Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Friday, April 27, 2012

Democracy?

I'm confused about this word. As I understand it it means the rule by the people. We hear it proclaimed loudly by many politicians about America. We know they say one thing and do another, for example education in this country. It is abyssal. Why? Because of the money. This is where democracy is losing ground, the money. This election year has been altered dramatically by the Supreme Court.

When are the pundits going to call America what it is, or at least blatantly becoming a Plutocracy. Keep in mind the wealth of our politicians.

We aren't a democracy, we are a plutocracy. And this isn't new, it is just more apparent now.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Watching the Birds

A moment for Levon Helm.
A moment for William Shakespeare.
A moment for the Yankees - Red Sox opening games.
A moment for the Rangers.
A moment for Assateague. 
I was watching the birds again.
Twice as many everywhere.

The little songbirds are fluttering about the bird feeder, chasing each other, buzzing those on one of the four feeding perches. They have an occupancy time allowance for each of the four feeding perches of this bird feeder. There's a schedule. And if one of the birds doesn't adhere to the schedule, well, an impatiently waiting hungry angry bird, who is waiting for its turn on the feeding perch of this bird feeder, will takeoff from its non feeding perch to flutter about and chirp at the culprit staying too long on the feeding perch of this bird feeder until one of the two is victorious. It is a symphonic ballet on wings. I don't know what is more beautiful: the sounds coming from those beaks or what is seen in their movements as caused by their wings.

This avian crescendo was suddenly interrupted by the entrance of Samantha strolling down the path towards the bird feeder. The sound changed abruptly to a staccato as the bird feeder was abandoned. Yes, it was chaotic, all of a sudden, because of Samantha, my cat.

Samantha paced back in forth under the hanging bird feeder slowly and nonchalantly. She was annoyed. She had been sleeping by the door enjoying the sun baking her belly. She was lounging on her back, all four paws raised to the sky occasionally meowing her own hallelujahs.  Slowly the birds arrived for some seeds. Slowly the noise level began to rise. Slowly the chirping and the frantic fluttering of the wings became very noticeable. In fact, the level rose enough to make  Samantha roll over and take notice. She was annoyed. Her face and annoyed meow told me so. She looked at me in an accusative manner. She was right, it was my fault. She stood up, stretched as cats stretch. Stretched her jaw with a gigantic yawn, after all she was going bird hunting. She jumped out the door, bounded down the stairs, only to stroll down the path.

Samantha sat under the hanging feeder, which was one quarter empty already. I'm sure the birds are pessimists. She sat patiently, getting up to shift positions, making herself known, chasing the birds away. Slowly the birds flew away to another feeder. Eventually the last pair had a furious conversation. One of them flew away in disgust muttering all the way to the next feeder. The last one gave a furtive chirp and caught the next air wave to the next feeder. Quiet and calm were restored. Samantha had cleaned up my mess.

It was my fault. Samantha was right. That morning I had filled the bird feeders because they were empty. They were empty because I was away. I filled them and sprinkled some on the ground and waited. I filled them because I first noticed the quiet and then I saw the empty bird feeders. While I waited I had time to reflect on things, you know, I took a moment. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Watching the Birds

My backyard is a bird sanctuary. I have two feeders, winterberry, a bird bath, and so many perches to create this fabulous bird sanctuary. Recently I added a new bird feeder and moved the first one to a new location. Today in a short time a dozen small songbirds gathered to titter about and chirp in lengthy conversations as they fluttered from fence to branch to the new feeder with four perches. Watching them negotiate and navigate upon which perch to light and in what pecking or hierarchic order as attested to when one winged songbird tried only to be rebuffed by another. The chirping fluttering about sounds filled the air. At the relocated original feeder, pigeons and morning doves cooed and physically asserted themselves onto the swinging and swaying feeder. I purchased the new feeder because the larger birds dominated the space on the original feeder leaving the smaller more desired avian visitors unable to feed and they eventually spent less time here than they do now filling my backyard with natures symphony. And all about on terra firma were more of the same. The cats were tired of chasing them away as they lounged unfazed under the azalea.

Watching the birds had me contemplating the learning that went into the little birds figuring out how to navigate this new multi perched feeder. They gathered all around chirping away as each fluttered from his perch to recon the feeder. Eventually one lighted on a perch, then another on another as three shrieking explorers fluttered about to observe what the first two had done. One attempted to replace the second successful explorer only to be repelled away. Eventually after trial and error, all four perches were occupied and slowly all dozen were feed. Oh the chatter was heavenly.

During the flurry at the perch feeder the pigeons and doves were using body action to get a place on the feeder. The pigeons had a hierarchy while the doves seemed like siblings. Learning went on with these larger birds. First, after realizing they would not be able to feed at the new feeder, they needed to discover where the original feeder had gone. Once one bird discovered it, the process of navigating the fire escape and landing on the relocated familiar feeder became the days lesson.

And amongst all this chaos, a red headed woodpecker lighted upon a branch of the winterberry and started gorging on the red berries. Scurrying up and down the four by four post used to hold the two mounted hurricane lamps, the woodpecker pounded away on the mock tree only to return to the winterberry realizing grubs were not to be found on the post. During the flurry of the little songbirds on one side and the jocking for space on the other side by the larger birds, the wood pecker leisurely gorged on the red berries.

The cardinals didn't visit today. Too bad since so much seed was on the ground, but was being cleaned up by the other ground feeding birds.

All this action was going on with me seated in a chair where I was reading and two cats lounged out under a shading azalea bush.