Flowers, birds, bugs and more

23 May, 2013        Flowers, birds, bugs and more

But mainly flowers, birds and bugs. Spring becomes more summer-like each day and everything is moving faster. Remember – if you’ve seen this blog before – the pretty frog picture I posted in mid-April? The post was Froggie? I took that picture when the air and the water were cool. That makes frogs move slow. When my buddy and I walked up that frog was not interested in moving off his warm perch. We walked by the same spot at Bryan Park last week when it was close to 90º. The moment we came in sight that frog disappeared into the water with a loud splash. Reptiles and amphibians are moving much quicker. The plants are doing what plants have always done, and the bugs are in their usual state. There are big patches of lily pads at Bryan Park and last week they had bright yellow flowers on them. I took some pictures from a long way off and when I got home I saw this bug:

Bug exploring a lily pad flower

Bug exploring a lily pad flower

Later when I came home – speaking of bugs on flowers – I found this attractive neighbor climbing our side fence:

Neighbor dropping by for a visit

Neighbor dropping by for a visit

This happens often; I’ll look closer and see something odd in the picture. Look what comes in sight on closer inspection:

One neighbor brought along another!

One neighbor brought along another!

There are plenty of flowers that are just gorgeous on their own. They get lots of help from bugs (with pollination, etc.), but the only thing currently helping this beauty was the past night’s rain and the morning sun:

Isn't this just gorgeous?

Isn’t this just gorgeous?

I’m going out on a limb here. But we hear a lot – a whole lot – about climate change. I’ve only heard bad things about it. But there are some good or neutral things too. I may be seeing statistically predictable variations that I just haven’t noticed in the past. But I’m seeing things (in this case, a bird) at Pony Pasture that I’ve not seen in the past. Maybe they’re here regularly and I just haven’t seen them, but this was a first for me in 10+ years of bird watching down there. Unimpeachable sources (thanks Evie and Kim and Lynda and Katie and Gilpin!) tell me this is a Spotted Sandpiper. I enjoy this description from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: “The dapper Spotted Sandpiper makes a great ambassador for the notoriously difficult-to-identify shorebirds. They occur all across North America, they are distinctive in both looks and actions, and they’re handsome.” “Dapper” – isn’t that a fun word?:

What a dapper ambassador!

What a dapper ambassador!

I don’t normally care for photos I consider sloppy. But I enjoy this one. There was a pair of mallards walking in front of us on a path at Pony Pasture the other day. I got a few cute pictures but mallards are a dime a zillion. I knew they would take off as the dogs got closer and I thought I might get a good picture. I didn’t get a good picture at all. But this came out neat. Notice the “landing gear” being retracted?:

Fast takeoff

Fast takeoff

At camp I loved barn swallows. They flew around all the time but I don’t see them often these days. But I was at Bryan Park the other day with a buddy and was gratified to see one sitting (for a moment) on a slender limb. The sun was wrong (for me, not for the bird) so the picture’s not a beauty. Maybe I’ll get another. They’re lovely, graceful birds:

Barn swallow

Barn swallow

If you’re unfamiliar with barn swallows and you look at that picture, you’re still unfamiliar with barn swallows. You have to see them fly to fully appreciate them. But here’s a semi-silhouette of the bird pictured above to give a better idea:

Petite and elegant and graceful

Petite and elegant and graceful

A lovely female (you can tell by the blue on her wings) tiger swallowtail from the Pony Pasture parking lot:

Beautiful female tiger swallowtail (females have blue on their wings)

Beautiful female tiger swallowtail (females have blue on their wings)

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23 May, 2013    Sage

My father taught us to recognize wisdom. To learn when we could. Dad was a wise, wise man. I’ve had many other wise teachers. I spend time with great teachers nearly every day. In my Masters program I had a particularly wise professor for my Individual Counseling class and my Group Counseling class. It was through him that Ivory and I got involved in Pet Therapy, and I met many more wise teachers.

Moe was my professor in both counseling classes.

We often think of ourselves or of others in terms of “strengths and weaknesses.” Moe encouraged us to think in terms of “strengths and areas for improvement.” That’s a much more open-minded and accepting way of viewing ourselves. It’s inevitable that when we’re more accepting of ourselves, we’re more accepting of others. Make no mistake – acceptance is contagious. When we feel more accepted, we become more accepting. There is no down side.

I’d intended to write more about Moe – he was a fantastic story-teller. But I want to put up this post. I’ll write some of his parables in future posts.

He helped me out after I’d graduated and had me meet up with a couple of his students. Some were exploring creative paths for counseling careers and Moe wanted me to talk with them. We’d go out for dinner in the Fan and shoot the breeze – it was always a great experience. He loved Joe’s Inn. I wanted to introduce Evie to him and I googled him a couple of weeks ago and was dismayed to find his obituary. He wasn’t a young man and I was unsurprised to read it but it’s still too bad. I’ve reproduced some of it here so you can get an idea:

Moe, father, teacher, friend, counselor, and craftsman, passed away early Sunday, July 3, 2011, at his home in Richmond, VA, after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 67 years old when he died, sharing his enthusiasm for life with those around him even in his last days. He is survived by his son, his daughter, his son-in-law, his granddaughter, his brother, and his sister. Warren, known as “Moe” by many of his friends, was born to loving parents, and grew up in Glassboro, NJ. He maintained strong connections to the area through family members; and his long-time companion. He was a well educated, but unpretentious man, who received his B.A., his M.A., and his Ph.D.. A Professor Emeritus in the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling at Virginia Commonwealth University, he authored more than 60 publications in the areas of rehabilitation, counseling, and psychology. He was a licensed professional counselor who worked as a rehabilitation counselor and as a mentor at university counseling centers. In addition to his love for helping others, Warren had a love for history and refinished antiques; he enjoyed restoring grandfather clocks to their past glory.

I was especially fond of the passage that says when he died he was “sharing his enthusiasm for life with those around him even in his last days.” I know he spent his teaching career “sharing his enthusiasm for life with those around him.” I also liked (as you may imagine) that he was “well educated but unpretentious.” He was a good guy and I was fortunate to know him. I’ll put a couple of his parables in a future post. 

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About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
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5 Responses to Flowers, birds, bugs and more

  1. Neal Short says:

    Jay ,great post as always and love the pictures and your wisdom which you so gallantly share my friend keep up the posts as they are always a welcome brightness in my life of solitude.
    Neal C Short (grade 3 TBI Survivor)

    • How’s it going Neal! Great to hear from you, and I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. Those views of Pony Pasture are even better in person – you should go down there and check it out again! Have a great day,

      Jay

  2. Clare T says:

    Yes, the photographs are always breathtaking – love “neighbor stopping by for a visit” what a clever description 🙂

    when you were describing your friend & mentor, it made me think of something I came across yesterday @ my job……it was a poem & tho not quite the positive flavor, it still had a message that nudged me a bit: “Is anyone happier because you passed his way? Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today? The day is almost over, and its toiling time is through, is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you? Can you say tonite in parting with the day that’s slipping fast, that you helped a single brother of the many that you passed?”

    a positive summary, I think anyone who knows you or reads these blogs and sees these photos knows that you have touched our lives, raised our spirits and taught us more about where we live in a beautiful way – just in case you wanted to know 🙂

    as what was written previously…….keep up what you are doing!

    clare

  3. Hi Clare! Thanks for the note, and it’s great to hear from you, as always. And I enjoyed the poem you came across at your job – very positive! My boys and I went down to PP this morning (Sunday) and had a fantastic hike. We even saw Nathan working hard down there, just like Ralph – hard at work on a holiday weekend! Have a great day and I’m looking forward to seeing you soon,

    Jay

  4. Pingback: PP Fauna | NEWFAZE

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