When I was young, my family was always close to nature, but I never imagined then just how muchcloser nature would eventually get to me. We moved around a lot to different suburban neighborhoods and towns. There was always a vegetable garden in our back yard, long before it was common or cool. There was also a bird feeder somewhere in the yard, usually where we could see it while eating our meals.
Both of my parents had grown up on a Long Island that was more rural than it was in my youth. I heard stories about horse-drawn delivery carts in the city and roads paved with crushed clam shells further out.
In the towns where I grew up, there were still a few shops and buildings that looked like they were built in the early part of the twentieth century and several homes that had barns. I spent many hours with friends exploring woods, streams, and even a specimen arboretum that had not yet been developed or paved over. My father took many a carload of assorted kids to nature centers, some of which still exist, further out towards the shore giving us the gift of time to explore and enjoy deeper woods. He also taught us who the trees were and some of the plants that still flourished in the wilds. The scent of fresh Sassafras leaves still sends me back to that time.
Eventually my family moved to northern New York and I got to spend a lot more time in nature exploring the fields, swamps, ridges, and the river’s edge on a former dairy farm. I know that was the beginning of an awakening to nature. My family continued to move around and I was blessed to inhabit many different types of northern environments. Always there were gardens, bird feeders, and domestic animal companions. At some point my understanding expanded to the plants and trees outside of the yard. Friends with organic farms helped expand my animal experiences. I started discovering the world of herbs and their applications. A sense of the interconnectedness of all life was growing within my heart and mind.
People started turning to me for help healing their domestic animals. I’d been using herbs as first aide and to enhance the well being of the Airedale terriers my family hand reared. The chickens, goats, and pigs that we kept also got herbal treatments. Even a few dairy farm neighbors called on me for help. It was good to be able to help friends and neighbors help their animals.
Many years later, when I was married and settled here on Welsley Island with a growing herb-craft business, the gardens and pets persisted. Bird feeding and watching became a quiet passion shared with my husband Steve. During our first few winters we enjoyed watching the wild Turkeys traveling in a uniform line from way out back over hummock and hill to scratch up the frozen soil under our feeders almost every afternoon. We also started making regular trips around the state parks watching Eagles and others along the rivers edge.
Steve was born and raised here. His roots go way back. He’s also a caretaker, as many of the men in his family have been, so calls come in regularly for help with any number of situations. Calls also come in for help in complex situations....and we’ve joked that people call Steve when they don’t know what else to do. I think that may be how we started getting calls about wildlife in trouble.
We were brought a Humming Bird who’d flown into the open door on an RV and gotten stuck in the screen. The resulting stress of being rescued and handled by a child for way too long and ending up at our house took it’s toll. I remember frantically calling state parks and vets (who were of course closed for the weekend) and eventually talking to the child of a naturalist who wasn’t home. She told me to keep the bird in a small box with some screening over the top, then get some drops of water on it’s tongue and hope for the best. She warned that they frequently stress themselves to death. We followed her instructions and went back to our evening chores. Just before dusk I came inside to check the box and sure enough the bird was hovering around trying to escape. I gave the bird a few more drops of water, then took him outside and placed him high up on a branch away from harm. He was gone in the morning and nothing in the area suggested he’d come to any harm. That was our first successful “soft release”.
Another time, we came home from somewhere to find a pigeon sitting in front of our doorway. He seemed to be uninjured, but weak and unable to fly. We found some food we thought would be acceptable and put him somewhere safe. He ate and drank but showed no signs of being ready to fly away or leave, so Steve put together a makeshift cage to keep the bird safe overnight. This pretty much continued all week, with the pigeon being free during the day and safely caged at night, with no changes. Then we had to leave for a weekend at the Renaissance Faire. We freed the bird, left some food and water in the usual place and headed to the Faire. Steve mentioned the bird several times over the weekend and we discussed what we might do for and with him when we got home, if he was still there. “Pidge” ended up with a bigger cage and stayed around for a few weeks, eventually gaining enough strength to fly. We deduced that he was an older bird and we were committed to providing for him. Unfortunately he flew into traffic and perished. This may have been a rehab boot camp lesson #1, “even when they survive, they don’t always survive”.
About fourteen years ago, after a talk by a rehabilitator at our library, I was inspired to get a state license to rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife. It soon became apparent that I needed to get a federal license so I could work with migratory birds, because so many kept arriving for care. The first season I think we took care of a couple of dozen animals, and transported several raptors to a friend in central New York who rehabs mostly birds of prey. It’s grown into pretty much a year round way of life, though currently I only have two pigeons one little red squirrel who earned the name Houdini. I now care for somewhere between one hundred fifty and two hundred creatures each year.
I never imagined
I’d be doing this.
I also can’t imagine
not doing this.
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IN THIS ISSUE–––
• David S. Warren -
OOO Editor's Notes
• Georgia E. Warren -
• Sue Ryn -
I Never Imagined This
• Mary Gilliland -
• David S. Warren -
Poem to Archie
• Don Brennan -
Take Me To the River
• Peter Fortunato -
• Peter Wetherbee -
Sinister Ballad of a
David S.Warren -
We are Nuts
• Rhian Ellis -
• Garriel Orgrease -
• Daniel Lovell -
One for Miriam
• Nancy Viera Couto -
and the Queen
• David Rollow -
• Franklin Crawford -
When I Have Thoughts
That I May Cease to Pee
• David Rollow -
Review: A. R. Ammons
• Chris MacCormack -
Packages (an excerpt)
The running joke had become that I was being passed off as Billy Gibbons from Zee Zee Top. I wandered the streets of the French Quarter with family and friends of family. Whenever anyone of the group shouted, “Billy Gibbons, everyone, Billy Gibbons!” I was to go “Har har har.” (go to story)
When I Have Thoughts That I May Cease to Pee
by Franklin Crawford
My brain, which I am very attached to even though we’ve never met, is doomed to liquefy and bubble out of my ears, nose and mouth, shortly after I am as dead as the DNC.
It’s not the most pleasant thought my mind ever conjured, given that I suspect my brain doesn’t like to imagine its post-mortem condition any more than whatever this self – this symbiont with whom I share my weathered hide – wishes to dwell upon. (go to story)
by Georgia E. Warren
As soon as I got back to my dorm room I remembered. There was no textbook, we were supposed to research the famous artwork of Milan. The test was to identify and discuss the Italian Renaissance art was located in Milan. It was late. The library was closed. I decided I should go to bed and try to get to the library before class.
But I was exhausted: I sat on my bed ready to take my shoes off and fell asleep in my clothes.
Within a minute a very nice Catholic Nun shook my shoulder and told me I should not sleep in the pews of the sanctuary. I told her the problem about my class. I did not tell her it was thousands of miles away
(go to article)________________________
Reiki: Just The Facts
"Take Me To The River"
by Don Brennan
“Whoa! Where did you come from?’’ I set it down on the picnic table as fragments of memories washed over me. It was an old friend that I had found as a child, on a family vacation, somewhere one summer. Even though it was still covered with bits of soil, it was easy to see that it was loaded with interesting minerals. “I’m going to have to hose you off.”
The next two mornings, I spent more time staring at the stone than reading my book. The words were creating images not from The Celestine Prophecy, but from the day this stone first came into my life.
I had glimpses of it sparkling
in a shallow pool of water at
the bottom of a riverbed.
(go to article)
by David Rollow
The Muse came knocking at the writer’s window on a night of wild weather. Her skin seen through the windowpanes was luminous and pale, except for her flushed cheeks. Her green eyes glistened. Never had she looked more beautiful. Gladdened by this unexpected visit--for the page lay empty on his table and the pen lay untouched by the page--the writer stood and unlocked the window, his heart surging against his ribs as if they, too, somehow, were to be unlocked and his heart set free. (go to story)
by Mary Gilliland
Myth is longing. I lose myself in myth. When I would re-read the texts, or re-imagine them, myth led me out of family problems I could do nothing about. It contextualized the martyred strivings of Roman Catholic indoctrination. (excerpt, go to full story)
Margarida, José, and the Queen
by by Nancy Vieira Couto
Margarida saw the Queen in that summer of 1901 when all the days were damp and filled with the smell of salt. She couldn’t see the future through the fog, but she imagined machines, money, and motion, a city crammed with tenement houses and streetcars. She was fourteen years old. She and her mother, Maria Julia, had just arrived in Ponta Delgada, having said good-bye forever to aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, the living and the dead.
(go to story)
The focus of our next Metaphysical Times will be "Memory." (see full size)
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