Thursday, July 31, 2008

Smokey Passed On(the death of our house cat)

Our cat, a grey Himalayan named smokey passed away in the wee hours of the night last night. He was a good cat, probably the mellowest, most passive cat in the world. He put up with rowdy toddlers and cranky adults with equal aplomb. My wife, Ginny couldn't sleep and went down and laid on the sofa with Smokey about midnight. About one she came and got me. She said that he kind of coughed about once and went limp. Ginny took him to Dove-Lewis Pet emergency, while I stayed home with our sleeping four year old son. Although his heart was still beating when I put him in the car, I could tell he was probably done. We think his heart was the issue. I've had a lot of pets throughout my life. I'm used to them dieing by now. Still, I will miss him. He was a sweet, if sometimes cat-loony little guy. Now we get to explain to a four year old about pets and death and how it's all o.k., even though he won't think so now. I'm one of those who hope that after we pass we'll meet up with not only human loved ones, but animal loved ones as well. So, Goodbye for now Smokey, and see you on the other side.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The company I keep

I work along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers around Portland, Oregon.
So, the other day I was down at one of the local marinas washing a boat. As I was leaving, the Great Blue Heron that had been hanging around close by all day let me get within about ten feet to take a couple of photos

I was reminded of a quote attributed to the famous burlesque queen Gipsy Rose Lee (back in the 1930's or 40s) - "You will always be known by the company you keep". I sometimes keep company with Great Blue Herons.

Great Blue Herons are smarter than geese. They have to be, they don't reproduce in as great of numbers. In the spring, down on the river, one will often see whole strings of very vulnerable baby geese swimming along in a line behind the parents(much like a river predator's buffet line) There are big fish, ospreys and the occasional eagle around. Many baby geese disappear before they get big enough to fend for themselves. Conversely, I have never seen any baby herons. I know there are some because there are always herons around the river - but you never see the young. They're not out & about being exposed to whatever dangers beset baby geese. That's why I think Heron's are smarter than geese.

More later,

John Ross