Friday, December 25, 2009
Merry Christmas and Holidays to all!
it's Christmas Day and I hope everyone is having a lovely day, whether you actually celebrate Christmas or not. I hope you celebrate something - solstice, Kwanzaa, Hanuka (which is over, I think), or St. Stephen's Day or whatever day, because it is SUCH a gorgeous time of year in and of itself! Everything is decked out with lights and colorful decorations.
I APOLOGIZE to EVERYONE for my lack of presence in email and on the blog! I've had a rough fall, healthwise. But I'm back to my normal level of ill health now so I can do the blog and do events if I take my time and plan carefully.
There was a rumor that I wasn't doing events because i was sick! That's NOT TRUE! I just have to plan extra time for sleep and usually an extra night in a hotel to rest before travelling home.
But I do regret not being online. There's so much to talk about!
I went up to the Seattle area to Bainbridge Island to speak at a fundraiser for the West Sound Wildlife Shelter and it was sooo amazing! I took the ferry across to the island and the air was so fresh and the forest was dripping with moss and ferns and the intense smell of the plants and even the earth was better than the finest cologne. I stayed in a little B&B called The Captain's House. The owner donated my visit to the wildlife center, which I thought was very sweet.
I was told that on Bainbridge Island, people read more books per capita than in any other part of the US. I believed it, because as we drove along I could see into living rooms w/ bookcases all the way to celieings and those library attached latters on wheels attached to the huge bookcases.
Plus there was a nice turnout of very enthusiastic participants. I played a DVD in the lobby, of me and Wesley cuddling among other activities.
One of my goals - this is important to me - is to help to dispell the old wives' tale that has passed from one owl keeper to another for decades that says that "owls hate to be touched" while in captivity. The result of this wives' tale is heartbreaking, because these extremely cuddly creatures (owls), who spend HOURS preening each other and cuddling w/ their mates are entirely cut off from all touch and affection! This leads to something similar to attachment disorder in humans - a deep anxiety and loneliness.
I preened a beautiful Barred Owl behind the ears and along the neck and nose and she bent her head and closed her eyes and leaned into me. That was one of those magical moments for me. I was visiting a wildlife center and Jeff Guidry was with me and we both saw ow this owl responded.'
I hopeo that keepers and rehabbers will use affection as the powerful form of enrichment that it is for unreleasable birds of prey. Of course you cannot do it for releasable birds!!!
Anyway, after I was done w/ my speaking engagements on Bainbridge Island (of course I met such great people there!
), I took the ferry back and met Jeff Guidry who took me up to Sarvey Wildlife center where I met Freedom the Eagle. Jeff's relationship w/ Freedom is very much like mine was with Wesley.
In fact, I only know one other person who has such a deep connection w/ their unreleasable bird of prey, and that's Nancy Connie of SkyHunters. Jeff has a profound, affectionate, and even telepathic relationship w/ "his" eagle, named Freedom. He took me to meet her! What a privilege!
She and I took to each other immediately as if we'd been buddies all our lives. I was so comfortable with her! Her mannerisms were so much like Wesley's and she even had a vocalization that sounded just like his "deedle deedle deedle DEEP DEEP DEEP DEEP deedle deedle dee!", which is an exclamation. of course, it was in an Eagle Voice.
Bald Eagles don't sound like that long beautiful scream you hear in movies echoing through the canyons. THAT sound is the scream of a red-tailed hawk, but it's always used in movies when they depict an eagle. Sign,
No, bald eagles sound like, "cack cack cack cack!" like great big chickens. Freedom chatters away to Jeff just like Wesley used to and updates Jeff on her day. She is all opinion and communication. She gazes deep into Jeff's eyes and really listens to him. He uses telepathy quite a lot to beam pictures to her to explain things to her and there have been some really amazing outcomes from that.
I met Jeff because his book is coming out in May! It is the story of him and Freedom! I think it's going to be called "An Eagle named Freedom". It validates everything I said about Wesley and I'm thrilled to have another voice joined w/ mine in saying that these birds of prey are emotionally deep and complex, they are amazing communicators, they're highly intelligent and know what's going on at all times, and they are cuddly. Freedom cuddles. She throws her wings around you or across your shouldters. She lets you play with her big reptilian feet and bury your face in her big boofy chest or kiss her, all of which I did.
I don't mean to imply that Jeff lets people hold her. It was a rare privilege to hold her, and he trusted me because of my relationship w/ Wesley, so it was a very rare occurrence to hold her! She was so warm and emitted a sweet feathery smell that reminded me of Wesley, yet wasn't exactly the same.
I'm still over the moon about it!
Ok, so you wanna see pictures? I'm FAT, so please overlook my fatness! It's the medication and such and it's embarrassing but what can I do, Hide? No, it is what it is and there are more important things in life,,starting w/ just being alive! I'll take fat and alive over thin and dead ANY day, eh?
With that out of the way, enjoy the pics. oh yeah, you're not imagining that one of the pics is w/ a bobcat! His name is Baxter and what a character he is! Yes, he's tame, but only just. He has a wild energy to him that oozes from him and shifts and glimmers so that one moment he's passive and another he's pouncing and grabbing your ankle and trying to bite it. But he responds to the word, "NO!" and stops. He has a large area to roam and play and he's exceptionally playful. He just glows. There's no mistake that this is a wild creature, not a kitty cat! Anyway, there we are together! His purr was so loud you could hear it from quite far away.
There's almost nothing that makes me happier than gettinig close to the wild onnnnnes. Each one is so special! So that trip WAS my Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season for sure!! What a rush!
Remember, by the way, that you can buy Wesley the Owl plushies on my website and they really do resemble Wesley HIMSELF in a way that's downright uncanny! I always startle when I see one! And you can get Wesley notebooks, gift cards, jewelry boxes, totes, hats, mouse pads, mugs, etc. by going to the website: www.wesleytheowl.com and clicking on the owl store button or something like that... I shoulda woulda coulda mentioned it way back when people were Christmas or Holiday shopping.
I also found out that you can still get the hardcover versoin of Wesley the Owl from Barnes and Noble! I ordered a box of 20 hardcovers from the Barnes and Noble Website. People have asked, so that's why I'm talling you all this. Ok enough of that.
Wherever you are in the world, I hope your heart is at peace and your lifeis going well. If it's not, remember that his IS just a season andthat al ting do pass at some point!