Monday, June 26, 2006

After the storm


All night it poured rain.
But still there in the morning
four feathered faces

A person who never stands in awe of nature is a person who simply hasn't looked at it hard enough.

We had torrential rain all weekend and last night it drove hard against the house. I looked out at dusk to see the wind lashing the banana trees, which bent against the force. As I watched, I tried not to think about the little cardinals, huddled in their nest. Would they survive the storm?

This morning when I went to the mulberry tree I looked under it first, expecting to see tiny bodies. But there were none. The nest and its inhabitants had survived.

They've changed a lot since their last photo session. Their feathers are coming in, and instinct now tells them to lay quietly and not to pop up and gape for the first thing that jiggles their branch. Note the quiet but wary expression of this little guy. His parents have no way of telling him to be cautious; he just knows.

And consider the nest.

How is it that a bird can build something like this - something that looks so delicate but is so strong - without hands? With just their beaks, the parent birds weave pieces of sticks and grasses together into a crude cup they secure to the crook of a tree. By miracle, by design or by both it survives rain and wind.

In a cynical world where nothing seems to surprise us, for those who look carefully nature still does.

23 comments:

thimscool said...

That's a hard act to follow Morgan, but thanks for brightening my day.

Morgan said...

Thanks, Luke. Seeing those little guys always brightens mine. It's nice to be reminded that there's often something special right in your own back yard.

Woozie said...

Is it still raning whereever you are? It just won't stop up here, we've got a canal running from the backyard to the front yard.

Lord Omar said...

Better keep an eye on the little grey fiend you've got in your arms there. I can assure you that he/she views the little winged darlings in a totally different light ;-)

Morgan said...

Omar, my little gray Piper is an indoor cat.

We do have one outdoor kitty - Merry the Egregious Farm Cat. We're keeping her very well fed and will probably kennel when it's time for the little cardinals to leave the nest. For the most part she's stayed away from the mulberry tree because several aggressive roosters hang out back there, and she's afraid of them.
Wild birds with their own bodyguards. Who knew? ;-)

Morgan said...

"Is it still raning whereever you are? It just won't stop up here, we've got a canal running from the backyard to the front yard."

It's rained off and on today. The sun's out right now. I hope it stays. There's no place left for the water to go and it's starting to stand in places.

JohnR said...

Rain, I have heard of this rain. Can you describe it?

We are on Stage 4 water restrictions.

NO OUTDOOR WATERING, not even the foundation of my house.

My garden is slowly dying, just as the tomatoes set.

I don't think we've had rain in almost 2 months.

It's Bush's fault.

JohnR

Morgan said...

"Rain, I have heard of this rain. Can you describe it?"

Good question, JohnR. Allow me to enlighten you.

Rain is that constant barage of wet stuff that keeps falling from the sky over my house until it's saturated my yard and turned it into a one acre pond that's now hosts a frog orgy I have to beat my way through just to get to the car.

The chicken coops are flooded, the tomatoes are waterlogged and I saw a mosquito this afternoon that was the size of a hawk.

I'm pretty sure this is just evaporated ice caps that are melting to fall back to Earth.

I too blame George Bush.

thimscool said...

I don't know if I'm enough of a kooky liberal to blame Bushypie for the bad weather, like Morg and JR.

But I'll damn sure blame him for the deficit and a good portion of the national debt. Even if he is just a puppet.

Who wants to bet on when US bonds hit junk status?

Roland said...

We have been getting just the right amount of rain here.

I agree. It's Bush's fault. ;)

Roland said...

"I don't know if I'm enough of a kooky liberal to blame Bushypie for the bad weather, like Morg and JR."

Sure you can. Everything is Bush's fault. Why just today I had to use the bathroom. (Bush's fault)
I drank some water. (Bush's fault)
My kids were tough to get to bed today. (Bush's fault)

I wonder what Bush will cause tomorrow? After all, it's never my fault... ;)

thimscool said...

I'm sorry Roland. What was that the cause of the $1T/yr deficit? I couldn't hear you past the bullshit.

Who was congress? That passed all those spending bills that Bushiepoo couldn't veto? And all those tax breaks for the "almost rich" that havent realized how to "get their money out of the game" in the Caymens? You fools. They're screwing us.

Wake up. You're being used like the 'liberals' you didain.

justin black said...

I'm not even sure how I got here, but I'm glad I stopped in. Been pouring over your past posts for a couple hours now. Speaking as a Jaded Cynic, it is refreshing to be reminded of the simple wonders of life and the universe. Perhaps, with work, I can keep my eyes open more often and see such things for myself.

In the meantime, I have to play the Jaded Cynic and point out the negative:

A simple post about the wonders of nature (with darling pictures), progressed to discussion of the weather in various parts, progressed to gentle ribbing of our dear president, progressed to full-blown antagonism about the national debt (a conversation I could, unfortunately, sink my teeth into).

We, as a species, are divided and vitriolic, and even the introduction of the beautiful cardinals didn't make us hold our breath for long.

Still, I will not give up my hope of one day being a Reformed Jaded Cynic. Your little stop on the web didn't bring me to that conclusion, but it did reinforce my hopes. I thank you for that.

You are now bookmarked. Hope you don't mind the occasional Jaded Cynic drive-by comment.

Peace.

Morgan said...

Justin,

I'm exceptionally fond of Jaded Cynics. Not to sound patronizing, but some of my best friends are Jaded Cynics. And I'm related to a number of Jaded Cynics as well.

If you stop by here enough - and I hope you will - you'll quickly realize that while we may not all agree we generally do so in a good-natured manner. (If you look at the comments by me and JohnR, you may note that we were just ribbing each other.)

I agree that we've become too divided in this nation. I think one of the worst recent examples was the Cindy Sheehan situation.

Here you have a grieving mother looking for a way to remember her son, so she turns her actions to anti-war activities.

Immediately the right wing looks for a way to discredit her, digging up stories about her divorece and questioning her mental fitness. Some even openly mocked her.

On the other side there was the left wing, who co-opted her message and used her to beat the drum about Israel and make outlandish claims about Bush.

It's clear that we're not only polarized in this country, but that the extreme elements will do anything - or use anyone - to keep us that way.

There seems to be no place left for those of us in the middle. Moderates are labeled as "weak" by a society that demands we take sides.

So yes, it's OK to be cynical and understandable to be jaded. Just don't get too jaded. Don't give up hope.

Thanks for your nice comments. And thanks for visiting and bookmarking my blog. I'm both flattered and humbled.

Woozie said...

SPAM OF DEATH!

JohnR said...

Really, thimscool, lighten up, I was joking.

Morgan, so you beat off frogs at an orgy, huh?

Come on, let's take this thread down into the gutter!!!

JohnR

Morgan said...

Woozie, can you believe that? Spammers bearing compliments. I wasn't born yesterday. He's so deleted.

JohnR, did you know that when frogs mate the male grips the female tighly around the middle with his forelegs? This is called amplexing, and sometimes in his ardor he drowns her. So our yard not resembles an amphibian orgy, but in places an amphibian snuff film.

Is that enough in the gutter for you? Because I can think of worse. Oh, yes I can....;-)

thimscool said...

I apologize to everyone for the vitriol.

I just get upset when I think about the world my son is going to man.

We’ll have to pay the piper for this reckless administration, in so many ways. And I doubt any one here is profiting from the largess. But Bush friend and family, and certain sectors of the economy, are definitely profiting from the largess. And ultimately it is coming out of you or your children.

If any of you consider yourselves conservatives, I call on you to voice your displeasure with the folks you elected.

And just because some on the left hound Bush to a degree vague reminiscent of the way that many on the right did Clinton, does not mean that your fearless leader is beyond criticism. Let’s not forget who balanced the federal budget, and even began chipping away at our massive debt.

Laugh it off if you want. But I call on your conscience.

Morgan said...

"Laugh it off if you want. But I call on your conscience."

I feel the same way, thimscool. It's easy to loose your cool sometimes when you realize that the world we envision is far from the world being created by the greedy and self-serving.

I remember you were a bit taken aback by my treatment of a certain knuckle-dragging VP regular recently, but I just have so little tolerance for people who brag about calling someone "nigger" as everyone sits by, too cowed or bashful or whatever to step up and say something to him.

Maybe giving him a taste of his own medicine was sinking to his level, but it never amazes me how people stand to cry foul when jerks are put on the defensive when they can't bring it to themselves to stand up to them. I know it's because largely that crowd probably applauded someone using the "n" word. And, of course, it reminded me why I shouldn't even try to take part in that forum.

Blech.

Morgan said...

"We’ll have to pay the piper for this reckless administration, in so many ways. And I doubt any one here is profiting from the largess. But Bush friend and family, and certain sectors of the economy, are definitely profiting from the largess. And ultimately it is coming out of you or your children."

This is completely accurate. The world as we knew it has changed forever. I don't think we'll ever know peace again.

justin black said...

The budget can be balanced. It's been done before, and not just by that adulterer everyone loves to hate. What worries me, though, is the blatant frog sex taking place in Morgan's yard. Isn't there some law against that? Have they no shame? Also, I wonder if the female frogs at least have the time of their lives as they're drowning. It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than dying just to sustain your species. I mean, what's wrong with being a little selfish?

OK, that was bait and switch. To be serious, I'm not a moderate in my views I'm a moderate because I have the sense to realize there are people in this world that aren't me. They might want something very different from their time on this planet than I do. I respect that, and recognize the need to compromise for that reason. But, what's going on in this country is a lot of preaching (and I include all sides of political discourse in this comment) that "we know what's best for you. Go back to sleep."

Our children (and I speak in the general sense, here. I have none of my own) will have to fix the problems of this world only because we weren't mature enough to do it. And that's what worries me. If we aren't mature enough to be responsible, how can we teach our children to be?

Morgan said...

What worries me, though, is the blatant frog sex taking place in Morgan's yard. Isn't there some law against that? Have they no shame?

No and no. The law of the pond doesn't seem to fall under the rigid morality of bipeds. And shame? You're talking about an animal that eats flies.

I have no idea if the female frogs die an orgasmic death. I want to think so. From a biological standpoint they are able to relase their eggs before The Bitter End, so I suppose there's some satisfaction in knowing that their line will continue.

"To be serious, I'm not a moderate in my views I'm a moderate because I have the sense to realize there are people in this world that aren't me."

Excellent point, and people who are truly open-minded respect the rights of others to hold opinions, even if they disagree. But we're at a point in this country where you're more likely to be punished or berated for not holding the acceptable view.

"But, what's going on in this country is a lot of preaching (and I include all sides of political discourse in this comment) that "we know what's best for you. Go back to sleep."

Idealogues always think they know what's best, and want us to move aside and trust them. But idealogues are the least trustworthy they are. How can someone be trusted to make the right decision when they go into a situation refusing to look at both sides?

"And that's what worries me. If we aren't mature enough to be responsible, how can we teach our children to be?"

I think it comes down to an individual basis. Parents who are seriously concerned about the state of society and the earth will raise kids to be environmentally and socially aware. And I don't think it's ever too late to teach your kids. I spent yesterday evening with my mother, who pointed out that at nearly 70 she's finally realizing the need to slow down a bit. I'm pretty laid back, but it's still nice to have her reinforce the message that we all need to stop and enjoy life before it's too late.

nicolaepadigone said...

hey Morgan, we've had quite a storm here in Pennsylvania. If you want to see some pictures I've taken of the flooding of the Susquehanna, I've put them up on my family blog, http://redhatmandan.wordpress.com