Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Full Specklebelly Moon

The following blog post is written by a good friend of the shop, Possum - who writes a full moon report every month. They're all great to read, but I really wanted to share this edition with all of you. I hope you enjoy.... John

Full Specklebelly Moon

Full Specklebelly moon rises Saturday evening at 4 pm and the sun sets at 5, an hour later. I expect her to clear the trees here in my bottomland hardwood yard after 530, just about right. This should be a fine show down here on the gulf rim with blue skies and cool temps. My hope is to have the fire pit going with a glass of my latest tart red 3/$20 selection from Marcello’s cellar. I will toast you my friends and the moon, with my honey at my elbow and surrounded by admiring grandchildren, errr, to be honest they tolerate me and love and admire their Mimi. The chores should be all done and the chickens put up for the night, so we’ll just feed the fire and talk about the moon, the night, life and love and whoever is not there.

Last Friday I was at a tree seminar in Pollock, La. when I observed a great string of Snow geese winging over, headed south. It reminded me of the reports of huge congregations of Speckled Belly Geese or Greater White Fronted Geese south of Crowley, hence a perfect name for this moon with a local twist of course. Now that was before the shooting began on Saturday. In any case it is always a sight that causes me to pause, listen, and reflect. Ah, the great migrations.

Speaking of my natural world, GHOs (Great Horned Owls) have been gathering in my backyard every other evening or so to murmur to each other about who knows what owls talk about. This always concerns me for my little Peanut is so white, so small, and so an outside cat and kind of, well, almost a member of the family. We have had that little cat for 8 years and will miss when her time comes. I also worry about my hens, now they would make a fine meal for a mature GHO, Peanut is all fur and bones. And--- what a wonderful sound to go to sleep by.

While I’m yammering on about raptors, let me tell you the ultimate urban raptor, the Cooper Hawk. My students and grandkids say my stories go on and on, so bear with me. Wednesday, while driving to work through “The Ville”, that’s St. Martinville to you people not from around here, which is located down in the delta on the Teche ridge, the natural levee of the Bayou Teche. Now I go that way to avoid the stop and go traffic in Broussard on US 90, anyway I pass on the Cypress Island Road, named for the natural meander ridge it is built on which has cypress swamp on both sides. I then turn on the Prairie Road which passes by beautiful Lake Martin, through an awesome bottomland hardwood and next to a great hay meadow, across the Bayou Vermillion, up the Terrace (the escarpment or the left bank of the Mississippi River flood plain) and then turn on Carmel Avenue (the old Breaux Bridge Highway) to Louisiana Avenue to Johnston Street. Then to avoid the congestion at University Avenue, I zig and zag through the hood down to Lamar onto General Mouton. Ya’ll with me, I know this is a lot but it is well worth it. Well,--- I turns left onto Gen. Mouton so I can get to McKinley when I see this bird in the street, in the middle, like on the stripe, just sitting there. He turns out to be a Coop sitting and plucking on a dove he just knocked the life out of, still warm and bloody, but he waits until my truck passes within 4 feet of him and a car the same distance in the other lane clears the scene and in my rearview mirror is see him take off to about 3 ft altitude with this load of fresh meat headed for the roadside shrub to finish plucking and eating in peace. Now that was totally cool, and a real cool city dude at that.

Sorry, but it was a good story and I wanted to share. I needed the diversion. We are in the middle of a construction boom on campus to overcome the reality that our dorm rooms are among the most “dungeon-like” in the country. With our vision clouded by “more important issues” my employer, the university will remove (their sanitized words) 6 large healthy live oaks lining our main campus. They say they are diseased. All old urban trees have some defects and pockets of decay. This all makes me so sad.

Someone shared Jelaluddin Rumi’s poem The Guest House with me, thought you may enjoy it like I have.

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

I don’t mean to sound bitter about the campus live oak trees, I’m just deeply disappointed in my people. I see little hope for any substantial change. In my eyes it just keeps getting worse. My personal philosophy is that much of human pathology and disease is due to stress because of our human disconnected condition, disconnected from the natural world. We are biological organisms. We evolved in a natural setting where it is normal for us to develop as humans in that natural setting. When we cut those normal connections to live the all consuming modern life the result is stress, and violence to each other and the earth. We cannot relate normally to the earth and nature so we violate them and each other.

So, that being said, I have been doing daily thankfulness exercises in these days before Thanksgiving. My favorites are:

From Jake Swamp, “Humans have been asked to respect the life’s breath that enters our bodies and allows us to exist. Life is a precious gift of time and we need to continually be thankful for what has been provided for us.

All that is required for a happy and healthy life is already in front of us. We need to show respect toward each other’s individuality. We need to show respect for the sacred landscapes in which we live.

We need to respect ourselves and live in a peaceful and contributing way. Humans have a critical role in the well being of the universe by carrying the thoughts of love, sharing and respect, we can give future generations not only hope, but a way to fulfill that hope”.

From Maya Angelou, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, a bird sings because it has a song”.

From Bruce Cockburn,

“Hear the wild moan in the bright diamond sky

these mountains are waiting, brown-green and dry.

I’m too old for the term, but I’ll use it anyway

I’ll be a child of the wind till the end of my day.

My thanksgiving holiday will be full of family around the table in my home with Mimi in charge. And black Friday and black Saturday spent on Rutherford Beach. Nothing like a South Louisiana beach on a winter weekend. There will be loads of shells, a warm fire, good food and good family fun, and waves. I cannot wait. Me-n-my people really hate to shop!!!!

Speaking of my people, Amy called to say that Mathew, age 2, looked at Sarah Palin’s photo in a rag and said the she looked like his dark haired Mimi, Paula, (as compared to yellow hair Mimi, his caregiver). Now Mimi says she does not look like SP and I says hmmm maybe a little. So I’ve been going around telling everyone I slept with SP last night. Of course I feel like I’ve let my liberal buddies down even kidding about that.

Peace, love and full specklebelly moon to you all,



lyyzza@aol.com said...

I am sad to here about ANY large mature live oak being removed..they really are quite strong even when they seem in questionable.. have they not consulted with an urban forester? there are many solutions to trees needing extra help.. fertilizing.. cabling.. really!! they are going to cut them down.. ugh :(

Lisa Richard Alexander

di said...

Thank you for sharing this blog! This sounds like someone I would love to know and talk with! He reminds us to not only look at the beauty of life, but to appreciate it also. This time of year it is so easy to get caught up in what we have to do that we miss seeing the world around us.

Today I'm going to take time to stop, look, and listen to the world I have been blessed with!