Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hitchcock Pales in Comparison

When I drove home from the Bay Area yesterday, after a wonderful day of Thanksgiving and an overnighter at my sister's before driving back home, I experienced something I will not soon forget.
These pictures were taken on hiway 12 going east into Lodi, Ca. This is the great central valley fly zone for migrating birds. At this time of the year I usually see a wonderful ,varied group of birds flying south for the Winter; but this was an all out assault on the visual and auditory senses. These are STARLINGS; thousands, upon thousands of Starlings.
Please click on the photos to get the larger and fuller effect.
The cacophonous sound that this many birds make together is even more horrendous than what one remembers in the scary old movie called THE BIRDS. The director of that movie, Alfred Hitchcock, must have experienced this "valley" phenomenon before he started filming his movie.

I saw what I thought was dust from a distance. This is peat dirt country and when the wind picks up the dirt from the plowed fields, or a tractor is moving across a field, you will see dirt and dust for miles, but as I got closer I realized that this was not dust. The whole sky was filled with birds, moving, undulating in waves, like a huge cloud blown by unseen wind. I grabbed my small point and shoot and started blindly taking pictures out of the window, but soon realized that I was taking my life in my hands on a very busy highway and decided to pull off the road. Several other people did the same thing.
As I rolled down the window, I heard the sound of these birds. It was something you can't believe. The family that had stopped behind me had a young boy who jumped out of their car and ran around yelling and pointing in amazement.
I got out and reached for my NIKON, in the back seat, and started taking pictures. These that are posted are the best. I took at least 30 or 40 shots.
In the middle of "the day after Thanksgiving" traffic, a few of us "crazy" folks were stopped on the side of a very busy highway, looking up into the sky, cameras flashing, oblivious to huge trucks, speeding cars and bird-droppings; sharing a sight in nature that some will never see or, probably like some of the people that continued to drive, care about.
Did you see us as you drove by? Did you see the small boy jumping up and down? There are still some of us that have to stop and look..., and hear, when Nature does something amazing and wonderful. There is still a small child inside of me, with a sense of wonder that has never gone away.
The next time you see something that you think you will never see again, take the time to stop and look. It is a human right that isn't written down in some law book somewhere. It's a gift that waits for you and will live in your amazed heart forever.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~Melody Beattie


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Finding happiness

Things that make me happy....,
A beautiful flower...

Sunlight on a cold day.

a rooster crowing.

The sound of coyotes at night.....
An owl hooting in a nearby oak tree.
A small verbal greeting from a goat....

..., laughing with friends.
The sparkle filled feeling
that laughter leaves inside of you.

Finding something

Clean sheets.....,
drying outside.
blowing leaves around.
Seeing the sunrise every morning.

...and flowers that make fireworks.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

A very good no guilt Pumpkin Pie

This is for all of you who love pumpkin pie but are already feeling guilty about the holiday eating binge that is about to overtake your life. This is a Weight Watchers recipe. It doesn't have a crust but it does taste like the rest of a regular pumpkin pie and it has passed the Prospector's taste test. The best part is that you can have a BIG piece of it for 5 Pts.(that's how they refer to calories these days, it makes sense if you have a magic "points finder".) A regular Pumpkin Pie is 9 pts. for a very skinny, itsy bitsy, teenie weenie slice. So it's a great way to have your dessert and eat it too. Enjoy!
(I added some orange zest and an extra 1/2 tsp. each of cinnamon and nutmeg. I only used 1 tsp. of vanilla. Check it at 45 mins. because 50 mins. was was a little too long for my oven.)

I also think that it's beautiful! I sprinkled it with some powdered sugar and plan to take a new one with us for Thankgiving Dinner. This one has, of course, been tampered with by now. it will definitely be gone by next Thursday.

Doesn't this look good?..., and here's a little secret. It won't hurt to put a dab ( scoop, dollop, etc.) of light Cool Whip on top. You won't feel deprived at all. I promise.

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