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Frozen moments
My husband and I were driving through northern Wisconsin this past week when we spotted an albino doe. We stopped to watch it and talked about the other times we’d seen albino deer. We recalled the exact locations, Palmer and Sand Lake, and details. One time we actually saw two albino does walking together. Each appeared to be the mother of a normal colored fawn. Moments that bring up vivid images and details from the past are what some have titled “frozen moments.” Those moments can be based on a tragedy, great joy, something humorous, or another emotion. They can…
Unexpected Mothers
Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day, but mothers can take unexpected forms, proven by these incredible examples of surrogates across species. Earning first prize in my interspecies mother-of-the-year photo contest is a medium-sized dog with seven baby opossums clinging onto her back. After the mother opossum was killed, the dog owner bottle-fed the orphans. The dog became interested and allowed them to ride on her back while she walked around. Tied for second place are photos of a French bulldog who adopted wild boar piglets, and a cat nursing orphaned squirrels. A winning Youtube shows a patient springer spaniel sheepdog whose…
Mother Earth Observes
My eyes water. My throat feels scratchy. My lungs burn. People say I’m doomed; that I, Mother Earth, will never recover. I worry that they could be right. The wind stirs my grasses. I watch. A family heads out for a day at the park. I see how they’re enjoying spending time with me. Their moods improve, they breathe easier, and they smile more. Perhaps they value me. I feel a shred of hope. Grandchildren and grandparents head to a lake, choose rocks, and skip stones. They in-vestigate a beaver dam. The children enjoy damming up a stream of their…
Daughter Turns Forty
  My first-born child turned forty this spring. Was it truly 40 years ago that I sat in a stream of March sunlight in the living room awaiting her birth? The thrill of holding my daughter for the first time must be timeless since I still recall studying her fuzzy reddish-blonde hair, her full lips so much like her daddy’s, her baby smell, her soft skin, and yes, her insistent cries. I also recall breaking down and sobbing when the nurse told me I wouldn’t be able to take her home for three days. She was jaundiced and back in…
Goodbye Long Winter: Hello Spring
When Derrick Mayoleth, blogger extraordinaire for Devil’s Lake State Park, reported that the great blue herons had returned, I knew spring had truly arrived. These amazing birds nest in a rookery close to the group camp parking lot on the south shore. It’s an ideal place to view them. My husband and I have met our daughter and two young grandsons at this parking lot several times in the past few years. We’ve been entertained each time. Watching these huge birds land on the tiniest of branches is like watching a Cirque de Soleil performance. And the sounds! Herons croak,…
Ireland: Bog Bodies to Pookas
When my daughters were college age, I arranged for the three of us to go on a trip together. We discussed where to go and chose a tour of Ireland which included seeing the beautiful landscape, visiting local pubs, learning about various Irish figures such as St. Patrick, and sampling their native beer, Guinness. Our bus driver navigated the narrow, curvy roads and we toured Dublin, castles, and kissed the blarney stone. At an outdoor pub, a young girl with dyed red hair and dressed in a cowboy outfit approached us asking for money. For this naive Midwestern senior, this…
Josie the Cockapoo Heads to the Ocean
The suitcases are coming out! Mom Amy packed my doggy life vest and Dad Frank packed the kayak. That means that we’re going back to that place where Leftie the alligator lives. I can’t wait to see if she’s sunning in her usual spot. Best of all, I’ll get to retrieve sticks in the waves again! It’s been a long winter of being stuck inside because of the cold and the insanely deep snow. One time I leaped off the shoveled sidewalk to chase a squirrel and was buried alive! I’m so eager for warmth and the ocean that I’m…
Go ahead, Crawl Under a Table
My husband and I took our grandsons to the Shrine circus in Madison this past February. Benjamin, three years old, fell asleep on the way there. We had just gotten inside the huge coliseum when a 6-foot creature with fuzzy orange hair, a chalk-white face, big red nose, and floppy shoes strode toward him. Arm outstretched, the clown boomed, “Welcome to the circus.” Benjamin shrank back. We led him and his older brother Glen through the door. The show had started, and the auditorium was dark. After letting our eyes adjust, we searched for four seats. Spiderman, one of Benjamin’s…
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