FOTD – Rose Garden🌹 & Reflections

“It’s the time that you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important…People have forgotten this truth, but you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” – Dale Carnegie

“True friendship is like a rose, we don’t realize its beauty until it fades.” – Anonymous

“Real beauty is in the fragility of your petals. A rose that never wilts isn’t a rose at all.” – Crystal Woods

“Just remember, during the winter, far beneath the bitter snow, that there’s a seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes a rose.” – Bette Midler

“The rose is fairest when it is budding new, and hope is brightest when it dawns from fears.” – Sir Walter Scott

“A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring.” – William Carlos Williams

“If the rose puzzled its mind over the question how it grew, it would not have been the miracle that it is.” – J. B. Yeats

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” – Abraham Lincoln

https://ceenphotography.com/2021/07/16/fotd-july-17-blue-iris/

Cee’s Flower of the Day

Lost in the Blur

“To lose it all in the blur of the start! Seeing is deceiving. Dreaming is believing. It’s okay not to be okay…Sometimes it’s hard, to follow your heart.”

Jessie J
Krysten’s Happy Fridays

Hello there! Happy Friday! Summer is here! Stepping back into the WordPress community for a cool dip! Oh, my dear heart… I was spinning in the wheel of life and needed a moment here! ~A breather in my oasis~

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

What Have I Been Up To?

Striking the right balance amongst my various engagements has always been a challenge for me. I often wonder what has motivated me to do so much. Certainly, life is short.

I must say ‘NO’ more often so that I won’t burn out. My question as of late is, “What do I prune?” How do you all prioritize? Varies from individual to individual, I’m sure. These are my happy interests presently!

A2Z Bird Blogging Challenge

I’m still working on this bird challenge! I’m so PROUD that I got halfway through. Because of this extended A2Z challenge, I’ve been paying more attention to the birds who live in my area and feeling a greater sense of gratitude for their presence.

Masters Degree in IT Innovation and Management

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.”

Abigail Adams

I’ve been diligently working on my master’s program, and it’s been a rather steep learning curve for me. There have been days where I just feel like I’ve been staring at a block of text for hours at a time and cross-checking with other references. On the one hand, I have been fighting analysis paralysis, and on the other, I have been learning about some fascinating things. One day I will experience the bittersweet taste of victory!

Udemy’s Blogging Masterclass

I’m also reinvesting in my blogging skills by taking a Udemy Masterclass: Blogging Masterclass: How To Build A Successful Blog In 2021. Thank you, Mr.A, for this fantastic gift! I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I truly love blogging, and look forward to learning and sharing with others.

Work Accomplishment

My technical writing duties have occupied my thoughts as I’m assisting the CEO create a presentation for INSA‘s National Security Showcase. I’m floored that one of our technologies got selected by their committee! I helped submit the write-up for the application. Only a dozen out of hundreds of applicants got chosen. I’m humbled. Yet, it’s the software developers that deserve the credit. I’m just helping them get a piece of the limelight! The next thing I know my supervisor is offering me a promotion.

Birthday Month

I had a lovely time at the caverns and took plenty of photos of these magnificent beauties. One of my friends fainted due shift in humidity levels being 150 feet below the earth and all. Very grateful for the EMT and staff! We enjoyed an authentic Italian meal afterwards. Siblings gave me a few helpful tools to better manage life. One of my friends gave me nun-chucks and a flying lesson!

Rotary

I recently got recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow for our local Rotary group. Deeply honored. I created a short, snazzy animated promo video for our club, and we won a district superhero challenge!

Toastmasters

Crafted, prepared, and delivered my 3nd speech about my father’s solar powered cowboy hat! 6 minutes of Nerves. Joy. Growth. Overcoming my fear of public speaking one speech at a time.

Crochet Group

Working on Tinna Thórudóttir Thorvaldsdóttir‘s Saga crochet pattern for a gorgeous pillow!

Beauty Consultant

I’ve studied hard and earned some educational bling! I’m now an advanced product consultant for skincare, color cosmetics, and clinical solutions. I’ve been engaging with my clients on social media and learning about fun applications. Exploring new fragrances through poetry with the help of a friend.

Books

Reading when I can… while waiting in lines…

  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • The Odyssey Chronicles by Carolyn Shelton
  • Winning the War in Your Mind by Craig Groeschel
  • Even as We Breathe by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle
  • Digital Leader: 5 Simple Keys to Success and Influence by Erik Qualman
Astrology & Horoscopes

Even though I read Yodha’s fun, inspiring messages as entertainment, I enjoy learning about it when I again have the chance. I have various mutable signs within my natal chart indicating flexible, adaptable, and changeable qualities (modalities) which allows me to see life from many different perspectives. I learned that I have a Mercury in Gemini, Lilith in Virgo, and North Node in Pisces. Mom has a ton of Sagittarius in her chart. Thinkers and philosophers in the zodiac!

Finding Clarity

“Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence. It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try.”

Atul Gawande

I’ve been doing more brain dumps and mind mapping exercises to keep moving forward and uncover more of my life’s purpose. As for my blog, I will continue to write about the birds, some new poems, and share new photos I took on my break!

Perhaps a spa day is in order. A massage with essential oils sounds nice!

Take care now & I’ll see you soon ❤

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Today’s Prompts

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Lark

Featured Photo by Dimitris Vetsikas

  • Physical Description: The horned lark is a small brown bird with a buff chest, a black mask, and a black patch surrounded by pale yellow on its throat. This bird has two small feather crests on either side of the top of its head, giving rise to its name. Larks are small to medium-sized birds, about 8 inches in length, with a wingspan of approximately 12.5 inches. They weigh about 1.5 ounces
  • Geographic Distribution: The horned lark is the only true lark native to North America. It is found from northern Canada and down to the southern United States and Mexico
  • Environment: This bird favors grassy, open plains.
Horned Lark Image Credit: Pinterest

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

Folklore tells us that the lark sings and flies as close to heaven as possible to demonstrate its joy at being alive, something we evoke when we say that someone is “as happy as a lark.” The collective noun for a group of larks is an “exultation,” a beautiful reminder of the joy associated with this bird.

Larks were once considered game birds, and were eaten as part of luxurious feasts. The cheery French-Canadian folksong “Alouette” is about plucking a lark, a fact that astonishes many people when the words are translated for them.

A “lark is a term for a playful romp or fun activity, often perceived as irresponsible in some way. The word lark is also used to describe a person who functions best when he rises early in the morning and goes to bed early.

The Colorado state bird is the prairie lark bunting, which is actually a member of the sparrow family. The meadowlark, the state bird of Kansas, is not a true lark either; it belongs to the Sturnella genus, which also includes some blackbirds.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

If you see a lark, it could be telling you to cast off the shackles of responsibility for a bit and go on a figurative lark. Play hooky; visit the zoo, the aquarium, or the museum. Get some ice cream, or treat yourself to a new book and a full-fat latte. Do something out of the ordinary, something you’ve always wanted to do but felt wasn’t dignified enough, or something you couldn’t possibly do because you were too grown up.

The lark can also be telling you to experience more joy in your life. Are you working so hard that you’ve forgotten how to have fun? Think of the image of the skylark, flying as high as it can while singing in sheer exultation. You can figuratively sing out to celebrate the things you love in your life. The lark may be reminding you that you do, in fact, have things to sing about.

Associated Energies: Joy, celebration, playfulness
Associated Season: Summer
Element Associations: Air
Color Association: Brown, beige

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

I know the author of this book said that her book wasn’t meant an exhaustive reference, but I realized the focus of her geographic distributions is limited to the North America region often. I know that there are larks all throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

There are so many different types of larks out there. I thought this Magpie looked like a skunk! 🙂

Magpie Lark Image by picman2 from Pixabay

Yes! I’ve been working very hard as of late. My face is breaking out as if I was a teenager again. However I’m planning a trip to the Natural Bridge Caverns with some friends for my birthday in a few weeks. It’s been a long while since I went spelunking in a cave. I’m also looking forward to a live Q&A session with the author of the book, The Midnight Library.

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

Christopher McCandless

I think of how fascinated I am by so many pictures and angles of sunsets and sunrises even though it’s just one sun. In “The Midnight Library”, there’s was a quote about fish that makes me think about how important it is for us to have fresh experiences.

“Fish get depressed when they have a lack of stimulation. A lack of everything. When they are just there, floating in a tank that resembles nothing at all.”

Haig, Matt. The Midnight Library (p. 83). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Maybe the sound of wood larks would help me mediate and relax a bit, before I take on my next assignment. 🙂

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Kingfisher

Image by Timo Schlüter from Pixabay

  • Physical Description: A small bird with a long pointed beak, the belted kingfisher has a slate-blue head with a crest, a slate-blue back, a white front, and a white collar around its neck. The female has additional rust-colored markings along her chest and sides and is more brightly colored than the male.
  • Geographic Distribution: Most kingfisher species are found in the Old World, but the belted kingfisher is found throughout North and Central America.
  • Environment: The belted kingfisher lives near bodies of water such as rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes.

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

In general, the kingfisher is seen as a symbol of protection and a good luck charm. Legend has it that the Old World kingfisher had more muted colors than the belted kingfisher of the Americas. Supposedly the belted kingfisher received its beautifully colored plumage when it was the first bird released from the Ark after the flood waters were confirmed to have receded, and therefore was the only bird to catch the final rays of the setting sun on its breast and the blue of the twilight sky on its back.

One family of the kingfisher suborder is named Halcyonidae, derived from the same root as our word “halcyon,” meaning idyllic, peaceful, or nostalgic. Greek mythology gives us the story of Alcyone, the daughter of Aeolus (king of the winds), who drowned herself in grief when she discovered that her husband had drowned.

Herbert James Draper – Alcyone searches for Ceyx

The gods rewarded her devotion by turning her into a kingfisher, and Aeolus forbade the winds to blow during the halcyon days (the seven days before and after the winter solstice) so that the kingfisher could lay its eggs. The fabled “halcyon bird” was said to build its nest on the water itself, something that could only be done during the halcyon days when the seas were calm.

In old Europe, carrying a kingfisher feather was thought to provide protection from misfortune. Hanging a dead kingfisher by a string was thought to serve as a wind indicator, as the bird’s beak was said to point in the direction from which the wind would come

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

Sighting a kingfisher is, in general, a lucky thing. Noting which way the kingfisher was facing may be valuable, as this may be the direction from which good news or an opportunity will come to you.

The kingfisher may bear the message for you to be the one who calms troubled waters, as the legendary halcyon bird was said to do. The halcyon is also said to have possessed the ability to calm winds – you may be the one with the power to clear up muddled communication that’s dogging a particular situation in your life.

The halcyon connection may also be a message to evoke some wonderful memories of your past in order to enrich the present.

Associated Energies: Precision, timing, good fortune, peace, calm
Associated Season: Summer
Element Associations: Air, Water
Color Association: Grey, blue, white, rust, green, red

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

Wow, I love this kingfisher’s hair do! It’s like a mohawk! 🙂 The featured photo also reminds me of a picture that a fellow blogger features, Christine Bolton at Poetry for Healing.

“…evoke some wonderful memories of your past in order to enrich the present.”

Last night, I was hooked on reading a book to the very end. It’s called the Midnight Library. It’s made me think of all my own experiences in my life that has led me where I’m at today.

“you may be the one with the power to clear up muddled communication that’s dogging a particular situation in your life…”

There’s some things I want to take initiative on soon amongst my friends and family!

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Juan Fernandez Firecrown

Featured Photo by Héctor Gutiérrez Guzmán 

  • Physical Description: The male is 11.5–12 cm long and weighs 10.9 g. Its color is mostly cinnamon orange, excepting dark grey wings, black bill, and iridescent gold crown. The female is 10 cm long and weighs 6.8 g. Its underparts are white with a dappling of very small green and black areas; the crown is iridescent blue, and upperparts are blue-green.
  • Geographic Distribution: Found today solely on Isla Robinson Crusoe, one of the three-island Juan Fernández archipelago belonging to Chile
  • Environment: Inhabits forests, thickets, and gardens
Female Juan Fernández Firecrown by Fabrice Schmitt

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

The English name “hummingbird” comes form the hum created by the rapid speed at which the bird’s wings flap. John James Audubon called hummingbirds “glittering fragments of rainbows,” and they have also been called flying jewels. The sheer beauty of the hummingbird is insprirational.

Urban legend tells of hummingbirds hitching migratory rides on the backs of larger birds such as geese, for it was believed that something so tiny could not possibly fly so far on its own.

A Mayan legend tells that the Creator, after making all the other birds, had a pile of small colorful scraps left over, and fashioned a tiny bird out of them. Being made of leftovers is hardly a handicap, however. The Aztecs honored the hummingbirds as a symbol of vitality and energy. The Aztec hummingbird god Huitzilopochitli was associated with war and the sun, and the Aztecs believed that warriors would be reincarnated as hummingbirds. Dead hummingbirds were carried as talismans for good fortune in war, or to enhance a warrior’s battle skill.

In Central America, the hummingbird is seen as a symbol of sexual energy and, by extension, a symbol of love and attraction. In the American Southwest, the hummingbird was associated with brining rain and much-needed water. The form of the hummingbird was sometimes used as a decoration on water jars, and the hummingbird is part of ceremonial rain dances in both the Hopi and Zuni tribes, symbolized by a dancer dressed as a hummingbird who dances to summon rain for the crops.

Trinidad and Tobago calls itself “the land of the hummingbird.” The hummingbird is featured on the country’s coat of arms and the penny; it is also the mascot of the Caribbean Airlines.

Juan Fernandez female Firecrown feeding. Photo by Kevin D. Mack

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

If you see a hummingbird, chances are good that the message is somehow connected with vitality. The hummingbird may be telling you to watch your energy and not squander it. Although a hummingbird has plenty of vitality, it is carefully apportioned for survival. The hummingbird does not have time or energy to play; it is focused on its basic needs.

What are your basic needs? Are you dividing your energy and attention among too many things, as enjoyable as they may be? Take stock of your commitments and your extracurricular activities, and prioritize them. Make sure to prioritize those things that encourage relaxation and renewal, as well as work- and family-related responsibilities.

In addition to warning you to watch how you spend your energy, the hummingbird reminds you to take joy in the simple things, to literally slow down and smell the flowers. Bury your nose in a branch of a flowering shrub, or walk among the paths of a public garden to refresh yourself. You need to feed your emotional and spiritual selves as well as your physical being. The hummingbird, with its love of bright, sweet things and its colorful, iridescent plumage, gently scolds you to nourish that side of yourself as well, and to embrace joy.

The frequency with which the hummingbird must eat also reminds you to take plenty of small breaks to restore and maintain your energy. Ignoring your basic needs is self-destructive in the long run.

The hummingbird’s message can be summed up as urging you to live life to the fullest within your means; don’t hold back. Give it your all, but remember to relax and sip the sweetness along the way. Make sure to balance all your commitments in order to best apportion your energy.

Associated energies: Joy, energy, energy management, sweetness, vitality
Associated seasons: Summer
Element association: Air
Color associations: Green, Red, White

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Juan Fernandez Firecrown Hummingbird Critically Endangered

Reflections

Poor endangered Firecrowns! It’s sad that native cats eat them and rats eat their eggs! If only falcons could be their friends if they weren’t birds of prey.

“Lack of time is actually lack of priorities”

Timothy Ferris

Today’s divinatory meanings have really been hitting home with me! What do I have to say no to in order to say yes to something else? Where have I been spreading out too thinly? I feel that this is one of my major vices and something I can improve upon. Perhaps I experience FOMO (fear of missing out) to a high degree. I think about the time I spend here on this blog and your time spent here with me. Thank you, I hope you are getting as much value as you can from my posts.

“Your life will be a blessed and balanced experience if you first honor your identity and priority.”

Russell M. Nelson

But perhaps, my priorities are often murky because I feel like my identity isn’t set in stone? Am I still exploring aspects of myself that I’m blind to and that are unknown to me? Is it hard for me to develop strong roots or depth in an area because I enjoy a variety of experiences?

Often I think of bloggers who make it their priority to post as often as they do. These bloggers sound like the real deal. How often do bloggers reevaluate their priorities? Spend more time with their families in person, work on things in their real world. Place your time where it’s important to you.

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Ibis

Image by ❤️A life without animals is not worth living❤️ from Pixabay

  • Physical Description: The ibis is a wading bird with a long narrow neck and head, and a downward-curving thick beak measuring an average of 26 inches long. The ibis shares visual similarities with the heron, but the ibis’s beak is curved, whereas the heron’s is straight. The white-faced ibis has dark feathers with a burgundy sheen and a white mask around the eye area. It measures roughly 20 inches long and weighs approximately a pound.
  • Geographic Distribution: The whit-faced ibis, the most common species in North America, is found in the central and western United States, down through Central America, and into the southern part of South America.
  • Environment: The ibis is found in coastal regions as well as swamps, marshes, and wetlands.
Image by Scottslm from Pixabay

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

Folklore says the ibis is the last bird to take shelter before a hurricane strikes, and the first to emerge once the danger has passed.

The ibis was a sacred bird in ancient Egypt. The ibis family name, Threskiornithidae, is Greek for “sacred bird.” The Egyptian god of knowledge and writing, Thoth, is portrayed as having the head of an ibis.

The American stork is sometimes called “wood ibis,” as settlers confused the New World herons and storks with the Old World ibis.

Image by mollyroselee from Pixabay

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

Because the ibis is connected to knowledge and writing, seeing this bird can mean that you need to address the process of learning in your life. Have you been struggling with your methods of learning? Try something different. If you’re usually an active learner who absorbs information through hands-on learning, try a visual-based learning style, or a verbal style.

Did you abandon your studies at some time? Perhaps it’s time to go back to school. If you cannot attend full-time, then perhaps take a course here or there to refresh your skills, or catch up on new information available in your career field.

Associated energies: Wisdom, knowledge, communication via writing, connection to the sacred
Associated seasons: Spring, Summer
Element association: Water, Air
Color associations: White, Black, Red

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Boy, does the divinatory meaning really speak to me! Perhaps, I need to switch gears and discover a new method of learning. I do enjoy the process of learning something new. Gandhi’s quote makes me think of all the libraries in the world, and how I would never be able to read all these books within my lifetime. I enjoy gleaning from other’s experiences and book reviews. Roy’s quote brings some dimension to the phrase, “you live and learn.” You gain experience, and learn from it. Repeat. Constantly entering a different place or phase in your life so long as you continue to try out new things.

“The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence; the past is a place of learning, not a place of living.”

Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Blessings of the Unknown

I was a peripheral visionary. I could see the future, but only way off to the side.

STEVEN WRIGHT

Thirst for exploration beckons
Sunset’s warm hues envelops
Mysterious road trip excites
Desirable excursion invites

Woven shimmer
Distraction awaits
Within my peripheral
Symbol of sheer transparency
Durable yet vulnerable

A golden organza bag
Lands beside my feet
Trembling anticipation
I untie the drawstring

Magnificent Jouissance
MJ’s Message on a card
Insurmountable challenges
Overcome
one step at a time

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Goldfinch

Featured Image by Michael Murphy

  • Physical Description: The goldfinch is a small, stubby bird measuring about 4.5 inches long, with a wingspan of approximately 8 inches and a weight of roughly .5 ounce. The bird’s plumage is mostly bright yellow, and it has a black blaze above the beak, black wing edges touched with white, and a white rump. The female is a duller color in the summer, but in the winter the male dulls whereas the female brightens slightly.
  • Geographic Distribution: The American goldfinch is found across southern Canada in the summer, in the northern United States year round, and in the southern United States and eastern Mexico in the winter. The European goldfinch is found across Europe, North Africa and western and central Asia. It has been introduced to other areas, including Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay.
  • Environment: The goldfinch’s preferred environments include meadows, fields, open woodland, and floodplains. This bird is very comfortable in cultivated and urban residential areas.
Photo from Pennington

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

The word carduelis in the European goldfinch’s name (Carduelis carduelis) means “thistle-eating,” and goldfinches love weeds such as thistles, particularly milkweed and other plants that produce flossy or fluffy seed heads. The goldfinch eats the seeds of these plants and uses the silky fluff of the plant to line and weave into its nest. The European goldfinch was sometimes called “thistle-finch:, and this bird is the distelfink seen in Pennsylvania Dutch folk art and lore. The distelfink represents happiness and good fortune to this community.

The gold color of this bird connects it with wealth. If the first bird a girl saw on Valentine’s Day was a goldfinch, she would marry a wealthy man. The goldfinch was also believed to be a symbol of protection against the plague in medieval times.

The American goldfinch, or eastern goldfinch, is the state bird of Iowa, New Jersey, and Washington. Goldfinches are sometimes casually referred to as ” wild canaries”.

The collective noun for a group of goldfinches is a “charm,” which is a lovely word suggesting the bird’s association with luck, health, joy and love.

Photo from Pennington

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

Yellow is a color of joy, cheer, and health. Seeing a goldfinch can be a boost to your general well-being. It may also be a sign to consciously introduce more joy into your life by engaging in what you love to do more than you are currently doing.

The male goldfinch’s bright colors fade after the summer and become a more subdued olive brown, whereas the female’s plumage brightens in the fall. This can be a reminder that you can choose your season to shine. Not everyone can be in the spotlight all the time; it can be draining and unhealthy. But by choosing your time carefully, you can make a significant impact. Just remember that in order to balance that season of shining, you need to retreat again and allow others their time in the light as well.

Associated energies: Joy, happiness, health, abundance, prosperity
Associated seasons: Summer
Element association: Air
Color associations: Yellow, black, brown

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

Every time I hear Goldfinch, I think of Crushed Caramel’s love for a wonderful man. Crushed Caramel is a bright and beautiful blogger here in the blogosphere sharing inspirational posts on love and life.

Photo from Pennington

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.

Eleonora Duse

It’s National Walking Day! The other day I took a afternoon walk at this national historical site I frequently visit, and I was overwhelmed with such a joyous feeling deep in my heart. The blue skies were vibrant. The sun was shining. The grass was growing. I was so appreciative of this gorgeous day. It could be the fact that my state is no longer a frozen, bleak landscape. I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear. I felt free. The fact that I was cooped up for the majority of last year while death and discord surrounded me was suffocating. I didn’t realize how it impacted my ability to do A2Z last year. I’m just so grateful for the littlest of things. I’m grateful to see and visit my loved ones more often.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Photo from The Spruce

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Egret

Featured Image by Simerpreet Cheema from Pixabay

  • Physical Description: The great egret is a long-necked and long-legged bird with white plumage. The bill is yellow, and the legs black. It measures 35 to 40 inches long, with a wing-span of about 55 inches and a weight of about 2 pounds.
  • Geographic Distribution: The great egret is found from southern Canada down through the United States and South America, as well as in Europe, Australia, Africa, and Asia. Partially migratory, northern birds will move southward during the cooler times of the year
  • Environment: The egret lives in wetlands such as marshes and swamps, in both salt and freshwater, and along rivers and ponds. It is comfortable in close contact with human civilization.
Photo by Jerry Amende – Audubon Photography Awards

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

Formally called aigettes (“little herons”), these stately birds were once in great demand by the millinery trade for their feathers. As such, the egret is now the symbol of the National Audubon Society, whose tenets include protecting birds from being killed to harvest their feathers.

To the Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, an egret is a symbol of the ultimate in rarity and beauty. To see one is a great blessing, as egrets are rare in New Zealand.

Folklore shows egrets as being loyal and devoted parents, who refuse to leave their young in the nest.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

An egret conveys a message of serenity and beauty. A noble bird, it reminds us to stand tall and to be self-possessed.

The Maori perception of the egret as a thing of rarity is also to be considered. Every moment of a day is sacred and beautiful in some way. Are you missing that? Are you so buried in work or daily cares that you’re forgetting to lift your head and look around you, to soak in the beauty that abides in this stressful, chaotic world?

Associated energies: Stability, beauty
Associated season: Summer
Element associations: Air, water, earth
Color association: White

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

After watching Egret behavior for a while, I was shocked at some of the behavior I witnessed. The adult egrets have so much patience with their chicks who keep trying to poke their eyes out. The chicks are supremely hungry and if they realize there isn’t enough food, the older stronger chicks will bully and maul the younger weaker siblings making them more susceptible to predators like alligators just so that they can get more food.

I’m just imagining an anthropomorphized version of Lord of the Flies! The lesson learned? A scarcity mindset can lead you to make different decisions than you would if you felt like there were abundant opportunities. Dr. Shahram Heshmat describes in more detail in his article, “How does being poor change the way we feel and think?

“He found himself understanding the wearisomeness of this life, where every path was an improvisation and a considerable part of one’s waking life was spent watching one’s feet.”

― William Golding, Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies, theatrical production by Everyman & Playhouse

On another side note: I found more Egret photos from the Audubon Society. The Audubon Society protects the Egrets since many people who killed them for their feathers. Smithsonian Museum shares a story about the deadly feather trade. I’ve never seen one in person, though I’ve seen a few bloggers have taken pictures of beautiful egrets.

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Dove

Featured photo by Sylvia Maulding

  • Physical Description: Doves are medium-sized birds with short stout bodies, short necks, and short beaks. Size varies according to the species as does coloring. The mourning dove, the most common species in North America, measures about 11 inches long, with a wingspan of 18 inches and a weight of approximately 5 ounces.
  • Geographic Distribution: Doves are found worldwide except in the high Arctic, Antarctica, the Sahara Desert, and other harsh places. most live in tropical or subtropical climates.
  • Environment: Doves prefer woodlands, forested areas, and fields.

Myths Folklore, and Cultural Associations

Stereotypically, the dove is portrayed as white and gentle, sweet, and loving. The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit in Christian iconography. Some iconographers show Mary being blessed by a dove at the moment of Annunciation, and Jesus was blessed by the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove at his baptism. The dove is said to be so pure that it is the one form into which Satan cannot transform himself. Doves and pigeons were the only birds suitable for sacrifice by the Hebrews, as stated in Leviticus 1:14. the dove appears as a symbol of purity on the Holy Grail in Malory’s Morte d’Arthur. In Muslim lore, a dove murmured the words of God into the ear of Muhammad.

Today the dove is a symbol of peace, often portrayed with an olive branch in its mouth. This iconography is taken from the story of Noah releasing the bird to bring back proof that there was land again somewhere and that the floodwaters were receding. The dove is also seen as representing love; it was a symbol of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, and of Venus her Roman counterpart. Lovers are said to “bill and coo” like doves. The dove is a monogamous bird, which may be the source of its connection with romantic and eternal love.

In Slavic folklore, doves were believed to conduct the souls of the dead to heaven. For the Celts, the mournful call of a dove meant the peaceful passing of someone.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

Doves call you to regain your serenity. Do you feel off balance, or out of step with the world? Are you harried or frazzled? The dove reminds you to take a deep breath and release all your tension and stress.

The dove also urges you to look at your relationships with your partner(s), romantic, work related, or otherwise. Are you in harmony with them? Is there friction? Reach out and smooth over any rough spots. Seeing a dove may be an omen of a new relationship, or a shift in an existing one.

Doves are associated with purity and innocence. Do you feel as if life has jaded you? Try to recapture a sense of innocence, of wonder and love for the world around you. Operating constantly with a cynical worldview is exhausting. In a situation that is frustrating or upsetting to you, a dove may be encouraging you to wipe the slate clean and start again.

As a symbol of the holy Spirit, the dove is associated with the mystical fifth element of spirit. Let you sighting of a dove remind you to reconnect with the spiritual aspect of your life; accept it as a blessing.

Associated energies: Peace love, serenity, blessing, patience, grace, hope, marital happiness, purity
Associated seasons: Year round
Element associations: Air, water, earth
Color Associations: White, ivory, buff, brown, grey

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

“A dove struggling in a storm grows stronger than an eagle soaring in sunshine.”

― Matshona Dhliwayo

This quote makes me reflect on how adversity can either make you or break you. It also makes me think of the beguiling saying, “The weak shall lead the strong.” The eagle is such a powerful bird and yet bald eagles for instance have been under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Doves are also in danger from hunters who hunt them for sport. It’ll be a scary day when they rise up and attack back.

“When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence…”

– J.B. Phillips, a British Bible translator, translates James 1:2-5

What does endurance look like?

That past snow storm in February made me wonder how the wildlife was going to survive. I think those from Canada or Norway have looked our situation and said, “That did NOT look like a lot of snow. Negative degree weather during the winter is rather normal for us.” 🙂 Many people have died due to the extremity of conditions they were not used to in my area. Others have demonstrated their resiliency and were resourceful, adapted, and survived the ordeal. As I’m typing this though, I hear the birds chirping outside my window and the previously dead trees sprouted new leaves. The Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research was able to rescue the turtles. Sometimes, we need a little help from each other.

The other day I received a comment a collared doves, and I was so curious to listen to them. They have such a calming coo. With all the things going on in the world and my busy schedule, this is just a nice step away from any sort of stress build up!