Thursday, May 25, 2017

From the Desk of the Editor of the Hummingbird-Human Hybrid Society Bulletin-Gazette

A hummingbird kept buzzing me by the creek yesterday. I was wondering what was making that loud episodic humming all around and above me and couldn't see a big horsefly or fat bumblebee. Then I looked above me again one more time and there it was, a very persistent hummer.

Of course! This happens for me almost every Spring. Usually it will happen on my deck when a hummingbird zips in to hover a few feet from my face and look directly at me. Then it will fly a few meters away once or twice and return to hover near my face again. It certainly gets my happy attention, and it's obviously a reminder that it's time to put out our feeder, bud, you're late every year you know, and it's not exactly easy out here for a hummingbird especially before most plants and trees begin to flower!

Last night I dreamt of a flurry of five or six hummingbirds hovering above me in the woods, bobbing nearer and retreating slightly, all humming loudly and focusing on me. What could it possibly mean?

Thanks to yesterday's daytime and dreamtime hummingbirds, today is the first day of service of their new feeder. It holds eight ounces of nectar and needs cleaning and refreshing every week, though I manage to do so about every two weeks at best. When they visit it before I've added a new mix of nectar, they will usually sniff it or taste a little bit and then tentatively zip away, pausing to give me a disappointed look or a glance back in pity in my imagination.

Once it's summer, I'll eventually need a firm reminder again that it's time to add more nectar to the feeder because you have no idea how unbearable it is for us hummingbirds in temperatures of 110 and we don't have air conditioners or refrigerators you know, just because you pamper yourselves with grocery items and roofs and such doesn't mean some of us aren't out here working the land like The Great Hummer intended.

Will you fly a mile in our wings for goodness' sake? We do get tired and parched, you know.

Hopefully I'll dream of hummingbirds again and fly along with them some night. They're certainly welcome anytime.  I hope I'll be to them.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Wall

by Anita Endrezze (Yaqui)

Build a wall of saguaros,
butterflies, and bones
of those who perished
in the desert. A wall of worn shoes,
dry water bottles, poinsettias.
Construct it of gilded or crazy house
mirrors so some can see their true faces.
Build a wall of revolving doors
or revolutionary abuelas.
Make it as high as the sun, strong as tequila.
Boulders of sugar skulls. Adobe or ghosts.
A Lego wall or bubble wrap. A wall of hands
holding hands, hair braided from one woman
to another, one country to another.
A wall made of Berlin. A wall made for tunneling.
A beautiful wall of taco trucks.
A wall of silent stars and migratory songs.
This wall of solar panels and holy light,
panels of compressed cheetos,
topped not by barbed wire but sprouting
avocado seeds, those Aztec testicles.
A wall to keep Us in and Them out.
It will have faces and heartbeats.
Dreams will be terrorists. The Wall will divide
towns, homes, mountains,
the sky that airplanes fly through
with their potential illegals.
Our wallets will be on life support
to pay for it. Let it be built
of guacamole so we can have a bigly block party.
Mortar it with xocoatl, chocolate. Build it from coyote howls
and wild horses drumming across the plains of Texas,
from the memories
of hummingbird warriors and healers.
Stack it thick as blood, which has mingled
for centuries, la vida. Dig the foundation deep.
Create a 2,000 mile altar, lit with votive candles
for those who have crossed over
defending freedom under spangled stars
and drape it with rebozos,
and sweet grass.
Make it from two way windows:
the wind will interrogate us,
the rivers will judge us, for they know how to separate
and divide to become whole.
Pink Floyd will inaugurate it.
Ex-Presidente Fox will give it the middle finger salute.
Wiley Coyote will run headlong into it,
and survive long after history forgets us.
Bees will find sand-scoured holes and fill it
with honey. Heroin will cover it in blood.
But it will be a beautiful wall. A huge wall.
Remember to put a rose-strewn doorway in Nogales
where my grandmother crossed over,
pistols on her hips. Make it a gallery of graffiti art,
a refuge for tumbleweeds,
a border of stories we already know by heart.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

                                                Dogs From The Future

From left to right, Daughter Mir and Mother Star, 10 and about 12 years old respectively and inspirations for many a password, in a photo I took in 2002 while taking photographs and driving with one hand or an occasional knee the back roads of forested central Louisiana at a roughly midpoint location between the Oakdale, Louisiana federal immigration detention prison holding I think mostly Mariel boatlift Cubans and the 3500-year-old 70-foot tall earthen mound built in the shape of a flying bird at Poverty Point world heritage site not far from Monroe built by a people unknown to archaelogists or any extant native histories or even tales. What will WE be remembered for? Our compulsive imprisonment habit? Maybe future people would be glad to forget that sorry episode of human development. They might be better off never learning about us, especially if sadism was unknown to them. Maybe it'd be better if we did something about it while we're here to do so.

Tsavo on the Dock at Indian Cove AKA Turtle Cove, January 2017

Tsavo, the ranger and gregarious adventurer, is gradually losing his hearing and is mellowing, at least compared to his tradition of perpetual motion. Yet he has lost none of his activated curiosity and manages to make an interesting trek out of every opportunity. Daily, he makes his outdoor rounds, comes in to graze his food bowl, and then returns to his rounds until hungry again, three to four hours total usually. That's when I will corral both he and Tiger for the day. To Tsavo, life has mostly been about the changing landscape in front of him and what's next.

He was such an independent, self-sufficient strong silent-type cat that he hadn't spoken to me the whole year and a few months until Tiger moved in, and Tiger, being uninhibitedly vocal apparently from birth, inspired Tsavo and taught him how emotive enunciation could get further positive attention from me. Now Tsavo has words for and emotions about almost everything and it has helped he and I become closer than ever.. Tiger's instructive examples probably help make up for how Tiger attacked Tsavo when Tiger first arrived from the Darwinian streets of Austin.

My current favorite recurring Tsavo moment happens multiple times a night.  He will pad into the dimly lit study and silently stand up and very gently touch my sleeve with one paw two or three times in a row, a touch so soft and pleasing that it helps me clearly imagine his earnest face looking right at mine before I even turn to see him. Then he will softly utter a few meows while looking me directly in the eyes, and when I do turn and face him, usually stating his name, and truly happy to see him and surprised each time he does this - such an intimate personal approach and a wonderful learned understanding of how to appeal to me – there is his small sweet face searching mine for my own sweet surrender.  He then turns and runs out of the study either to the kitchen or front screen door.

Then it is up to me to follow him and look into whatever important need that Tsavo needs tending to at the moment. Sometimes it's a bit more kibble in his bowl to last the rest of the night. Sometimes he just wants company while he sits at the screen door and looks and listens into the forest, his head turning slightly to one side or the other, his ears fine-tuning direction finders. Occasionally he will want me to stand guard at the litter box to make sure our retired warrior Tiger doesn't get any funny ideas about an ambush, which he has been known to do both indoors and out, all in good street fun of course.

Tsavo and I have been great friends since first meeting on our long sloped driveway. He was smelling the air and looking for his previous human significant other who had gone for a walk without him, though she had brought the new dog - a doubly hurtful omission! Yet he longed to join them and wore his heart on his paw, and I was touched by the intensity of his loyalty and feelings. Soon after that, he began visiting me regularly at my cabin, I'd let him sit where he wanted and stay as long as he could. Soon his human knew to head directly to my house when looking for Tsavo.  After a month or two, she asked me if I wanted Tsavo to come live with me.  It was an unexpected and the most generous offer I've ever received.

                Something Very Deer

Not only a bird and squirrel feeder. A big doe hoofed up to it this spring afternoon in plain sight of me lazing on the deck sofa seven yards away. As she reached the feeder, she first glanced to her left at me before beginning to empty the feeder by using her tongue to scoop around the feeder's edges and then ground it all up like a cud and swallowed. It took about six or seven minutes. She looked very content as she slowly went about making sure to leave as few seeds as possible.

Doe then walked a couple of steps to some boulder benches where I'd laid out birdseed during the winter and then licked the spots where the seed had been. The mystery as to who had been eating all the winter seed and now the new sunflower feeder seed was solved.  I'm more surprised that she was so trusting of me. 

Another touch of sweetness was a little gray white-tipped dove walking nonchalantly but carefully around the deer's legs, watching her closely, and now and then pecking at seeds that slid from the feeder to the leafy ground.

The more I get to witness deer life and behavior, the more it becomes apparent how funny and idiosyncratic they are as individuals. They stay wild yet manifest what we would logically consider personalities. Mainly though, whenever I see them, there's always something very deer that happens.

                                        Tiger Snoozing to the Oldies

                          Happy Lucky Rocky Tiger Formerly Pinky

                          He who was once welcomed to the woods
                          from the city streets and bank of a creek
                          and who responded with open heart
                          and with every ounce of gratitude
                          the universe had to spare that night
                          now waits in welcome.