Hello and good morning. It’s Thursday, the “traditional” day for my “traditional” weekly blog post, and so I began with one of the variations of my traditional “Hello and good morning” greetings. I’m probably the only person even to notice such things, let alone to care, but I can’t seem to help but do both.
I don’t have many interesting things to report about myself lately, as you probably know, since I’m still not writing any fiction, and I haven’t played any music—either in the sense of playing an instrument, such as a guitar or cello or keyboard, or playing music on a device just to listen to it—in recent weeks, either.
Yesterday, though, when I was taking out garbage from the office, I encountered the little owl below, of whom I got a few grainy pictures and even a grainy video (it was still pretty dim out, and I didn’t want to try to get too close and scare the creature). The video is silent because my phone, due to the humidity, had done as it often does and gone into headphones mode, even though there were no headphones attached to it.
The owl and I startled each other nicely, because when I came out, it was barely three feet from me. We both jumped a little, almost identically and simultaneously. I’m pretty sure, after doing some Google searching, that it’s an Eastern Screech Owl, perhaps a juvenile one. It didn’t fly away from me, just sort of hopped and trotted, but its wings appeared functional and symmetrical from what I could see, with no clear sign of injury. After I made the video, it let me get about 4 feet away, where I knelt down and said hello. It looked healthy and not terribly alarmed.
There is quite a lot of wildlife in south Florida, and particularly there are many birds and reptiles. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the owl and its ilk are gorging themselves on the many lizards, including the unusually large number of young iguanas we’ve had lately.
Earlier this week, I saw the subject of this picture outside in the back, and it ran and ran, then I went past a construction dumpster, carrying garbage destined for a more standard dumpster, past where it had been. I thought it might have already headed toward the little, wooded seating area in the shopping plaza, but then I realized it had tried to climb away only to find itself in the pictured basket, apparently puzzled about what it should do next.
Iguanas don’t seem to tend to be that all that bright.
We’ve had some other life in the long alley behind the office, including some good-sized frogs and their tadpoles, and what I think is a Cuban Knight Anole, pictured below, and one of which I saw quite a while back on the fence beside the house in which I live.
But perhaps the most interesting—in some senses—life form encountered was that seen in this video, in a wooden fence behind the aforementioned slightly wooded, rather pleasant, outdoor seating area in the shopping plaza/strip mall.
There was a time in my life when I would have been terrified even to get this close to such a swarm, but nowadays I just find it fascinating, and I wasn’t the only one. I’m not sure what I meant when I asked about where the bears are in the video—apparently it was a sensible joke, because my coworker laughed about it. But all I can think of now is fictional bears trying to get honey from beehives, a la Winnie the Pooh or similar. And I don’t know why I should have thought of such a thing, even for comical purposes.
Oh, well. I say and think a lot of things that are bizarre and peculiar, even to myself.
Of course, there is other “wildlife” in south Florida, both native species, like the owl, and invasive species, like the iguanas, the anole, and the humans. There are other mammals besides humans, as well. Around the house in which I currently live, there are of course quite a few semi-stray cats, and last night when going out back, I encountered a youngish male raccoon, who was at first nervous of me, though he hadn’t even realized I was there until he practically walked into me, at which time he retreated a bit—apparently I’m pretty quiet. I spoke calmly to him, and he seemed reassured enough to come back past me to go wherever he was going, through a gap in the fences. I took no photos, but who hasn’t seen raccoons before?
There’s plenty of food in the neighborhood for an enterprising raccoon or twelve, so I’m not surprised he looked quite healthy. I know he has older kin, because I’ve seen other, chunkier relatives (presumably) of his in the area in the past, including once what I believe was a mother with her child. There are also at least two opossums, probably a mother and child based on their relative sizes.
It’s all rather interesting, I suppose. Unfortunately, nothing about me or my life is nearly as interesting as these animals, except perhaps in the “Chinese curse”* sense. I still have my usual chronic pain, and this morning my back and side were quite stiff, so before I got dressed I rolled on lots and lots of “Icy Hot”. I don’t think that was a good idea, because all I have now is that irritating, burning sensation all around my skin in the left half of my midsection, overlaying the stiffness and pain that was already there and persists.
Maybe such products do their work by making you feel relief when they fade away, so you think you feel better when you’ve just reverted to baseline. It would be a pretty good joke by way of a pain-treating product.
Icy Hot does actually tend to help when I’ve got inflammation and soreness in joints, such as the base of my thumb, so I don’t want to denigrate it too much. I’m just speaking tongue in cheek—which is a good way to set yourself up to bite your tongue badly if you hit a bump or just forget what you’re doing with your tongue.
That’s about all I have for today. At least there are some interesting animals, and some exceptionally mediocre pictures and videos of some of them. If it weren’t for all the people (me included) south Florida would be a really cool—though actually quite muggy and hot—place to be.
Wherever you are, please take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Relish the time you have with them; it is finite, and you will not necessarily have any warning before it comes to an end. Revel in your time, as Tyrel said to Roy.
*I.e., “May you live in interesting times.”