Lots of H2O, few pictures, Prader-Willi Syndrome

24 February, 2019         Lots of H2O, few pictures, Prader-Willi Syndrome

As I type these words Sunday afternoon, the James River at Pony Pasture is fifteen feet deep and rising. That means most trails are underwater, so Evelyn and Mackey and Turner and Yuki and I hiked at Bryan Park today. And didn’t get a lot of pictures!

I was taking pictures out of my office window Thursday morning when the sun came out for a moment. Mackey was lying behind me and it was shining right on him. Black dogs look great in black sunlight – especially up close. I turned around and took this picture – he is so handsome and dignified. He is an elegant boy:

Black goes with everything – isn’t he spectacular?

The “Prader-Willi Syndrome” part is an experience I’ll write about in the future. Perhaps next week. I’ve been encouraged to write about “turning points” in my life. All of our lives have an infinite number. My experience working with a young man with Prader-Willi Syndrome about twenty years ago was an unforgettable turning point in my life, my career, my education. If you’re unfamiliar with Prader-Willi Syndrome, as I was before I met this person, you can learn a bit here: ABOUT PRADER-WILLI SYNDROME. The person I worked with was in the third phase. A lot of the “me” you know was formed by my encounter with him. But I’d chosen to be there, so it works both ways.

The “me” you know is shaped most by my wonderful family and friends, but also of course by my almost equally wonderful companion animals. Mackey and Turner sit and lie in my office (and hike with me) but they’re not allowed on the furniture. Dash likes it up there, especially close to the fire, unless there’s a warm lap nearby. When I emailed this to myself I just put “no anxiety here” in the subject line:

No anxiety here:

As you’ve seen I’ve been taking lots of pictures of birds on my feeders. They’re arriving in ever-increasing numbers along with the ever-increasing daylight. Which will eventually become ever-increasing temperatures, but not for another month or two. I like birds a lot, and I know a lot of other people do too – but hardly anyone likes European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). I am not fond of them myself. But I don’t like the feeling of disliking a bird – I’m sure it doesn’t dislike me. I don’t even know if they have feelings at all. But I know it’s irrational to dislike an animal that doesn’t harm me or anyone I know, and I am a rational person. So I’m going to learn to like them by taking the perfect photograph. Something that displays their likability. All animals have it. With chickadees it’s effortless. It’ll take me a while to locate the likability in a starling. But here’s my first attempt:

Does this starling appear likable to you? I’m working on it:

There is also no rational reason to like a Red-tailed hawk more than I like a starling, but that’s the way I am and I’m not conflicted. Here’s a great expression; I don’t recall where I heard it: “the heart knows reasons that reason does not know.” In other words, our hearts might have reasons that seem unreasonable. Or irrational. Like preferring one type of bird over another. Here’s a Red-tail I photographed near my house this afternoon:

So happy to finally see some blue sky. Male Red-tailed hawk 2:45 this afternoon near home:

Here’s a mockingbird in front of my house during the rain yesterday:

Mockingbird on our front light in the rain yesterday

Next week – hopefully – frogs will be croaking at the river and flowers will be camera ready. Come back then! And hopefully I’ll get my story in here about my old buddy with Prader Willi Syndrome.

Have an excellent week,


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.
This entry was posted in Birds, cats, Dogs, Fun, mockingbirds, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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