Journal: My Respite – Wildlife Sightings

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This island is a wild and beautiful place. It’s also a place where one has to be careful because it is home to interesting wildlife. A virtual  zoo. Some live only in the tropics. Some live out on this island because they feel safe and, for the most part, they are. Since we share the island with them, we have to be sure we are safe as well. We also have to make sure our pets are safe. I would guess that the majority of people who live on the island have a dog and so do the majority of tourists. People who come to my island and who live here have to remember that we are, indeed, in the tropics.

During the last few days, there have been wildlife sightings, not just on the island but in the development where I live. Very close to my home. In the case of the dangerous wildlife, like alligators, the management tries to keep them out. Alligators are a part of life this far south in Florida. We have three small lakes, perhaps ponds, Today, an alligator was sighted in one of them, slithering into the water. Even though I’ve always known alligators are here, I’ve never seen one on the island. There’s a first time for everything!

This island is a nesting spot for the bald eagle. I love to watch them nesting in the fall to have their babies in the early spring. One has to remember that they can be dangerous. If you are walking a small dog, they have no problem swooping down and picking it up. There is a nesting pair in a tall evergreen tree in my yard. I’ll be guarding Hanna, my small dog of about 25 pounds, when we go for walks.

In the last few days, a bobcat has been spotted at night in the back of the development. I’m used to bobcats since my home is in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky and I’ve heard them scream in the trees in my backyard. But, I don’t particularly want to encounter one when I’m walking Hanna at night. To complicate matters, the management of the development says that coyotes are encroaching on our development. Suddenly, island wildlife has decided to live right here with me.

Life is never boring on this beautiful island. Any ideas on how to walk Hanna after dark? 🙂

 

Fright at Lake Superior

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They arrived at Shelter Bay on the south shore of Lake Superior. It was almost dark. The old cabin looked out on the beautiful lake and had cots around the wall, under all the windows. It was 1956.

The little girl needed to use the bathroom before bedtime. She was only four. Back then, the only bathroom around the old cabin was an outhouse. The little girl and her mother made the trek. They weren’t familiar with the Michigan backwoods.

When they came out of the outhouse, they were met with a surprise. They stopped still. Porcupines surrounded the outhouse!

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Photo credit to What’s His Name

Death in the Lab

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The entomologist found him in the park. Struggling in the gravel that surrounded a flowery border. When he bent down to look at him, he could tell that he was still alive but probably had a broken leg. He was walking home from the local university, but he always had a plastic bag and tweezers on him for specimens.. Entomologists study insects. He was teaching a class right now where they were dissecting and studying herbivorous insects.

He bagged the grasshopper and, instead of going home, he turned around and went back to his lab. He was considering trying to save this grasshopper. He had never tried to save one before. He’d always killed them in them name of research and science.

He sat the grasshopper on the table and walked out of the room to get his supplies. When he walked back in, one of his students was leaning over the grasshopper. He walked over to him. He had already dissected the grasshopper.

The entomologist felt a real sense of loss.

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Photo credit any1mark66

 

The Sounds of the Gulf of Mexico

 

IMG_1407I stand on the pier listening to the sounds of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s always overwhelmed me just to see the Gulf or any part of the ocean. When I get accustomed to seeing it, then I begin to listen to its sounds. There are far more sounds than sights.

The Gulf is generally a calm body of water. If you just listen to the sound of the water, you will hear it gently lapping at the beach or whatever lies at its edge. Other places, such as the island where I live part-time, it laps at the mangroves trees along its banks. Mangrove forests surround parts of my island. They serve as fish hatcheries, protection from hurricanes for the island, and many other purposes in tropical areas. If the tide is coming in and you are at an area where there are rocky beaches, the water sounds like it is slapping the rocks with that sound of slapping turning into almost a cracking sound as the tide comes in faster and faster.

If you are facing the Gulf and not a bay off the Gulf, the sound differs. If the tide is coming in and hitting rocks or a sea wall, you hear a percussive sound, almost a booming. If the Gulf is stirred up due to a storm, the sound becomes almost thunderous and to some, very exciting.

The sound of the Gulf or any part of the ocean appeals to something primitive, perhaps embryonic or even evolutionary, in most of us. It soothes my moods and evens out my temperament. It makes me feel at home.

The Next Chapter

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As she stood on the pier and watched the sunset, tears streamed down her face. She had finally done it. She had put her house in her hometown up for sale today. It had been hard but necessary. Her family was gone. She still had friends there, but she had been gone a long time and they had moved on. She had as well.

It was time to physically move on. To a place that she loved. To a new start. To somewhere she didn’t feel the loss of her family so deeply. To where she could possibly forget…..certain things. She hoped her house would sell while she was here for the winter. She didn’t want to go back there again. She would hire someone to pack and move her.

She hoped she was entering a new chapter of her life. A different life. Someone here on the island had said to her, “We’re all hiding from something.” She knew what he meant. But, what she was hiding from was in her own head.

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The Spoiler

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”Why do some people have to spoil everything?” I wondered out loud, as I stared through the mesh of the screen door into the jungle of the yard. I was thinking of the old man at the pier. I had thought, last year when visiting here, that he was my friend. This year, it was clear he wasn’t.

I loved to go to the pier at sunset. The Gulf was so peaceful. The sunset so beautiful. A man was there who I used to enjoy talking to. No more. Now he only wanted to argue. I didn’t know why.

A Story in Petroglyphs

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Dr. Michael Hurst and his team of students, from Harvard University, studying archeology and anthropology had been called in to study the rock face of a cliff in New Mexico. A new set of petroglyphs had been discovered.

”Petroglyphs are usually pictorial stories carved into rock faces by the Pueblo Native Americans who lived in this area,” Dr. Hurst explained to his students. “This small set of petroglyphs has just been found. The theory is that they are Navajo in origin.”

”Dr. Hurst, what do these petroglyphs mean?” asked one student.

”Jack, they are difficult to interpret. We’ve been able to interpret some of the most common. I’m not an expert, but the one of the left represents a person. The one on the right is more of a mystery to me. The two symbols together say that a person is doing something. Our job is to figure out what by interpreting the petroglyphs. It’s time to get to work!”

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any1mark66

The Moles

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”It’s sunny outside, Theo. A dangerous time to go up above. But, the baby needs some food.”

”Cleo, I’ll be careful. It doesn’t look very busy out there.”

”it’s always busy in New York City. You can’t get caught stealing.”

Theo, Cleo, and their baby were three of the mole people who live in the tunnels under New York City. Theo had been homeless for more years than he could count. He had his own nook under the streets. Cleo found herself in the tunnels when she had the baby and her parents kicked her out. Theo took her into his nook. They were happy.

The baby was young and wouldn’t nurse. Cleo was only sixteen. They didn’t realize something could be wrong. Theo was going out to try to find solid food for her. He went into a small grocery and stole some baby food. When he tried to leave, he was caught and arrested.

Cleo kept watching for Theo out the openings to the street. She watched for three days. The baby was sick and she came to the surface. The baby was taken to the hospital just in time after Cleo walked to the police station.

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