Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tsk, tsk, what's to become of this

The animals had rights - the right of a man's protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man's indebtedness - and in recognition of these rights the Lakota never enslaved an animal, and spared all life that was not needed for food and clothing.

This concept of life and its relations with humanizing, and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all. Chief Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux.

This weekend there will be a wolf protest at the fairgrounds in Kalispell. The ad in the local trade paper called for all hunters to "Be there or don't complain!" Some around these parts are saying the number of elk, deer and other game is down, because of the wolf population. I especially like the line that says, "Participate at your own risk". I'm wondering if that is for the pro-wolf folks that might show up.

I am a pro-wolf folk. I am also a pro-hunting folk, (I bow hunted for a couple of seasons). I have read a lot of info on wolves in my life, and watched documentaries. I've even watched hunting/outdoors programs. I have visited the International Wolf Center in Ely, MN, a couple of times (I still do via the 'net). I believe we can learn from wolves, (as well as other animals and nature).

It's not as though a wolf can go to a supermarket and buy a favorite cut of meat. A hunter can, and most likely he or a member of his family does. A pack of wolves doesn't go for a trophy "rack", as some hunters do. A wolf kills what it needs to survive.

My dad told me a story about when he and my mom had a young family, and money and food were scarce. He said they were hungry. He said he went out into the woods to hunt for meat, so his young family could eat. He said he prayed that he would get a deer, and when he looked up there was a good sized deer within shooting distance. He said the deer saw him, and lowered its head as if to say I am yours to feed your family. The deer gave of itself, so my parents, their young family and my grandparents could eat.

Maybe the problem is not dwindling elk and deer populations. Or, a growing, thriving wolf population. Maybe its not even a growing hunting/human population. I don't know. There must be a way to have balance.

I don't mean for this post to become a pissing contest to prove which side is right. No one wins that way, we all just end up getting wet. I do believe in the rights of We the People. The whole life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness thing is me. I also believe the other living things on our planet have rights too. We aren't smarter than they are. We don't dominate them. Nor, do we own them.

Okay, I'm stepping down and putting my soap box away now. Have a good day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

duck, duck, gOOOse

The other day at work some people told me about a wonderful little nature oasis in Kalispell, called Woodland Park. I had been told to buy a loaf of bread, because there were ducks and geese to feed. So, with a loaf of whole wheat french bread under my arm, I headed off to Woodland Park.

The park was pretty, with snow and trees. There were some really awesome hills that would be great to sled down. I walked up one path, along the frozen water, wondering how there could be ducks and geese there. As I walked back to my truck, I heard what sounded like ducks-a-quackin'. I took another path, following the noise. There I saw an open body of water, with hundreds of ducks and geese on it. More like two or three hundred (who could count, they moved around so much).

I walked up to the waters edge, where I was approached by a female goose. She seemed friendly enough, and sure was not afraid of me. I hand fed her some of the bread. When the other geese and some of the ducks saw her eating, I was suddenly the most popular girl in the park. Most of the geese that I hand fed were cool, they kept their beaks away from my fingers. But, don't you know, there is one in every bunch and that one beaked my fingers too many times. So I stopped feeding her. The original female would wait patiently for her next piece of bread, she looked at me as if she knew something about human beings. Something most humans don't even know.

I took pictures. I even used my digital camera to make a video. When I looked down with my camera, there was a gander, taking a gander at me. I think he was wondering what the heck I was doing. What the big deal was. He probably figured if you've seen one goose or duck, you've seen them all.

I've since heard some interesting stories about the Spring time goings on with the ducks in Woodland Park. Stories of duck rapes, and female ducks dying from too much male duck attention. So, although I'll go back, I don't think it will be in the Spring. Okay, maybe once.

A woman at work told me about a time she took her son to the park, and she was chased back to her car, by 25 ducks and geese. She said she even had red marks on her legs from the Hitchcockian birds attacking her. She said they made her so upset, she dropped her keys. Then she was afraid a duck or goose would get the keys and fly away. I guess it has been long enough ago that she can laugh about it now. So, I laughed (at) with her.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oh, snnniiiifffff, the smell is so intoxicating

I've talked about my favorite blings, now I'll talk about intoxicating things.

Again things that intoxicate me are simple. I'm not talking about half a shot of Sambuca or the neck of a bottle of Leinie Berryweis kinds of intoxication either.

A guy at work gave me the pictured rose, it was a left over from Valentines day and headed for the dumpster with the other 11. It is a beautiful rose, and yes the smell is intoxicating. Just imagine what would happen if I had a dozen, (I wonder with a twinkle in my eyes and a shy smile).

I also get intoxicated by the smell of a forest. If the forest floor is wet, that is a different smell than if it is dry. They both make me want to fall down on my face and inhale deeply! Ahhh, mmm, sigh. I can remember the smell of the forest from when I was young and would go to Grandparents' houses in Northern Wisconsin. It smelled the same as an adult, and made me remember those parts of my childhood. It's amazing how smells/aromas can trigger memories. I have been in Cracker Barrel restaurants, and although the smell was not intoxicating, it did remind me of my Grandparent's house in Peeksville, WI.

Oh, and what the mountains do to my head! It's a wonder I don't have more problems driving to work or town, because there are mountains all around. The rugged peaks, that speak of Mother Earth's fury, are just so, well they make me dizzily intoxicated. That must be why I love Glacier NP so much, the free buzz I feel when I am there.

Here is a list of a few other things that, to me, are intoxicating (I'm sure there will be some that agree). The smell of lilacs (I even use lilac scented detergent). The laughter of children. The beauty that is all nature. Being in love. Kisses, the long lingering kind. Spinning as fast as you can on the merry-go-round. Life, oh sweet intoxication.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It was wondermous I tell ya

With the help of the wonders of technology, today I got to see my elderly parents (they live in Wisconsin), for the first time since I moved to Montana almost eight months ago. Yep, we visited on the web cam. I was a bit apprehensive at first, because I thought they might look ill, or not the way I remembered them looking. I am happy to report they looked great! We had a nice visit. I showed them how much snow we don't have here, and they told me how much more snow they do have there. Ain't technology wonderful?!?

Going back to my favorite music memory post....The other day I had called my folks to ask them about Grandma's yodeling. My dad said he had been thinking about my grandparents a lot lately. He also told me that my grandma could sing and play the piano. That was the first I had heard of it! He said my grandma's family was all musical. Dad told me how when he was a lad (his word), the neighbors from across the road would come and get water from his family's well. He said many a time my grandma would be playing the piano and singing, and they would look outside to see the neighbors standing there listening to Grandma. What an awesome memory.

These are a few of my favorite blings

In an earlier post, I said I wasn't impressed by shiny things, or big toys. While it is true about the big toys, I have to come clean about some shiny things that do impress me. Simple things really. Only one of them costs money (lots of course).

I love when the moonlight coming through the bedroom window tickles my palm to wake me up, beckoning me to come out and play. Or, the way the sunlight sparkles on freshly fallen snow, like millions of tiny diamonds (natural bling). Same with the moonlight bright enough to sparkle on the freshly fallen snow. Or, the sun coming up behind the mountains, making them look as if they are on fire. Oh, and the sun going down behind the mountains is something I also love. And the sunlight dancing all blingy on the water, that is something that is a favorite of mine. Has it ever been so cold where you live that the moisture in the air has frozen to little ice crystals? You feel like you are walking through sparkly, blingy diamonds. Yes, I love that too.