An Ungraceful Visitor

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is GRACEFUL

Which immediately makes me think of SWANS. Don’t they always look so graceful when they’re floating serenely in a stream?

Swans my webst

Other birds just don’t have the knack.
Duck down. Alexas Fotos

🙂

Which calls to mind an rather ungraceful visitor we had one morning some years ago.

Great horned owl.Pexels
Image: Pexels — Pixabay

On the wing, a great-horned owl can be a very graceful bird. I’ve read that the owl has a feather construction and placement that allows the predator to fly without a whisper of sound, swooping down with no warning on its prey.

Its efforts on the ground are another matter, rather ungainly, as we were to learn one day.

We’ve often heard a great-horned owl in the woods beside our yard and in the evenings we’d see one flying over the pasture behind our acreage. We’ve heard them and have seen le Grand Duc, (Grand Duke) as the French call it, many times in the tallest bare trees, surveying their domain or looking for some unsuspecting morsel of lunch. One evening we saw two owls in the treetops hooting back and forth to each other, discussing prospects.

One September we could hear a screech or squawk and decided that this noise was coming from a young owl. Then we went away on a five-day trip to visit friends in mid-September, and early on the first morning at home I let our long-haired black cat, Panda, go outside. A few minutes later I was hearing this funny loud peeping or squawk outside, so I glanced out the window and beheld a fascinating sight.

A great-horned owl chick was sitting in our driveway near the car shelter, staring toward the house with its big golden eyes and letting out a screechy sort of peep about once a minute. Fluffy and cute with its pointy “ear tufts,” this young owl looked almost white to me. Our huge black Panda, about the same size and shape, sat silently on our deck eyeing the owl with her big golden eyes.

Were they curious about this odd specimen in front of them? The way it was peeping, you could almost think the chick was lonely and thought Panda might be another owl for company. Or were they sizing each other up, wondering who should eat who? Perplexed as to what should be done about this strange white cat – or black bird, depending on whose viewpoint you took?

I decided not to take any chances, so I let Panda in and the owl soon got bored sitting there. It proceeded to make its way down the driveway and back again, snapping up grasshoppers as it went. Its “running” was quite amusing and anything but graceful — a kind of waddle-and-hop from side to side as well as forward.

For a couple of hours the owl chick stayed around our yard, entertaining us and eliminating some of the many grasshoppers we had that year. It did the rounds of our garden and lawn, flying up to roost on the clothesline post in between. We never did see it fly away, nor see it again. My husband guessed the chick had made itself to home in our yard while we were away; it must have decided not to come back when people were around.

Freestyle

Good morning everyone! The sun is shining bright, the temp was -20 C first thing this morning and it did indeed feel cold! However, it’s expected to rise to -6 C by this afternoon, which means spring-like snow-melting in the sunshine. 🙂

Our Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is FREESTYLE.

Not a word I’m very acquainted with, though I have heard of freestyle skating. According to Merriam Webster, FREESTYLE is used in connection with some sports competition where more than usual liberty of movement is allowed at such events.

When I Google “freestyle verse” I see that this indicates some types of music (rap?) and I wonder if “freestyle verse” isn’t also used to describe the flowing, un-rhymed type of poetry so common now?

Oxford English Dictionary claims it can be used as a verb, too, meaning:
To dance, perform, or compete in an improvised or unrestricted fashion.

My Word of the day, which I’ve just posted over at Word Buds, is VICARIOUS. I can say that I derive a vicarious thrill out of watching young and energetic sorts participating in active sports, but I am happy to cheer from the sidelines. Today I shall expend my energy sitting at the sewing machine, piecing together a blanket top. I’ll see how fast and how well I can do it — with no freestyle inserting of odd patches here and there. 🙂

Be The Best of Whatever You Are

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is RESILIENCE

From Goodreads I’ve borrowed this inspiring quote by Daniel Radcliffe:

“A hero is also someone who, in their day to day interactions with the world, despite all the pain, uncertainty and doubt that can plague us, is resiliently and unashamedly themselves. If you can wake up every day and be emotionally open and honest regardless of what you get back from the world then you can be the hero of your own story.”

And seconding the thought with this poem from long ago:

Be the Best of Whatever You Are
by Douglas Malloch

If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley–but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.

If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway some happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass–
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,
There’s something for all of us here.
There’s big work to do and there’s lesser to do,
And the task we must do is the near.

If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail–
Be the best of whatever you are!

A Proper Moustache Takes Time

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is MOUSTACHE, or MUSTACHE (American spelling.)
“Guys are lucky because they get to grow mustaches. I wish I could.
It’s like having a little pet for your face.”

Anita Wise

Moustache.OCArt
OpenClipArt — Pixabay

Goodreads supplies me with this neat little quote about Hercule Poirot:

“Shall I say that he interested me because he was trying to grow a mustache and as yet the result is poor.” Poirot stroked his own magnificent mustache tenderly. “It is an art,” he murmured, “the growing of the mustache! I have sympathy for all who attempt it.”

From Surprise! Surprise!
by Agatha Christie

Reality of the Thing

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is PERCEPTION

soap-bubble-824565_640I have to think of a balloon, before and after. Or what appears to be a little “planet orbiting in space” and the spot of soap left behind when it hits another object.

One day here in the office I witnessed a very small but rather amusing incident involving my cat, Pookie. My husband had been going through old papers and I ran a large stack through our shredder, filling a black garbage bag full and tying it off, ready for recycling.

Awhile later Pookie was in the office, eyeing that large bag against the wall. Did he see something on the bag that seemed to be moving, or did he simply want to attack that black monster? A moment later he pounced, claws digging into the plastic.

As you know, a garbage bag of shredded paper is mostly air, right? Between the punctures, and his own weight, there he was, hanging onto the bag that was slowly deflating under him. He looked quite bemused for a moment. But the monster, once subdued, didn’t hold his interest for long.

How many fearful “monsters” don’t we perceive lurking in our pathway, yet they end up deflating like Pookie’s bag when we actually tackle them?

Freedom of Speech

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is ANNOYING, and this will be my response:

Dealing With Those Annoying Hecklers:

Man giving speech
“Before we open this discussion, I’d like to remind you that our committee firmly believes in freedom of speech. Everyone who shares our enlightened perspective on this topic will have a chance to express themselves freely. If anyone here doesn’t see the issues the way we do, transportation will be provided to a comfortable gulag in Siberia where dissenters shall be totally free to express their viewpoints.”