Saturday, January 12, 2008

Billboard beatitude.../..."Sbrek"

Waiting at a red light here in Tucson, the other day,
I used my cell-phone to take a picture.
There will be no commentary on the subject thereof.
This is pure, objective, cell-phone-photo-journalism.
I supply 'just the facts;'
I submit to you then, this contemporary billboard setting of a beatitude:


(If you have a hard time seeing it, here's a description:
Against a backdrop of a U.S. flag, there is a huddled prayer-group of soldiers...
Underneath "God Bless our Troops," Matthew 5.9 is cited: Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
And then, if you look carefully at the bottom right hand
corner of the billboard,
you'll see that it's sponsored by an organization named, no joke,
"Junque for Jesus.")
=======================================================

Say the word 'breakfast' outloud.
Now say it five times fast:
breakfastbreakfastbreakfastbreakfastbreakfast

Can you hear how the predominant sound,
(since the 't' at the end of breakfasT gets dropped,)
is, approximately, 'sbrek?'

Well, that is what our little bird hears, at least.
So--although Paquito doesn't 'sing for his supper,'
he can now, kind of, 'speak for his breakfast'...


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

MMVIII...animals...colors...in memoriam...

Two-thousand-seven in Tucson ended, for us, with the visit of an out-of-town relative.

So, yesterday, we took this dear dear guest out to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the de rigueur thing-to-do when visitors come to Tucson...

My wife and I have been to the museum/zoo/botanical garden several times, but we'd never taken the turn to see the mountain lion exhibit...so, yesterday, almost by happenstance we made a right turn, and there, through a window:
To be so close to a puma, to watch the bristling fur while it breathes during its big-cat-nap...Wow...

And then--for just a moment, the mountain lion lifted its head and stared straight at me:

There is definitely a place for thick glass-walls...(San Francisco zoo? recent news headlines? oy...)What goes through a mountain lion's head when they see us? Nothing very disturbing, evidently; immediately after this eye-to-eye encounter that made my day, the big cat just went back to basking, eyes-closed, on its sunny perch...

Sun-in-winter...truly therapeutic. Yes, this is a recurring theme in this blog, I know, I know...the repetition of light...but, really, the colors are brilliant, and the light does wonders for a winter-soul.

We took our out-of-towner to Sabino Canyon, and the cottonwoods and sycamores are at their autumnal best in late December:


Snow on the peaks, 'fall'-color in the canyons...Our first winter in Tucson has been just brilliant.

But nights are cold.

Our out-of-towner's cautious advice, last week, was to pick all the citrus from our two trees, so that the freeze that was forecast for that night wouldn't ruin the fruit...So, pick we did, and we ended up with eighty oranges, with a few lemons thrown in, and some grapefruit from the 'public access' tree around the corner...lots of juice, lots given away to friends... Yeah, so I couldn't resist taking a picture of Paquito our parrotlet in front of some of our citrus bounty. Come on, you gotta admit, he's just so cute...He finally spoke in the presence of our out-of-towner, who was thrilled to hear the squeaking "hey birdie!" and "salut, ├ža va?" in the mornings...

...I had to fish out this picture of Paquito and Tango, our parrots who moved down from Seattle with us back in July; road-trip with birdies...they did so well for the five days in their car-carriers:(the car was parked...no worries...)

And this brings me to the sad news I feel obligated to post on this blog...

Fifteen months ago, my wife and I adopted Tango, the Senegal parrot...(click on this link and then scroll to the bottom to read about the first day that Tango came home with us...)

So much joy a little bird can add to a household! So, the past couple of weeks, what with repeated visits to the vet, we have been a bit preoccupied...

And then, a few nights ago, Tango died in our hands.

He was just too sick, evidently...may have been a congenital defect...He might have lived thirty years, but he died less than two years after hatching...

The breath of life is an amazing thing--it's all or nothing. To hold a feathered-creature (hope is a thing with feathers--didn't Dickinson write that?) as breath ceases in your palms...it is a humbling, fascinating, saddening, quiet thing...

Yes, yes, he was just a little bird, and we only had him for less than a year-and-a-half...But...But...

...we are so sad. He was truly a little companion with a personality and even a vocabulary...

We are learning animal-empathy, then...

Here is one of the last photos we took--just a few days ago, when we thought he might pull through, two nights before he died...

In memoriam,
then,
for
TANGO,
so little a creature,
(so many good things
in such a small feathered package)
who depended on us for food and shelter...
and who gave us back
so much happiness
in return
March 2006--December 2007
Seattle--Tucson