4.2018

Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

birds

Birds, Birding, and Mindfulness

The Varied Thrush. Now I know. For the past couple of weeks however, I didn’t know, I couldn’t identify the bird responsible for making the “whistle” sound I was hearing while walking through the forest. I searched online for “birds that make whistling sounds” and “what bird sounds like a referee’s whistle”., to no avail. I stood still in the forest, waiting, listening, looking; I would hear the whistle and could not, no matter how much I peered into the foliage, find that bird.

Then we were walloped with winter storms. Two major snow dumps with lots of rain in between. Power outage. Trees down. Big trees down. Using saved bath water to flush. Heat from the wood stove. Roughing it — 21st century style.

My twice-daily dog walks took on a different tone; dressed in gortex armor (me, not her), out we’d go into the deluge of rain or the dumping of snow. The only sounds I heard for days was that of big winds in the treetops, giant clumps of snow hitting the ground, and my labored breath as I tromped through 12+ inches of heavy, wet snow.

Until today. We woke to a brightness in the sky — not sunshine, but the promise of it. No precipitation. As soon as I stepped outside, I heard the birds — all of them, singing their celebration of the non-precipitation-ary state — Chickadee, Robin, Stellar Jay, Towhee, Mourning Dove, White and Red Breasted Nuthatch, and from deep in the forest, the coveted song of the Piliated Woodpecker. Then: the whistle. And again. I took a few tentative steps on the path and there, perched on a broken oak branch, was a magnificent bird making a referee whistle sound. I saw it clearly, remembered the dominant characteristics, and looked it up as soon as I got back from the walk. When I clicked on the “listen to the call” button on the WhatBird.com website, I was so pleased to have matched the sound with the bird!

In my round-about way of telling a story, the point here is to share with you that birding is a truly mindful practice. Standing still, watching, observing small movements, following sounds, watching, waiting some more…it is an invitation to be in the moment. To be mindful.

What will you be listening to today?

Have a listen to the Varied Thrush: whatbird.com

On Running In Fort Lauderdale: Pros and Cons

Where to begin? OK, 0945 and still time for a quick run before brunch with mom and dad. I am staying at my sister’s house and she lives in a lovely neighborhood right off of a golf course/club area. (they don’t golf, thank goodness). As my cup is perpetually half-full, I focused on the Pros, but alas, I must admit, there were some Cons…

Pro

Con

88 degrees, 90% humidity; incredible sweat

88 degrees, 90% humidity; incredible sweat!

Thick hybrid grass, lots of cushion provided for running

Chemicals being sprayed on thick hybrid grass; golf course watering in the morning, even though it rained overnight

Amazing blooming bushes and exotic flowers

Homeowners spraying more chemicals on amazing  blooming bushes and exotic flowers

Lizards, box turtles, and one long brown snake

Flattened snake in the road

Ibis, Egrets, Hawks, Blue Heron, unknown but lovely sounding songbirds

How do the birds and reptiles survive the chemicals?


Plastic water bottles along the grass and floating in the mad-made lakes


Being reprimanded by a dapper fellow in a golf cart to stay off the course, so they would not be “liable if you get hit by a golf ball”


A hot dog and soda concession, on a modified golf cart, cruising around the course


No pick-up-after-your-dog rule (guess how I found out??!)

A great workout!



"After thirty years of eating healthy foods and participating in regular, vigorous exercise, I was astounded to discover I have Coronary Artery Disease. In March of 2010, I had two stents placed in my Left Anterior Descending Artery- this was big. I consulted Robin Mallery, RN, knowing she is a local expert on Cardiac Rehabilitation. I especially respected her lifestyle of nutrition and physical fitness. Robin’s reassurance that I was doing many things correctly, and her instructions on how to fine-tune my program to deal with this life-threatening disease, was invaluable. Robin’s exquisite grasp of balancing traditional medicine with diet, exercise, relaxation and fun has helped me through this medical crisis". --Maiya Gralia, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and cross-country ski instructor and coach

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