Wings of Autumn

The signs of autumn are slowly appearing in the Battle Creek basin. Last week bid farewell the triple digit heat with a final day of 103F (39.4C) on Monday, October 1. This week opened with a high of 80F(26.6C).  The temperature drop and shorter days nudge a color shift in the trees.

Kettles of turkey vultures fill the sky. Here along the creek we have vultures year round. They even nest in our backyard. This time of year their numbers increase in the sky as they circle higher and higher on thermals.  Vultures gather here for a reason. The fall run of Chinook salmon is underway.

Reviled creatures, most people consider these carrion feeders gross and ugly. If you have ever smelled rotting salmon from the spawn, you may consider these turkey vultures the most beautiful of all. We welcome their presence to keep our little valley clean.

I appreciate these birds.

Turkey Vultures –
This is an illustration from a children’s book I am working on called “No Place for Ugly Birds.”



Taming the not so idle hands

We have all had moments like this when working with a group of kids. One child is so full of energy that sitting still is impossible. Yes, impossible, and I do not say this lightly.

I watched this energetic child squirm, wiggle and twist. With hands that drummed, fidgeted and poked it seemed like we were in for a long night of religious education.

One quick glance from me garnered an, “Am I in trouble?” response.

The child seemed to be trying so hard to sit still, listen, and not interrupt the lessons or other pier participation.

“Am I in trouble?” the child queried again.

I slid a few sheets of paper under those fidgeting fingers along with some colored markers. “When I am easily distracted, it helps me to doodle. Give it a try.” My smile was met with a broad grin and my offer accepted.

An amazing peace fell over the room. Oh, the hands were still busy, writing each pier name on a paper airplane. Then a dove with an olive branch followed by three crosses on a hill.

The student was listening and exchanging in dialog all the while creating little masterpieces.

Religious education class is opened and closed with prayer. That evening, the doodles during class were placed in the center of the table as we all prayed together.

When trying to reach a kid, try art.

9-11 Birthdays

Tim brings me coffee every morning. Our morning time has developed a routine, we watch the news and like most great friends, our best conversations solve the ills of the world before we set about our day.

The day started as most others; Tim crossed the living room with a steaming cup of hot coffee. His eyes reflected his flirty smile.
As he began to speak, I noticed his distraction to the news feed.

“Happy birthd… the towers are on fire.”

We turned up the volume just as the second plane hit.
Everyone remembers where they were, what they were doing on September 11, 2001.

People are born everyday; odds are we all share our date of birth with an unpleasant event of some sort or another.  For me, for my niece, and for countless others, 9-11 is our birthday.

Life is a balance.  Good things and bad things happen everyday. I hope for those of us with a 9-11 birthday, that we strive for good, that we strive for balance.
As I give thanks for the blessings in my life, I offer prayers for those lost and those who still mourn.

May we all celebrate life and bring a little bliss into the lives we touch.