Thoughts On A Memo of Understanding


My Note: the MOU was put in place prior to the Greenway formation and with a complete disregard to complete scoping of the N. RMP which would have included total removal to Lewiston and a genuine ecological restoration. This fact explains the panic and determination to ensure that Wild Ones Niagara (my study and chapter) were ignored and ultimately involuntarily shut down. Your city lost out of the Million Dollar Love Canal fund (money went to Joe Davis in Lewiston for the pond) and you lost a graduate college of land planning, plus you lost out on the economic, cultural and social benefits of a genuine non motorized greenway and a genuine Ecological restoration of the gorge rim. They deliberately with held that information from you.

I laughed out loud after reading about Angela Berti’s appointment to the city’s Tourism Board, a NYS Park’s employee.



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Winter’s Night

20 Jan 15
A capricious deity has scattered sequins across the backyard. In the flashlight’s beam the frosted grass glitters, adorned with broken star glass, snow melt drops caught in a transition to ground water. The dogs’ eyes are two alien amber lights that appear and disappear in the spotlight, a ray cast into the shrubs, over the trees, around the field’s edge and neighbor’s yard. Overhead Mars glows red and the Big Dipper sprawls across the sky.

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Two Warnings


17 Jan 15
Elvis’s short, low-pitched woof from the back of the couch rewarded a glimpse of the fox. A phantom, it moved across the yard in the single digit air, this cold morning’s nautical twilight. It trotted along the field edge of the side yard, angled across into the trail cam’s field vision, leapt onto a broke-back wagon, and melded into the brambles. Twenty minutes later a sailor’s warning painted the tattered clouds cameo pink.

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Requiem for a Cardinal


9 Jan 14
A bird struck the sitting room window and dropped straight down. It lay on its side, orange beak pressed into the snow. Her body, a pale Cardinal red, vibrated as if the sound of the crash reverberated along nerve endings. Her tail feathers fanned, moved slightly. Her legs slowly uncurled from her breast, stretched, extended. Her pale claws unfurled. Her fanned tail folded closed. The winter wind tousled the crest on her head.

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Owl Wisdom


8 Jan 14
Lesson 5 – A Course in Miracles
The blue jays gathered in the witch hazel branches, their voices raucous, incessant. Additional jays flew in from nearby yards, each adding to the message. They squawked and fluttered in short agitated circles. All focused on something low in a large blue spruce. Suspecting the neighbor’s cat, the dog and I went out to shoo it away.

A small brown bird rose from the frozen grass at the tree’s drip line and flew into a different spruce. A hawk, I assumed, until the jays chased it to squawk and dive at the branch the bird perched on. The diminutive eastern screech owl watched me approach and stand below, it’s gaze, cat-slitted and yellow, met mine. Wind ruffled its feathers.

The old stories say when an owl enters your life, it’s a visit from the spirit world. As a totem spirit animal, the belief centers on an upcoming change in your life. Even today’s mail contained an owl, a snowy owl on the front of an art supply catalog.

Part of me dreads change or the possibility of an imminent death, another myth associated with Native American owl lore I discovered as a tween from the book, Mrs. Mike, by Benedict Freedman.

Despite four lessons prior to and this one in The Course in Miracles, I’m not prepared for change or loss. The mantra “I am never upset for the reason I think” is to gain peace of mind over troubling thoughts. It’s training the belief that every worrisome thought, emotion or issue is equal in intensity since they all create distance from abundance and a tranquil mind.

Like the blue jays yammering at and tormenting the owl until it left to find freedom from disturbance, I need to release the idea that a change is equal to a death, and recognize that a different place can be as simple as a change in my inner voice.

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9 Jan 14
Wind howls from the west. The powder-fine snow that fell over night rises like a spectral conjured from the ground in swirls of white that undulate. Snow lifts from the bare branches, ghosts, and disappears into the field.

Cardinals, dark-eyed juncos and sparrows cling to the tips of the Spicebush. A blue jay bobs from the cottonwood tree, and calls more birds to the feeder. A hawk swooped in, the sound of his wings audible through the window. His hunt a failure, he paused in the Sycamore tree, scattering the songbirds.

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Winter Moonlight


8 Jan 14
4:00 a.m. Moon shadows stretch across the side yard from the waning gibbous moon, a bright ninety percent illumination. The missing ten percent a glow reflected by snow dust. Tree branches, moon sketched dark, cast mirror images sprawled beneath their leafless canopies. Stars glitter in the clear seven degree air. The wind advisory ceased, suspended, frozen into silence. Nothing perceptible moves–the moon’s arc across the night invisible.

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