Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

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My shadow, my ever present companion. 

My shadow tags along on hikes.

My shadow stands tall in the afternoon sun.

My shadow, a ghost in my photos.

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Weekly Photo Challenge

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The Rush of Morning

My phone buzzes, reaching to turn off the alarm I feel the excitement begin to pulse through my sleepy veins. Throwing on clothes and darting into the night, the excitement has turned to adrenaline. On the way to the top, the first rays struggle to gain foothold in the sky.
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At the top of the mile, the sun is climbing higher above the mountains. The cold air takes your breath as the icy wind embraces you. The black of the night drains into the mountains, as the color of the sun pushes out the darkness. sunrise sun peek 22.PNG

As the sun climbs ever higher, it shines down on the misty mountains. The top feels like the top of the world as you look down into the valley. The mountains begin to accept the sun and push out the darkness as the green returns.sunrise-mist-22Treking back down the trail, the sun makes its appearance known. The sun glares through the leaves letting you know day is here.

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Daily Word Prompt: Yellow

Yellow

Yellow Yellow Yellow

“Yellow shines with optimism, enlightenment, and happiness. Shades of golden yellow carry the promise of a positive future. Yellow will advance from surrounding colors and instill optimism and energy, as well as spark creative thoughts.”

-From sensationalcolor.com

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Just a yellow fuzzy caterpillar that happened to be chilling on the sidewalk last spring. 

In Jamaica A/C is a luxury so many buildings like this school, as sections of walls that allows for ventilation. These ornate designs were on many of the buildings, and I wish we had them in America.

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I love the colors of the Goldenrods against the blue backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

via Daily Prompt: Yellow

Daily Word Prompt: Devastation

What Was

A rhino lays slain
Its horn hacked to a bloody stump
Driven by ancient Asian myths

Skies empty of large winged beauties
Pinned to a board for greedy collectors
Who claim to love butterflies

Sharks swimming without fins
Hopelessly drowning
All for a delicate soup

Buffalo slaughtered into oblivion
To cloth the latest trend
Survivors are shaggy ghost of what remains

Prized snakes snatched
Breed to rare exotic specifications
Sold to a collection

Elephants fall to their knees
As bullets rain down
Their magnificent ivory  stolen from them

Grizzlies murdered are left rotten
Their stomachs are torn open
Once a gall bladder, now an empty hole

It’s the biggest mass murder in the world
Magnificent African savannas and Asian rainforests empty of horns
Skies no longer dotted with tiny rainbows
The bloddy ocean is missing a few fins
The legendary buffalo is all tales of the days
Grounds empty of slithering hisses
An African bush feels lonely without giants
Toy shelves filled with bears serves as a reminder of what was

People will take notice one day
When the lands are depleted
When the skies are emptied
When the ocean is drained
When the planet bleeds the blood of the voiceless

 

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Image from https://www.pachamama.org/effects-of-deforestation

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Devastation

Save the Endangered Spices

In the evenings I help homeschool a six year old who does virtual public school. She is an incredibly analytical deep thinker with a passion for learning. A few days ago, she gets this idea that she wants to create a book about endangered species because she wants to learn more about why they are endangered. I agree and told her to go grab some construction paper, while she does this I pull up the World Wildlife Foundations as a starting place for research. She comes running back with the paper and sits back down in front of her computer. “Endangered sp-spices?” She reads, “Spices?” The image of everyone struggling to save oregano and chili powder come to mind, hurry we need more thyme to save them all!

Trying not to laugh at the mistake, I corrected her, “Species.” She studies the word before repeating back to me, “Species.” Yet, all throughout creating the book she kept saying “spices.” Oh, well at least she wants to save the endangered spices.

It was interesting listening to all of the questions she kept asking and the comments she would make,

“Why do people hurt snow leopards they are sooo cute!”

“Don’t people understand that the snow leopard isn’t eating people’s animals to be mean? They just want dinner like everyone else!”

“The ice is melting where the polar bears live! We have to stop it!”

“Why are people building on their homes? Why can’t everyone just get along? Tigers are just sooo cute!”

The commentary and questions never ended but it was adorable and humorous. Turns out my kid (as I affectionately call her because we spend so much time together) is the kind of person who has so much empathy that she cries at cute pictures of animals and the idea that people don’t respect animals.

This picture prompted her into hysterical laughter!

This image is from National Geographic Kids.

Here are two images that made her cry. She cried at the tiger because it was sooo cute and she cried at the tusks because she couldn’t comprehend why anyone would take them.

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The tiger image is from National Geographic Kids and the tusks image is from World Wildlife Foundation.

Discover Challenge: The Greatest Mountain Place in the World

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” ~John Muir

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I was raised spending my summers in Galax, Virgina and though the Grandfather Mountain State Park is close to stealing the spot at number one. The Blue Ridge Mountains in Galax will always be number one because those 20 acres were the first mountains to speak to me and show me their secrets. Sleeping at night in an old milk barn listening to the rain sing on the tin roof, making mud pies in the red clay, floating down the river in old canoes, and reliving memories over fires at night under a blanket of stars.

via Discover Challenge: The Greatest _______ in the World

Daily Word Prompt: Privacy

Privacy

Such a small word

That means so much to my world

You see my public self

I see my private self

It’s a value I cherish

Alone to privately create

Art not meant for public eye

It’s a value I need

Alone in my private thoughts

Recharging so I can

Go out into the world again

Just a short while

Bottled up emotions

Are not for you to see

What you see is only the surface

Introversion 

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via Daily Prompt: Privacy

My Dearest Maggie

Since I have been featuring birds, I thought this morning I would tell about my favorite ambassador who happens to be a marsupial. Sadly, Maggie passed away last year at the ripe old age of four…I know you are probably thinking, wait, four? It’s not that long, but opossums only live to be three or four years old. Maggie was one of my favorites to present because when you would first get her out most people’s responses were of disgust or total uninterest, It’s just a ‘possum, why bother?  After talking about Maggie and why possums are so unique, most people would walk away thinking that maybe, just maybe, they shouldn’t hit opossums with their cars.

One of my favorite memories of Maggie was during the summer of 2015, and we had three construction workers working in the room where we house the mammals. Now I live in rural Appalachia and these were the stereotypical “manly men,” complete with the beards. I walked in and began to prepare feeding the baby opossums we currently had because it was May, and May is baby season in wildlife rehab. Well, the three construction workers began to get curious and they stopped working and started watching the baby opossums. As their curiosity increased, one of them hesitantly asked, “What is that?” Without even looking up from the baby I was feeding, I answered, “A baby opossum, only a few weeks old.” Another construction worker commented, “It’s kind of cute.” Well by this time I had finished that cage and began to work on another cage. Now this cage had opossums who were a few weeks older than the first cage. Their curiosity was too much to contain and they had walked over to better investigate these tiny helpless creatures, who I have to say are one of the cutest babies (well I am slightly biased)! Looking at them, I started to give them the education talk on opossums. Well, that just opened the door wide open for conversation, and one of them said, “I always try and aim my truck for ’em, and you’re sayin’ this time of year I could be hittin’ a mamma with babies?” I nodded solemnly and said “Around here it was a huge problem because people view opossums as a varmint. On the contrary, opossums are more like nature’s garbage cleaners, they keep eat bugs, carrion, and decaying matter.” This helps to keep the ecosystems clean. Showing the men all of the different ages and sizes of opossums we were rehabilitating, I soon ran out of baby opossums to show off. Not wanting to waste a great opportunity to change someone’s mind. I told them to hold on for one minute. I stopped my feedings and got up to fetch Maggie.

Above are two pictures of about one-month old baby opossums, their eyes have not opened yet.

The picture on the left features opossums less than one-month-old and younger than the ones above. The picture on the right features an opossum closer to three months, which is when they wean.

I returned to the three men in mammal room but this time with my fat sleepy Maggie. A fourth construction worker showed up wondering what was taking his co-workers so long. Excitedly the three men, I had been talking to started to share everything they learned to their co-worker.

“Don’t hit ’em with your car, they might have babies!”

“Possums don’t git rabies!”

“Possums are like nature’s garbage cleaners!”

“They are actually really cute!”

“They don’t smell awful like I thought they would.”

Trying not to laugh, “Yep, and would you like to pet one now?” It was like looking into the faces of four kids at Christmas. All reservations about opossums now gone they were no longer hesitant and instead eagerly reaching for Maggie. As they pet her fur, which is soft and bristly like a shepherds fur, they were chatting amongst each other about how they had learned so much and couldn’t wait to go home and share it with their families. One of them even apologized to me for hitting so many and then promised he would never hit one on purpose again.

I must have spent an hour with those guys and days like that are why I do wildlife rehabilitation.

 I would often place Maggie out in the front yard for a change of scenery and exercise, but like any good opossum, all she wanted was to sleep! This is her in her favorite spot under a holy bush up against the building. She would sleep there for hours only moving if a bug crawled over, and then she would eat it!