Loud Noises

lawn mower

The lawn mower rattles disconcertingly as I push it into the tall grass of my back yard. A vague image crosses my mind of the mower blade coming loose and hurling treacherously into space like errant nunchucks, and I remind myself to check under the mower deck once the machine cools down and make sure everything is secure.

I’ve always enjoyed mowing. Perhaps it’s the smell of fresh-cut grass, or maybe the instant gratification of transforming a ragged landscape swath by swath into a uniform carpet, literally right beneath my feet. And while I am averse to loud noises, the engine’s sound actually buffers me from the aural intrusions of other human activity.

I can be in my own world as I follow the pattern of circling the perimeter of the yard and working in an ever-tightening spiral until there is no more uncut grass. My mind disengages yet remains alert, and in that alertness I catch a slight movement to my left. A western scrub jay is perched on a branch just beyond my property line.

scrub jay

Blue and white with a soft grey chest, scrub jays are among the prettier birds that frequent my back yard. Known for their intelligence and their raucous, grating call, scrub jays are a mixed bag as far as cohabiters go. That’s okay with me, though. I’m a mixed bag, too.

To the right of the jay and closer in, a black crow rests on my reed fence. I’m surprised I didn’t notice the crow right away; it’s only ten feet from where I’m standing, and looks the size of a well fed cat. Shiny black eyes stare at me. I stare back. Politely, of course.

Crows – just like the jays — are highly intelligent and highly raucous. They have excellent facial recognition skills, and long memories – so long that a memory can be passed down generationally such that offspring can also “recognize” a face and know if it’s friend or foe without ever having seen the face before. As I do not want to be perpetually blacklisted amongst the crow population, I try to maintain good relations with the local murder (the term for a flock of crows). Hopefully my friendly overtures have paid off. This colossal crow could probably cart me away if it were so inclined.


The scrub jay flits away as I approach, but the crow stands its ground. I take my first pass with the mower and look behind to see that the crow has dropped to the ground to survey my handiwork. Perhaps the mower and I have uncovered some tasty morsels in the lawn.

The crow stays close but keeps relocating, from the lawn to the wall that demarcates the eastern border of my property, then to perch in the tree by the back deck. It doesn’t dislodge until I am within ten feet of it.

It would appear that I was not meant to escape to my internal landscape today. I will allow my erudite feathered companion to share my mental space just as we share our physical space.

With my mowing completed, I push the machine into a shaded spot and move to the deck to rest beneath the now crow-deficient tree. So much for communing with the birds.

crow story

Maybe the crow wasn’t there to facilitate my “crow whisperer” aspirations. Maybe it was there to tell me to shut the damn mower off, so it could escape the intrusion of human activity just as I try to do. The thought hurts, but I can respect that. And I will try to comply as best I can.

I rise to head indoors, a bit deflated that my whole “I am one with the animals” fantasy has been trounced. A shadow crosses over the deck where I am standing and I turn just in time to see the crow, flying low straight over me as if to acknowledge my respect and say, “thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” I whisper. “You’re most certainly welcome.”


The Daily Post one-word prompt: Exposed

Posted in Animalia, daily prompt, humanity, nature, Photography, prose, spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

on the safe side?


fences, chains, barbed wire…
there to keep danger away
or hold it within?



The Daily Post weekly photo challenge: Danger!

Posted in 5-7-5, photo challenge, Photography, poetry, weekly photo challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Wordless Wednesday 5.3.17


Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

from a distance


without the remote
you can’t control me but you
still push my buttons

The Daily Post daily prompt: Control

Posted in 5-7-5, daily prompt, Photography, poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

and per se and


We’ve made it through the #AtoZChallenge, and hopefully you enjoyed it as much as I did. But wait! There’s that 27th letter of the alphabet: &.

The ampersand is a ligature of the letters “e” and “t,” for the Latin word “et,” meaning “and.” The word “and,” displayed as &, used to be considered the final letter of the English alphabet. Wikipedia has an entry that tells all about it. I won’t attempt to go into it, because I would only confuse myself, and probably you as well. Interesting reading, though, if you’ve ever wondered about ampersands and such

In the spirit of being thorough in completing the #AtoZChallenge, I herewith offer my post for the 27th and (at one time) final letter of the English alphabet:

& so it began
& from A we went to Z
& ended with &

Now that’s really & truly the end.

survivor-atoz [2017] v1

Posted in 5-7-5, creativity, humor | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

zip lines

z zebra

zebra dog on couch
zealously flaunting his stripes
zestful pretender

Z  Z is for zest, zeal, zebra and zip.

#AtoZChallenge: 26 posts in April, topics to proceed alphabetically. Theme optional. 

My theme: a three-line poem each day (5-7-5, haiku form) with the first letter of each line the same as the letter of the day.

Posted in 5-7-5, Animalia, Photography, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments


y youth

young naiveté
yields to curiosity
yet to be betrayed

Y Y is for youth.

#AtoZChallenge: 26 posts in April, topics to proceed alphabetically. Theme optional. 

My theme: a three-line poem each day (5-7-5, haiku form) with the first letter of each line the same as the letter of the day.

Posted in 5-7-5, humanity, Photography, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments