roof

It is 1:00 a.m. and there's a raccoon on the roof.

The dude who sits on my shoulder and generally tells me I'm wrong starts asking me questions. I usually call the dude Jiminy Cricket, for obvious reasons, but he takes on a variety of personas. Tonight he is a combination of Olaus Murie and John McPhee.

1. How do you know it's not the Jersey Devil? No hooves.

2. How do you know it's not one of Santa's reindeer? See question 1, plus out of season.

3. How do you know it's not Sasquatch? Too small, and walking on 4 feet.

4. Switching to Murie: how do you know it's not a bobcat? It's walking awkwardly, plantigrade style.

5. How do you know it's not an opossum? Too swift of foot and I don't hear the tail dragging behind.

6. Why don't you get your kiester out of bed, find a light, and see for yourself? Oh great, now he's Hemingway. I know what it is by knowing what it is not. There's one of your damn "true" sentences.

Yes, I am going crazy being self-quarantined. But I like raccoons.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Thoughtful Thursday: of Lightning and Fools

[Norbury's Landing, Cape May County, NJ, June 2010.] 

"It's like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true." - Woodrow Wilson.

Or, "The trouble ain't there's too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right." - Mark Twain.

I promise to go happier with Thoughtful Thursdays after this.