Tea-of-the-day: Lemon blossom and honeysuckle with honey (if you ever try this, as a warning, it takes a ton of flowers)
What I am (re)reading now: The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger
What I am reading now: Druidry and the Ancestors by Nimue Brown, and Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth by William Bryant Logan
What I’ve been watching lately: NCIS, Bill Nye the Science Guy (thanks kids), and Story of God with Morgan Freeman. Also, lots of safety training videos (I’m rewriting some of our safety training for work).
In which I feel vindicated: Five years ago I made a boggy complaint about how the media reports science. I doubt John Oliver has ever read my blog at all, much less that particular post of mine, but still… (far more hilarious and visual) VINDICATION!!!
Random thoughts (or what I’d like to tell my redneck cousins) while Facebooking*: Experience and education bring opportunity. Opportunities bring wider and more in-depth experiences and education. It’s the proverbial chicken-or-egg scenario (though, as Chickadee would point out, the egg actually came first because lots of animals had eggs before the chicken was domesticated and even before its wild cousin that it was domesticated from evolved and even before birds themselves evolved from dinosaurs).
If no one and nothing in your life teaches you to value education, or gives or shoves you into new experiences, or offers you an opportunity that widens/deepens your experiences and knowledge, what makes you seek those things? If someone isn’t naturally ambitious or competitive or a perfectionist or (whatever trait you can think of), what pushes them to go above and beyond? And when people *are* those things but are trapped in a cycle of poverty, bad luck, poor decision-making skills, magical thinking, marginal health, etc…what breaks that cycle and gets them out? Eventually, even the hardest worker, smartest person, etc. (and let’s face it, most of us on this planet are fair to middling in every way) is going to get tired, is going to breakdown, is going to give up.
If we can’t have compassion for the people that fall down and can’t get up or don’t know how to get up or get knocked back down every time they get up, then what kind of people are we? Look, compassion doesn’t have to mean rolling over and getting stepped on–sometimes compassion means saying “no”, offering honest criticism (but it should be remembered that criticism is just complaining unless its constructive and compassionate), or even kicking them out (of your home, your life, etc.). But it defiantly doesn’t mean to kick people when they are down because they are down and you aren’t.
On an individual level, do what you can do, when you can do it, for those that are in need—but never, ever feel guilty for cutting off a person in your life that is taking advantage of your good nature. And if you aren’t doing what you can do, when you can do it, for those that cannot (something different than will not)…well, you’re an a**hole.
But (and here comes the rant from the crap I see posted) on an institutional level, just shut up. You sound like an idiot. Seriously. I seriously doubt you’ve invested the time, effort, energy, and (occasionally) expense to do extensive, (relatively) unbiased, peer-reviewed, legitimately sourced data to form an educated and nuanced opinion on most subjects that you have an opinion on, when it comes to the allocation of government resources. Most people that are forced to use them are not your anecdotal story. Most people are not that obnoxious and probably falsified Facebook meme posted by that guy you went to high school with. Lets face it…if you bothered to invest the time, effort, energy, and (occasionally) expense to do extensive, (relatively) unbiased, peer-reviewed, legitimately sourced research in order to form an educated and nuanced opinion, your opinion sound so much less like the talking points of a Faux News broadcast.
And the real irony of all this is that the most critical (and ignorantly so) people are usually the ones that have benefited from those institutions the most (and refused to admit it).
What’s new in my bioregion: American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)
On Mothers’s Day, I saw a new (to me) bird for our local bird list!
The American White Ibis is a white wading bird with black wing tips, a red curved bill, and red legs, commonly found along the southern coasts of the US from NC to Texas (as well as the rest of the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, and some areas of Central and South America). While it generally forages for crayfish and other prey along the shores of the salt marshes, it can often be found hunting insects on the lawn (which is where we spotted our feathered friend).
Methylmercury (a neurotoxin and endocrine disruptor) pollution from human population centers, particularly in the Everglades, have led to irregularities in courtship behaviors, breeding success, and chick-raising. The population over-all is considered of “least concern” according to the ICUN Red List, though state listings vary (in FL, it is a Species of Special Concern). Historically, the bird was hunted as a food source by Native Americans and for the Victorian era feather trade (for ladies’ hats).
Magically, the ibis corresponds with a number of things (mostly through Egyptian mythology)–the crescent moon, intelligence, writing, magic, Thoth, the Archangel Gabriel, wisdom, and creativity. And check out this little snippet from a 1902 book on animal and plant correspondences, aptly titled, Animal and Plant Correspondences (by Abraham Lincoln Kip)…
What’s growing on my patio: A lemon tree!!! A lime tree!!! A pot full of peppermint, some mystery seedlings, two pathetic rosemary plants, a giant aloe, a dwarf yaupon holly, and a couple of empty pots awaiting their new residents (I have a couple of patio tomatoes and a TEA TREE (Camellia sinensis) on order, and I’m back ordered for a stevia plant). I’ve got a short list for ordering a few more plants over the next few paydays and I’m also going to try my hand at growing a pecan seedling and a sassafras seedling in a pot. We’ll see how that one goes…
A Prayer for the Yard
Guardians of rocks and trees,
of grass and garden,
of wild places and tame,
of outbuildings and outside:
we as that you be benevolent to us,
to those who tend your realm,
and we will be benevolent to you.
The wild on the edge of the tame,
be pleased with our offerings,
so that we might hold a bit of your wildness
within our hearts, bodies, and minds.
(slightly rearranged from A Book of Pagan Prayer by Ceisiwr Serith)
…and now its time for bed.