To thine own self be kind

My new thing. New title of my main site, finally a name for the current running through my life, my life purpose. Claiming that it’s for the benefit of others, fearing that it’s only for me, always sitting on the edge of simple self-indulgence, entitlement.

Kindness to self. Compassion for self. That’s what they teach us. That’s what I can bring to others. Be kind to yourself and you can be kind to anyone.

It’s just…what does it really mean to be kind?

That’s what I’m exploring here.

I know what it’s NOT. That’s my next post.

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Back Porch Update

So I’m sitting out on the balcony quietly enjoying the calm of the coming evening. It’s a warm but not humid evening in early April (the 7th, if you must know). The sun has just set so there’s still lots of light but also lots of glorious colours staining the sky, rich pinks and oranges and purples, just enough dark cloud to make it all interesting. I’m thinking about how lovely and quiet it is, when out of the corner of my eye, I catch a movement, a large brown creature moving quietly nearby, on the bank of the lake below. I’m amazed that I’m seeing it before hearing it, because it is, you guessed it, the dreaded kvetcher bird.

I’m about to call in the Bird Whisperer, but all’s quiet, so I decide to wait.

Still quiet.

I’ve made some food and now I’ve come back out to the back, and lo and behold, what should be milling about on the other bank at the end of the lake but a whole famn damily of them! I’m assuming the two adults are Mama Kvetcher and Papa Kvetcher (but I don’t know anything about their child-rearing habits, so for all I know they could both be moms or both dads). And I’m counting chicks: one, two, three — hold still, for pete’s sake — four. Five? No, just four.

I hate to admit this, but … they’re adorable! They’re not tiny, but still, they scarcely come up to the top of the adults’ legs and they’re, well, fluffy. I have to admit, that is just really cute.

The bonus, I suspect fervently hope, will be continued silence. After all, a species doesn’t survive for long by calling attention to its young.

I guess there’s always next year.

The Bird Whisperer

This morning I woke up to the sound of blue jays squabbling and a downy woodpecker chipping away at the tree right outside my window.

From our vantage point from the second floor of our building, the lower branches of this tree are at eye level. This gives us front-row seats to daily performances by an impressive variety of birds. Some days are truly astounding, such as the time we all watched for half an hour or more as our resident osprey calmly devoured a fish on the nearest branch — a little gruesome perhaps, but very cool (see the picture in “The Usual Suspects” post). Other days are less dramatic but so charming. As I sit here now, for instance, I’m watching one of our resident anhingas (also described in “The Usual Suspects” post) melt into that tree,  black-and-white wing feathers blending so perfectly with the light and shadow on the branch that you wouldn’t see her even if I showed you a picture (I only saw her because she moved).

And as I sit here now, I can also hear the cry of a kvetcher bird, way off in the distance. (more…)

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