"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Acorn Woodpeckers

Last Saturday, I was reading out on the back porch, a large expanse of cement with a roof over it. It was a cool day, one of the first of the year, and an even cooler breeze. But, I was comfortable, fully dressed, and wearing a medium weight jacket and knit cap.

I live in the hill country about 30 miles north of Fresno, California, about half-way to the beautiful Yosemite Valley. This is oak and digger pine country and we have a plethora of acorn woodpeckers.

Acorn woodpeckers are black with white around their eyes, as well as wing patches and bellies and a red patch on the top of the head, among other markings. Some people have remarked that they have clown-like faces.

As I was reading, I was also listening to the sounds of several of those birds. It was a beautiful, partly cloudy, blued-skyed, clear-aired, and deliciously cool day. Many of the woodpeckers were sounding off at the same time in what I now call the "chattering cadence of laughing woodpeckers."

This is not important when it comes to health care reform, unemployment, financial crisis, war in Afganistan, and whatever else our instant, up-to-date news media inundates us with daily, which can only cause us stress. But that time was important for my soul. (Although I am not religious, I do believe that people are healthier if they are listening to, paying attention to, and, at least to some extent, in tune with nature).

Last Saturday was a beautiful interlude of sun, blue sky, white cumulus clouds, and a cool breeze rattling the oak leaves and whooshing thought the digger pine needles. And it was made even more beautiful by the chattering cadence of laughing, red, white, and black, clown-faced acorn woodpeckers.

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