Friday, July 4, 2014


You didn't honestly think you'd get out of a blog entry without being subjected to some music, did you? This morning's earworm for me has been the song "Changes", a Phil Ochs cover performed by Neil Young. I suggest you start the song before you read today's blog rumination. That's only a suggestion--you can do what you want. It's a free country, more or less. By the way, happy Fourth of July!

Neil Young performs Phil Ochs' "Changes" at the Chicago Theater

Today I've been thinking a lot about changes. My friends and I have been going through some major life shifts. Change is something to which we can all relate--births, deaths, jobs, relationships, etc--though some people welcome and deal with these permutations more effectively than others.

That idea being set forth, let me begin with a story: a block from my house is an aerie--an eagle's nest. It's been there for about 7 years now, and each year, two or three eaglets are born and raised in it. This year, there's a different female who has helped hatch and raise the brood--the female in previous years had a pure white tail, and this one still has some brown in her tail feathers. Papa Eagle has a new, younger mate! It's a romantic myth that eagles mate for life--they tend to, because they're territorial and return to the same nesting area year after year. Since I live by the river, there are several aeries in the area, which means several potential mates.

Yesterday evening, the female eagle was teaching the two eaglets how to call--she would call, then the eaglets would mimic her in fledgling voices. It sounded to me like an attention call, a "hey, come here" that I've heard from the male or female when one of them is sitting in the nest and calling the other back. Since these eaglets seem to be a week or two from flight, it seems appropriate that an attention call is one of the first calls they're taught.

Eagle's Attention Call
This is not my footage, but it's a similar call to
 what I heard the mother eagle teaching her eaglets

Over the past seven years, I've taken lots of pictures of the eagles, and the image below is one of my favorites.
The two neighborhood eagles in the Talking Tree near my house. 
When you spot the eagles in the tree, you might see that their silhouettes form a heart shape. According to the Seven Teachings, Eagle is associated with love, which many people associate with this heart shape. Cool coincidence, huh?

Different American Indian tribes and bands have different teachings, but there are some commonalities. One that I've noticed is that since Eagle flies the highest of all the birds, it is closest to the Creator. I'm not sure if that's the influence of Christian religion on traditional American Indian religion; it could also be that the sky is associated with the Creator since the sun and the moon and stars are a part of it. Maybe it's a combination of both ways of thinking. In any case, from his/her high vantage point, Eagle can see the past, present, and future and the flow of change. Eagle alerts us to these changes so we can respond in a good way.

Since Eagle in associated with the connection between the Great Mystery and Earth and can see the flow of human events, s/he is associated with courage and wisdom. Eagle's wisdom gives us courage to understand when a change will occur or needs to be made. In turn, this knowledge helps us muster up the courage to face or execute the change. This is a beautiful idea to me, as many of my friends and family are going through changes. I think about them a lot and wonder how I can best support and help them; maybe they think of me, too, and wonder the same thing. As I go through these shifts, helping my friends and family also helps me; I learn by assisting others. As I gain understanding, I can pass these teachings on to others to help them. I suppose my love of learning and appreciation of reciprocity would be a large part of why I'm a teacher.

Heavy stuff, that.

For me--and perhaps you--it boils down to this: the reciprocal nature of teaching and learning is a testament to our interconnectedness. You need me, and I need you. We need to be kind to and look out for each other. Please do so.

Thank you, and have a good day.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pet Peeve

This entry started as a rant on Facebook, but it became kinda long, so I thought I'd contain my ideas to a blog entry that the curious can view. Or not. This, you may understand, is a thinly veiled ploy to get myself writing more regularly. However, I doubt a poem will be born of this entry. You can thank me later.

That preface being stated....

Those of you who know me know that I love dogs. I have two of them who have been faithful companions--sometimes, their company is preferable to that of most people most of the time--I am an introvert, after all.  It's not that I don't like people--I do, but in small doses. There's something about hanging out with and taking care of my pups that causes me to slow down and reflect, which is what I need to do A LOT as an introvert. Please note I did not say "project"--that's part of my rant (see below). Taking care of my dogs also brings out the closest thing I can liken to a "mothering instinct", though I realize that dogs and young children are not the same.

Rugrat and Phoebe

Because I love dogs, my pet peeve may come as a surprise: people who have blogs and FB pages for their dogs AND write in their dogs' voices. You may be asking yourself how I know these exist; it's not as though I go online seeking out something against which to rail. My awareness of these pages is the result of some of my Facebook friends commenting on them, seemingly during the wee hours of the morning. I don't know if this is a new form of sleeptexting or if they're just out of it for whatever reason. In any case, when those friends of mine comment on these postings, it goes into the newsfeed that I see when I'm on Facebook.

Here's an excerpt of what I saw this morning on Cora the Wobbly Pittie Girl:
I iz not going to push it and say that her home will embrace habing a doggie     furbaby... at least fur now.... but what a huge obstacle our new furiend habs obercome!! I iz hoping that her will now "make the rounds" and go and make furiends wif more ob mah furfuriendz, so her can see that many kindz ob "big" doggies are happy, and furiendly, and werthy ob LUB. So, you send me a message fanking me fur helping you open your eyez.... to that I respond "oh no!! Fank YOU fur totally making mah day, mah week, and pawsibly mah year!!! " And, yes, if her lets me know when her birfieday iz.... I will ob course sing to her too!! Today iz like the most PAWsome day eber already!!

I can barely read this, and I like to believe that the reason is not because I don't read dog. Where did this start? Why did people begin blogging in the presumed voices of their canine charges? Is it the result of the dog memes on I Has A Hotdog?

However it began, the example from Cora the Wobbly Pittie Girl is probably the penultimate worst dog blogging example to which I've been subjected. I'll concede that there may be an intelligent, affable pooch out there somewhere who knows the difference between an "s" and a "z" and doesn't interject the words "fur" or "paws" into every other word at any opportunity, but Cora's page does not give me cause for hope. These ghost dog bloggers make their dogs sound like idiots, which I don't think is their purpose. But who knows? Maybe these people are so low and down on their own luck, that they're trying to raise themselves on the species chain...over dogs. Or perhaps their own writing skills are so poor, but they have such a need to express themselves, that that do so through a dog blog. That's like projecting yourself onto a dog, the psychological ramifications of which I'm not totally comfortable.

Jung would say my discomfort stems from my shadow, a part of my own personality/psyche with which I'm uncomfortable.

This, too, brings me to a place in which I'm not totally comfortable.

What this long-winded rant boils down to is this: some people are writing these blogs in dogs' voices, and that's really sad...almost as sad as this blog about this phenomenon.

I'm going to walk my dogs.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Butterfly's Path

Lately, I've been thinking a lot--maybe too much--about changes. I've been thinking about the nature of loss and the change/moving on that can follow. 

Yesterday on my morning walk, a butterfly flew by me and lit on a leaf. I stopped to watch it, because it was really unique--its wings were mainly an iridescent blue spotted with the white dots of a monarch. The edges of its wings were rimmed with window panes of rust. It was beautiful. After I admired it for a couple of minutes, it flew over and landed on my arm, and we hung out for a few minutes before it flew away.

The butterfly sort of looked like this...but not quite...but you get the idea.

I wondered if that monarchesque insect would eventually become a full-fledged monarch with orange wings and if monarchs, once they break free from their chrysalis, continue to change their form.

I thought about this image all day. I listened to songs about loss and change, particularly Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' The Boatman's Call.

Not sure if this link is working...but look it up 
on YouTube if you're so inclined. :)

And this morning, I wrote a poem. 

That Blue Bloom

Stumbling over rugs in the house of dawn, I
Listen for your song on the wind. Many days
find me waiting: a face drawn in an upstairs
window, watchful eyes seeking your shade

cruising down my street on a motorcycle, in
a truck, on a bicycle, on rollerblades or foot.
Outside, the sun rises and sets, splaying rays
on grass carpets rippled by Zephrys’ breath.

Feathers in hand, whorls of sage smoke rise,
prayers slip through my lips, and longing
beats its tired wings, flying towards a world
from which you watch, face drawn in a cloud.

© Kate McClure 2014