In 1964, 57 years ago today, I reported to Uniacke Barracks in Harrogate, Yorkshire, to begin a three year apprenticeship as an Electronic Engineer, thus beginning my Army career which lasted for 28 years and 151 days
After 22 years in the army I morphed into a military accountant
On Monday I watered a sparrow – she was asleep in a bush – I apologised
I have created a very small wildlife pond – it has been immediately colonised by mosquito larvae
My wife and I are somehow suffering from multiple mosquito bites
I’m happy and I’m shallow
but sometimes I am deep
I’ll often write best sellers whilst I am fast asleep
In my back garden (yard) I have several bird feeders which I keep regularly stocked with all sorts of seed, nuts, suet, fat balls, and dried mealworms. I have a feeding station, feeders in trees, feeders under arches, and ground feeders. Not forgetting, of course, four separate water feeders/baths. The birds really do feed well, and sometimes the odd squirrel will decide to wreck everything in sight to partake of the feast. My ground feeders also cater for hedgehogs, the odd feral cat, and even foxes.
The downside to having so many feeders is that I am constantly having to weed underneath them. Oh, I know that I could buy “No mess, no grow” seed but really it tends to be very poor quality and often very dusty and so is prone to getting damp and clogging up or going mouldy (and yes, we do put a u in mouldy in the UK, just like we do in favourite, neighbour, and many many more words) The birds do try to help out by fossicking under the feeders to hoover up any stray seed and fat. All this tends to do is to leave a very bare patch underneath.
Sometimes I miss seeing that something has started to sprout in the garden that I have not planted, and I end up with unforeseen growth. I once had some very healthy, and rampant, plants that had very distinct shaped leaves and which I could have sworn I’d seen on a drugs awareness course I had attended. They composted very well – honest!
This year the birds have left some unforeseen, but very welcome, sunflower plants. They’re not daft – they know that they will produce food for later on!
I’ve been considering this post for a few weeks now. It is particularly relevant today as The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) release their latest report that is a dire warning that we are heading even more rapidly towards killing our world.
We in the UK say Oh Dearie Me, we must do something, but meanwhile we will carry on with new oil and gas extraction and there is no need to have an adverse effect on the growth of the economy!
Meanwhile, those of us who are not fleeing wild fires, or flooding, or extreme heat, or rising water levels, will turn up our heating, or switch on the air conditioning. We will take our children the mile and a half to school in our gas guzzling vehicles deigned to go off road and up mountains. We will complain about having to pay more than a couple of dollars for fruit that was picked by children and flown across he world for us. We will pay a dollar for a bunch of flowers that were picked that morning and will earn the grower 2 cents. We will pack 2,000 chickens into a barn so we have cheap eggs and chicken burgers, and we will have cows that never see daylight so burger producers can make a fortune from the millions upon millions of us who demand cheap food. We will complain about the rain forests disappearing, but demand palm oil and wood products that emanate from them. We will happily buy cheap clothing and throw it away after a few weeks. I could go on, but……………..
This was never meant to be a rant from me, it was meant to share Carolyn’s excellent, and very apt, poem, so please let me introduce……………………………….Carolyn:
Carolyn, also known as Yetismith, lives in upstate New York along with 13 cats, give or take a couple. She feeds all the birds and critters that pass her way and they reward her by eating everything that dares to grow anywhere nearby.
For many years she worked in customer service at JFK and at SEATAC but is now a lady of leisure, if that is possible when you have so many cats!
Carolyn posts regularly on her blog CatsinCambridge and sometimes intersperses her lovely photographs with poetry. She claims she is not a poet, but I beg to differ.
In June, Carolyn posted a lovely set of pictures of flowers that had, so far, escaped the hungry animals. She included a poem that warned of humankind’s neglect and disrespect of the planet and ended by saying “Time for all of us to be responsible, in every and any way possible.”
I asked if I could share her words and, later, if I could share a spoken version.
This is my interpretation(s) of Carolyn’s poem. I may not read it as she would read it or, for that matter, in a way that anyone else would. However, I hope that I have done it justice!
Before you listen, please do look at the original post which can be found here. The pictures really are lovely and behold, a poem!
Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us Bird /Cat /Dog /Fish /Pet this week to be included in the title or lyrics.
If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.
This week there was no option for me other than to choose this classic song from my youth. Often played in dingy students’ rooms, lit by candlelight, joss sticks burning in the background. We were all in love, we were all in love with this song and this album. I received the album as a 21st birthday present from a sumptuous girl from Walton, in Liverpool. She was a student teacher, I was in the army. We were passing ships in the night and almost docked permanently. It was that intense. I think of Jen every time I hear this song.
In the 1960s, Leonard Cohen lived on the Greek island Hydra with his girlfriend Marianne Ihlen, the woman depicted on the back cover of the album. She has related how she helped him out of a depression by handing him his guitar, whereupon he began composing “Bird on the Wire”, inspired by a bird sitting on one of Hydra’s recently installed phone wires.
Cohen said “I always begin my concert with this song. It seems to return me to my duties. It was begun in Greece and finished in a motel in Hollywood around 1969 along with everything else. Some lines were changed in Oregon. I can’t seem to get it perfect.”
Like a bird on the wire Like a drunk in a midnight choir I have tried in my way to be free
Like a worm on a hook Like a knight from some old-fashioned book I have saved all my ribbons for thee If I, if I have been unkind I hope that you can just let it go by If I, if I have been untrue I hope you know it was never to you
For like a baby, stillborn Like a beast with his horn I have torn everyone who reached out for me But I swear by this song And by all that I have done wrong I will make it all up to thee
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch He said to me, “you must not ask for so much” And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door She cried to me, “hey, why not ask for more?” Oh, like a bird on the wire Like a drunk in a midnight choir I have tried in my way to be free