No one I know is aware of Minnie’s background but I met this particular Tabby not that long ago when the kitty was homeless. Homelessness is not only a human affair, pets share these realities with their owners and perhaps it is easier to discuss this problem using a kitty as the subject rather than a person.
When I first became acquainted with Minnie, she was officially Skinny Minnie having been out on her own for who know’s how long but she hadn’t eaten properly for some time by the looks of her. A little girl who lived in the community let me know of the kitties plight. Little girls are often kitty sensitive but this kitty would not eat the food she left out. Minnie was not a Moocher, she was definitely a Hep Cat so it was not until I made friend with her that she would come and dine on the kibble I brought her. She was also very fond of Cab Calloway tunes which we found we both had in common and we became fast friends.
After that it whenever I went out Minnie tagged along, she was outdoorsy and rather proud, the question was would she adapt to being inside or would she freak out and run away. I carefully brought her inside, prepared to be ripped to shreds. Fortunately for all parties she did agree to indoor life and a lovely widow adopted her and the two of them are very cosy and happy today.
Homelessness, inflation and despair is now the norm in western cultures. For many years now housing insecurity and ever growing numbers of people being left homeless for no fault of their own and with no end in sight is adding to the ever increasing stress in our communities. The homelessness crisis is largely ignored by governments and the media but we all know it is very real and it affects all of us daily. It is important not to add to the despair by being unnecessarily cruel to those who are truly vulnerable and instead put energies into working together with others to fix the systematic and legislative ills that are creating these hardships for all of us.
Thousands of years ago ancient people’s looked up to the stars and created some fairly interesting myths and stories to accompany the celestial sight. Overtime individuals known as astrologers mapped the heavens about and divided them into twelve equal sections. Further they insisted that the position of the stars when a person was born would determine the personality of that individual and this idea caught in a big way and started trending, and despite its lack of scientific basis, most modern people around these parts, believers or not do know what their astrological sign is.
Sechelt Artist Charlie Craigan is creating the zodiac in his traditional pacific west coast native style. He has chosen to start the introduction of this series with the tenth and his own star sign, Scorpio. The only requirement for being a Scorpio is being born between October 23 and November 21. And if you were blessed with this star sign you allegedly have a forceful personality with a bit of a stinger, but are also brave, loyal and honest.
Whether you are a believer or just like the zodiac for fun Charlie Craigan’s Scorpio Design is available for purchase at his T-spring Store.
“We don’t have to go to wild places to find wildlife. A surprisingly wide range of species can be found in our cities and towns, from familiar animals like the raccoon to more exotic ones like the mountain lion.“
Roger Tory Peterson
It was the crows that drew my attention to a little Raccoon in a tree that sits between a drug store and a parking lot. The crows were squawking loudly so it couldn’t get to sleep and I stood beneath the tree and just as rudely started taking pictures. I had only taken a couple shots when another Raccoon unexpectedly arrived upon the scene. This intrusion was too much for the now cranky original Raccoon to tolerate and the fur began to fly. Unfortunately I was not present at the end of this event as they ran off in a flash with the violated in pursuit of the offender. Friends of mine witnessed the pair on the next block running fast but they also are not aware of the conclusion. Who knows perhaps they are running still but it I do know it is highly unlikely that I will stumble across a raccoon fight again especially with my camera ready to shoot.
One delightful little bird is the subject for many of my photographs, the tiny Anna’s hummingbird. I come across them frequently which is likely for two reasons: the first being they are native to this region and do not migrate and the second is that I grow climbing beans and they cannot resist. Growing these is easy, just a few seeds in a pot of soil will ensure you get hummingbirds for the full blooming season. Some people favour the male with his impressive red crown and would turn their nose up at this lady. However i think that the little female is beautiful and never miss an opportunity to capture that with my camera and share her beauty with the world.
Itching for a fight,
Until it gets too real,
Then he opts for flight.
This little animation was inspired in part by an encounter I had with a young grouse chick who was attempting to intimidate me with his incredible moves. Rather than flee in terror I watched the display and was impressed with this brave little chick. But also when Paul Clifford sent me his musical number Woke Dreams that my imagination was inspired and soon after this little Grouse and his moves became a video. Why? Simply for my own amusement I guess, there is no deep thought or meaning in this number, nor does it reflect actual Grouse reality or culture in anyway but is meant as a portrayal of human culture. Be aware that I did create it with a younger audience in mind, with the intent of bringing a smile to a child’s face so maybe this video is not so shallow or meaningless after all.
Several species of Grouse are common in Coastal Salish territories, they are numerous and are a food source for both people and other wildlife. Personally I love to hear the sound of their drumming coming from the edges of the forest, it is both a magical and haunting sound from a beautiful and brave little bird.
Like what you hear, Woke Dream the music from this video along with other amazing audio loops created by Paul Clifford’s Jawshop Adventure Recording Studios will soon be available at our coming soon new loop shop SpiceRack.
Little Owl sitting unseen in the shadows,
Watching the toing and froing,
Of those coming and going.
One feels them watching you when you are out and about, then you look and see those beautiful big eyes, their eyes speak volumes and can’t be kept quiet. That is how I managed to get these few shots of this little Barred Owl (Strix varia), I felt his presence first. He was trying to remain discrete less they attract the wrong kind of attention. For despite how lovely these quiet little creatures appear to us, they are in fact predators and in nature it is uncommon for species to get along.
I have seen everything from Robins to Raven’s prevent these little fellows from getting a well needed days rest. But the truth is because they are night creatures, so these shots are pretty precious. and I had to open up the exposure to be able to see the little guy. I have heard them more than seen them, but even unseen their hoots are magical and I have been blessed on many night by their songs and medicine.
Blessed are the Owls,
and all little things,
the scaled, feathered or furry,
those that fly, swim or scurry.
‘The raven once in snowy plumes was drest, White as the whitest dove’s unsullied breast, Fair as the guardian of the Capitol, Soft as the swan; a large and lovely fowl His tongue, his prating tongue had changed him quite To sooty blackness from the purest white.‘
People hold a long of different opinions about the Raven but whether you love or loathe this beautiful and intelligent creature may depend on your livelihood. Bards, poets and artists have long revered the Raven, it is often our muse, our master and our inspiration; whereas farmers have a far more dimmer view than we do and that is somewhat understandable. It did not escape my notice when once photographing a Raven that it was happily consuming a Rhode Island Red that it had acquired from a nearby newly established free range egg farm. They tell me that business is cut throat and predatory by nature and this fact also includes nature, or did in this case because the Raven’s got the spoils from that venture for sure.
‘It suits my own attitude toward the world and its people to believe that the Raven is this completely self-centered, uninvolved bringer of change, through inadvertence and accident, and so on… It’s a version of the Raven myth for today, not for the time when it was created.’
Charlie Craigan’s Raven painting, in traditional Salish Native style, is a trickster, playful and clever spiritual guide and his intimate relationship with humans is illustrated by the figure in Raven’s wing. Culturally, historically and presently the Raven has and will continue to be an important creature and symbol to people of all cultures globally. Like with this design they are commonly seen as spiritual messengers and protectors, and stories of Ravens and their relationship with people are as normal and natural as life itself it seems. It is easy to see why they are admired by us as we observe their beautiful blackness, unique intelligence, romantic natures, amazing flight capabilities as well as the incredible courage and daring they demonstrate.
‘In the battlefield men grapple each other and die; The horses of the vanquished utter lamentable cries to heaven, While ravens and kites peck at human entrails, Carry them up in their flight, and hang them on the branches of dead trees.‘
They are associated with violence and death, of ill omen and fate and a flock of Raven’s is called a unkindness in the English language. Juvenile flocks of Ravens are very common and like most gangs of youth they can and do create havoc at times so this negative association may have some foundation. Ravens, like the Eagles and other creatures, survive by consuming carrion be it dead salmon by the spawning stream or dead warriors on the edge of a battlefield and it is this reality that unsettles us so much but is not evidence of Raven’s being evil in either scenario.
‘He that visits the sick in hopes of a legacy, but is never so friendly in all other cases, I look upon him as being no better than a raven that watches a weak sheep only to peck out its eyes.’
Seneca the Younger
It is however it is something found in the eye of the beholder, more than that of the creature itself that is behind their meanings and the stories. Or behind the human culture itself because it is unfortunate that many see the misery, war, illness and even death of other people as an opportunity to profit and nothing more. Those carrion consumers illustrate the darker and unpleasant side of the human reality that we are often discouraged to explore or if we do is often snubbed or ignored for lighter fair.For the truth is Raven, or what cultures and artists project onto them is reflective of who we are as individuals, communities and societies than it has anything to do with them. Ravens, you see, are competent and content doing their Raven thing and would be fine without our presences, but we are obsessed with them which is why they are always at the top of our favourite muses and subjects to explore. And how we respect or abuse them is a fairly accurate measure for how we treat the rest of the world as well.
‘I have created the Raven in my own image over the years and insist that mine is the version of this personality that is correct – well, at least it is correct as far as I am concerned.’
This version of Raven is one of Charles Craigan’s first paintings. Raven has a human figure in the wing signifying the spiritual connection between human, the inner child, the need to keep an open mind and a Raven that is universal and significant to many cultures. Charles’ Raven is a positive figure and this is meant to be worn or displayed in honour of that relationship by any or all people who also adore this beautiful creature.
Anyone who wishes to support Charles J Craigan by purchasing some of his art his designs are available at T Spring, the images link to his store.
These pretty little berry picking Waxwings visit us annually and it is always wonderful to catch a glimpse and always brightens my day. This is why I am sharing this lovely creature with you all today, in the hopes that it also brings a little happiness to your day and a smile on your face.