I am inviting each of you to take the Hoots, Howls, and Hollers challenge. Here it is: Try to spend the next week mindfully experiencing the world with a sense that you normally don’t use as much. Be safe when you do this…..your senses are designed to take care of you!
I am basically a visual person, and I am not even sure that I do such a good job at taking in as much as I could….lazily watching the world as it goes by. This past week I made a concerted effort to hear the world mindfully with interesting results. I found myself at different times of the day allowing a few minutes to sit quietly with my eyes closed to hear what happened in my environs.
I found that I experienced things in layers. The first thing I noticed was the traffic going by both in the air and on the streets around my personal surroundings. Then the disconcerting sound of the air conditioner kicking on (I am pretty sure that I could also hear the dollars flying out of my checking account with each roar from the compressor). Then there was the lovely sound of quiet once it stopped. I soon lost those really obvious sounds and started hearing other things.
It was pretty nice to know that I had a covey of quail on the wall, a curved bill thrasher in the bushes, and a group of doves pass over head with their most audible wing beats…all of this without opening my eyes. The gurgle of the fountain penetrated my awareness as water bubbled over the rocks. This called my attention to the rapid drumming of the hummingbird wing beat as it hovered at the fountain drinking water that spilled over the side….these things all make sounds if you are patient, quiet and still enough to hear them.
An outbreak of chittering called my attention to something discordant which I might not have heard if I hadn’t been practicing mindful awareness. The finches’ second nest of the year was bursting with sounds of alarm. When I followed the sound I found one of the little finchlings scurrying around on the ground beneath the nest frantic in total distress after popping out of the nest way ahead of any readiness to do so. The siblings were sounding the alarm, and it was a different sound than I have heard from the nest all season…no parents in sight just two little heads bleating for their brother (or sister). I got to do what we always tell people to do…..put it back in the nest….and instantly quiet reigned.
I might not have been the hero of the emergency had I not been practicing mindfulness….but I did “hear” it, and I was thrilled.
So take the challenge yourselves….try experiencing your surroundings this week in a new and mindful way and let me know how it goes. Maybe next week I’ll have another report on my experience in paying a new attention to my world.
This Week at Liberty
The intake total for the year is now at 2931.
The numbers would indicate that the bulk of Baby Bird Season 2012 is now on the wane. It’s still like “Africa Hot” outside, but as the monsoon dries up, we can at least look forward to some mitigation in the temperature area. The condor is doing OK and we took in a young golden eagle last week (see below). As we press on into the last half of August, we all have hope in our hearts for cooler times to come…
And why (if you could see them) were the rest of the ICU people frowning? It was Wally Hestermann’s last day as a Liberty volunteer. He’s going to work at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum. Jan told them they could only have him if he could come back when we get our new facility! Good luck, Wally, and have a great time. Don’t forget us!
A couple of new waterfowl in this week – a canada goose from the west side, another injured duck, and a coot with a damaged foot. Since coots have very special feet (with vanes or “lobes” which deploy and retract as the paddle) this would be a problem for the little guy who got a special padded shoe from Toba and Kurt.
This little barn owl looks like he is asking Kurt if he is getting better as he is examined on vet night last week.
Our new star rescue volunteer, Tim, brought in this golden eagle last week in only his second month on the R&T team! The bird was examined, given fluids, treated for feather mites and had its blood tested. Unfortunately, he is positive for a toxic level of lead. Treatment will continue…
One little orphan in the OC area has us all stumped as to what he might be. Even our ace ID people (including Dr. Orr) were struggling to come up with a definite specie for this little guy. I took this shot as Dr. Orr, Andrea, and Jane were trying to match him to pictures in the bird books. At one point, they played recordings of bird calls to see if he’d react to any one sound. It looks like we’ll have to wait for him to “feather out” to decide what to list him as. If anyone has an idea, we’d entertain all suggestions.
Three young raccoons passed through Liberty last week. They didn’t stay very long, being transferred to another facility with more room for mammals, but they always bring with them the maximum “cuteness” factor – along with almost human dexterity – when assembling the plastic carriers for raccoons, the bolts have to be installed with the nuts on the bottom, otherwise the raccoons will reach out and unscrew them and set themselves free!