Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘photo’

Sunbeams Forever

I don’t usually delve into personal issues, but I had to honor her. And I won’t harp on those sad, unfortunate souls who dumped her in a sparse Florida field abutting alligator-infested lakes, to fend for herself. There are many of these, and I’d rather not give them the power of my words — I’ll bestow that upon the efforts of the rescue groups and individuals doing so much for the abused and abandoned animals of the world, in countless ways. Rather, I’ll thank whoever abandoned her, for bringing us together. Confused, starved, covered in filth, and physically broken — but still desperate for human affection.

She quickly grew to thrive in the alpha role of the household, not thoroughly appreciating the new rescues, but always maintaining a calm, steady, and queenly presence…. “You know, death in the animal world isn’t seen in the same morose light as death in your world. Just let them be; they’ll make their ways fine and dandy on their own,” she seemed to say, in her haughty and gorgeous half-Maine Coon self. Of course, if they came to me, I couldn’t ignore their plights.

But on the first day of the glorious month of June, I bid farewell to my little princess after 17 years — how old she was exactly, I’ll never know. Nineteen? Twenty? She was fully grown when we pulled her out of that overgrown field; an abandoned housecat surviving major injuries during her fight for survival, including broken legs — which we thank Cosequin and Adequan for their help in easing her pain — but which would prove to be too much at the end of her long life. And after surprising everyone, in beating diabetes and stalling kidney failure (with the help of insulin and natural treatments) — the final straw would prove to be a stroke or brain tumor, creating mental confusion, a personality shift, and even more pain and weakness to her already damaged legs — quickly prompting us to make a most loving decision. It never gets easier. They’re a part of our family, and it’s our responsibility to honor them in these most precious moments, as quickly as possible. I’m ever-grateful and thankful for my vet, who makes house visits to perform this final transition, in the comfort of the animals’ surroundings.

My darling girl, Puss-puss, may you forever bask in sunbeams, pouncing freely on objects unawares. And while there may now be more space on the bed (“perpendicular” was her favorite position), I thoroughly expect your expansive and ethereal self soon enough…. As fellow bloggers Pat Bean and Whitebird so perfectly re-quoted recently:

 “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” —Dr. Seuss

✿ ♥ ✿ ♥ ✿ ♥ ✿ ♥ ✿ ♥ ✿

Love is life.
All, everything that I understand,
I understand only because I love.
Everything is, everything exists, only because I love.
Everything is united by it alone.
Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source. —Leo Tolstoy

Princess Puss

Princess Puss

Season of the (Red) Snake

It’s apparently the season of the red snake. We just encountered our first Corn Snake / Red Rat Snake (oddly enough, for its commonality) — and most recently, on a brief excursion to photograph butterflies in the northern section of the Everglades, I nearly stepped on this lovely young Orange Rat Snake at dusk. He was none too happy with our presence, and my undivided attention to his colorful mug.

Also known as the Everglades Rat Snake or Glades Rat Snake, this species is known for its calm nature (in captivity) and wide array of bright colors, making it another favorite with snake keepers. While many areas are host to the Everglades Rat Snake, Florida has a particularly high concentration — the species derives its name from the Everglades region in South Florida, where it’s said to have originated. Although prone to aggression if feeling cornered or threatened (like many animals, unsurprisingly), they are NOT dangerous, and spend much of their time in hiding — in crevices, tucked into knotholes, burrowing into holes, on trees (including palms), or on treetops (they’re great climbers). Like many Florida snakes, they’ll quickly flee to the water should they sense danger on land. They can reach lengths of 4 – 6 feet, although a few have been reported up to 7 feet — making it one of the longest snakes in North America. A single clutch can include between 7 – 27 eggs, hatching in July or September. As the snakes mature, they change from a blotchy grey to orange or sometimes red, with four standard stripes resembling their background color — with striking red eyes and a matching red tongue (the red eye can be seen in this picture). Their natural habitats are grasslands, wetlands, and swamps.

Whenever we see snakes around our home, they’re usually non-venemous; and we ensure that they’re protected from lawnmowers and the like. Snakes keep rodent populations down — and if you live anywhere near water, you realize how large water rats can become. Snakes are our friends! If you or someone you know is afraid of them, gently relocate the snake and / or its nest. We once had a large Brown Snake manage its way into our inside closet (how, we’ll never know). Believe me, I’d — and by “I,” I mean the male — would rather have relocated that Brown Snake than a water rat.

Everglades Rat Snake, or Orange Rat Snake in the Florida Everglades

Grace + Power: Learning from the Natural Kingdom

I had been brooding on the need to quietly observe nature, and the unfortunate situations in which that’s not always possible — especially when our visiting seasonal hordes treat the sanctuaries like amusement parks. But rather than wallow in the circumstance, I tried to focus on those gentle souls who lovingly respect and appreciate the natural areas as much as we do. We recently stumbled upon a spectacular raptor, an adult Cooper’s Hawk, hunting with the approaching dusk (stalking songbirds, most likely). Such grace and power seems to exist so easily in the natural (WILD) kingdom, but rarely in the human world. There have been plenty of difficult times previous to ours, with misrepresentation and squandering of power; ours is simply a new iteration of a very old story. In quietly observing the power and grace of the natural kingdom, one can strive for such a beautiful balance, regardless of anything else. For our human selves, it’s a lesson in being brave and graceful; kind and strong — and showing empathy without yielding to displays of weakness.

Cooper’s Hawk Waiting for Dinner

%d bloggers like this: