My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Friday, February 11, 2011

Frozen in Time and Fuzzy Friday Friendships

Today's post is made possible by inspiration from some fellow bloggers!

First, this beautiful dripping icicle photo by my friend Sue inspired my own attempt to capture something similar when I noticed a row of icicles hanging from our eaves earlier this week. These were my two best attempts, and as usual I couldn't decide which one I liked best - icicle with or icicle without falling snow glop, so I'm posting them both :-) ...

Inspired also by my friend Daphne, who has caught Haiku Fever and shares her verses on her new blog, Daphne's Haiku, I decided that a dripping icicle provided a perfect subject for some haiku efforts of my own. You probably learned the interesting history, traditions and various forms of haiku in school, but if you want to refresh your memory here is one of many informative web sites on the subject, along with a delightfully simple definition of haiku I plucked from it...

A haiku is just a tiny poem, the size of your breath.
They are good for you.

~ J. Zimmerman, How to Write a Haiku

caught by icy spear
then captured in a photo -
drop drips forever

melting icicles -
crying in the bright sunshine
that's glimpsed in their tears


Fierce fang of winter -
erodes bite by sunny bite
to toothless gutters

In keeping with my last post's theme, I wanted to share some more wonderful examples of interspecies friendships. How appropriate to celebrate the love between friends as we head into Valentine's Day weekend!

On Wednesday morning as I was about to leave for town, I saw a gorgeous fox in our pasture. She was definitely playing in the deep, powdery snow - running, jumping, spinning, and stopping now and then to look back at the dogs and me to make sure we were watching with a suitable amount of appreciation before zooming off again on another frolic. :-) That was captivating enough, but as she left our pasture and moved off toward the big ravine where the dogs and I often hike, she was joined by a magpie who strafed her and landed just a few feet away. The fox moved toward her in a couple of leaps and the magpie took off and flew over her, landing behind her. The fox turned and bounded toward the magpie again, and the magpie again waited till the last second before flying over the fox and landing a few feet behind her. Again the fox spun around and leapt toward the magpie, again the magpie demonstrated air superiority. :-) This went on for a minute or two, it was clear they were playing, and it was beautiful to watch. Sometimes you get lucky and capture a great moment like that on film and sometimes you don't. I didn't. They were too far away and moving too fast - I knew my camera's zoom was not up to the task. As much as I love my point & shoot camera, I would have sold my soul just then for a "real" one with a big ol' zoom lens.

But here's a phenomenal animal photographer named Tanja Askani who lives in Germany and captures incredible photos of interspecies friendships. I found this video on Vegan Elder's blog this morning, along with three other very brief but hugely adorable videos of a sneezing bunny, a dreaming kitten, and a farting bunny. (Told you they were adorable!) I think you will consider visits to Tanja's web site (it's in German and English) and Vegan Elder's Friday Cuteness post, and of course this amazing video to be time very well spent! I highly recommend clicking on the YouTube link and watching this video there or on Vegan Elder's post, since you'll get a much larger view in either place, and do turn up your speakers because the music is beautiful...

Did you notice the crow bestowing a romantic gift upon the magpie? How perfect is that for Valentine's Day? :-)

Please remember to be a good and gentle friend to all our fellow animals, and enjoy a friendly Friday filled with warm fuzzies!


  1. Great captures on both those icicle shots - love the blue background. And great poems too, but what's this about learning to write haiku in school? I had a British state education, I'm lucky I can spell my name! Poetry wasn't something to be encouraged :O) Just watched the video - how cute? I think my favourite is the bunny sticking his tongue out - gorgeous.

  2. Those icicle shots look amazing...such acuity! And the blue sky is such a color. Really nice photos. I like your haikus too. I like the "melting icicles crying" one best.

    You have magpies in your parts? That's so neat. I love magpies. They're all over the place in Ireland, but I've never seen one around the Pacific Northwest. Crows, ravens, magpies...etc. are so cool, I've always wanted to befriend one so he or she could fly around on walks with me.

    The video is really cute! I love the white squirrel...what a cool little dude! It reminds me of a video that was circulated a few years back about a crow that befriended a stray kitten and fed the kitten worms. When the kitten was taken in by some kind people, the crow used to wait outside on the porch every morning for them to let the cat out to play. Here's the link.

    Also, I have a shameless plug to some interspecies snuggling on my own blog...i had almost completely forgotten about until now:

    Happy Fuzzy Gentle Friday to you and all your animal friends Laurie!

  3. Wow those icicles are beautiful

  4. Laloofah -- How interesting -- your observations with the fox and the magpie. I have seen birds form flocks of several species and fly in tandem together. Unfortunately I have also seen the other side of species killing like species. The wild world is complex and mysterious.

    Great icicle -- like both photos.

    Your haikus were very good.

    -- barbara

  5. Hiya! Too bad you missed some great shots of the fox and magpie. They would have been great. You need to nudge someone in the direction of getting you a new camera ;-).
    Loved the video and Vegan Elder and Ashika as well. Have a swell weekend....later, Tater!

  6. The icicle photos are both wonderful! I can't decide which one I like better, either. They're both great! Same with the haikus. Very nice! I remember doing them in school and am impressed with your poetic skills!

    Seeing the fox & magpie must have been quite the treat. How cool. The pictures in the video are just amazing, too. How on earth did she capture all of those?

  7. Barbara ~ Thanks! That blue background was our sky that day. It's often that color. And what is this about the school system in the land that brought us Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the Brönte sisters, Kipling, Austen, Keats, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Edward Lear, Chaucer (shall I go on?) not encouraging POETRY? What manner of outrage is this? I must speak to the Queen at once.

    That bunny with the tongue thing going on was wonderful. :-)

    Rose ~ Thanks, Rose! I thought Sue's was much better, but I was tickled about catching the falling water droplets (and even the falling snow glop, which was a surprise when I downloaded the pic!)

    Oh yes, we have LOTS of magpies in these parts! I love them too. I have quite a collection of magpie feathers - they leave them all over! I wonder why they're here and not in the PNW? Not in New England either. And I would think the climates of both those areas are a lot more similar to Ireland's than ours. So it must be something else. We have a lot of ravens and crows here, too. I love your desire to have a Corvidae fly around on walks with you! I can just picture that! :-)

    That white squirrel was really amazing! I've seen black, red and grey squirrels, but never a white one! I wondered if s/he was an albino, but s/he had dark eyes. Sure was beautiful! I LOVE the video you shared, thanks for sending that link! Those scenes with the kitten and crow wrestling and playing together - especially the one where the kitten jumps out and startles the crow - were too, too cute!! What a sweet friendship, that was really touching! And I really enjoyed your interspecies friendship post with Bruce and Wanda (hey, shared BW's initials!) :-) What a precious pair of buds.

    Happy Fuzzy Gentle Friday to you and all your furbabies too, Rose! :-)

  8. P.S. Rose ~ I meant to tell you that the crying icicles haiku was my favorite of the batch as well. :-)

    Jamie ~ Thanks. (Don't know why I'm saying thanks, I didn't make the icicles!) lol

    Barbara ~ I really, really wish I could have gotten video of the fox and magpie playing together. It was a sight to see! I'm all too aware of species killing members of their own species (none of which can compete with our own in that arena!), since it's the sort of thing they seem to enjoy showing on nature shows, while these sorts of interspecies friendships receive little attention, though my own experience is that they're quite common. Our deer and bunnies play with each other, Mocha sometimes plays with the wild turkeys, and now a fox and magpie (and Willow is always wanting to play with Punky, though Punky isn't too sure about that yet!) :-) Complex and mysterious for sure.

    Thank you for saying nice things about my icicles and haikus. :-)

  9. Spudly ~ It really is too bad. That would have been great (and a great post!)

    I could nudge, but we just got a new camera less than a year ago, remember? :-) At the time, I looked at the Canon Rebel, about which I hear so many wonderful things, but went with the Kodak EasyShare for several reasons (price, portability, familiarity, ease of use). I love my camera ~ just wish the fox and magpie could have played their game a lot closer to our deck! (I could see them with the naked eye, but was watching them through binoculars). Maybe I'll get another chance. You can bet I'll be keeping my beady eyes peeled!

    Weren't those other videos on Vegan Elder's site great? I don't know which one made us laugh harder, the sneezing bunny or the farting bunny! The dreaming kitten just made us go "awwwwww!" a lot. Too cute!

    You have a great weekend too, Spudster! I'll try to email you next week.

    Molly ~ Thank you, I'm glad I'm not alone in my indecision over which icicle picture was better! :-) And thank you for your compliment about my poetry. I wrote the haikus this morning (poetry for the instant gratification generation, lol), but I was pretty pleased with how they turned out. I used to write poetry all the time as a kid and a teen, and even in my 20's. Hardly ever do it now. But I think haikus are pretty fun to do.

    I thought some of those images in the video were astonishing, and wondered the same thing! I intend to explore her web site further when I have time, I wonder if she tells any stories about some of those shots.

  10. Yes, I was thinking the same thing about the unusual and apparently not an albino either.

    A magpie feather collection sounds like good luck.

  11. Rose ~ That's what I thought (about the magpie feathers). But I'm not sure it's working yet! Maybe I just need another one. :-)

  12. I just linked over here from your nice comment on my blog and was so thrilled to see you're vegan too! How wonderful! As soon as I've finished commenting I'll add you to my blogroll.
    Great icicle photos. (Though I've gone off snow this winter...)
    I studied haikus as part of one of my Open University courses and enjoyed yours very much. :o)

  13. Oh, and I loved the story about the fox and the magpie! Most people seem surprised that we have terriers and cats living in harmony here!

  14. Fantastic post and many thanks for the mention of my haiku. I hadn't found the site you linked to, but it is very nice indeed. I'm finding a whole community out there linked to haiku and it is fascinating and very fun! Meanwhile I loved your description of the fox and magpie. We certainly have a lot to learn from other species. And your haiku are very nice. I too liked the melting icicles crying. Lovely indeed!

  15. Hey Friend...I like your icicle pics...glop and no glop. I also like #3 Haiku the best. Icicles are pretty cool, glad you played around with some.

  16. Penny ~ Thanks for stopping by and for adding me to your blogroll! I'm glad my being vegan was such a pleasant surprise for you. I had the same experience when I found Barbara's blog. And you're right, it IS wonderful! :-)

    I really appreciate your nice compliments on my icicle photos and haiku. I can understand why you (and a lot of other people) are "off" images of winter by now - but hey, at least they're melting icicles! ;-)

    Terriers and cats, another fun example of interspecies harmony and friendship!

    Daphne ~ I'm glad I was able to introduce you to another nice haiku site, and that you've found fun community among fellow haiku crafters. I'm also glad you enjoyed my description of the fox and magpie playing together, but still wish I had a video of it to share! Alas.

    Sue ~ Thanks, and yes they are (cool - if not downright icy cold. Ha!)

  17. What a fun story about the magpie and the fox. I am sorry that you couldn't take photos but your detailed description was almost as good. (The book is often better than the movie anyway!)

    The video was incredible. They were all darling photos but some of them were incredible as well - A cat and a mouse? A tiger and a dog? Those are truely heartwarming. A pig and dog and a cat and a deer just struck me as funny. Like - where did they meet??

    That was a lot of fun. I didn't have time during lunch to connect to all the links so I'll try to go back from home tomorrow - no time tonight.

  18. Jo ~ I feel the same way about that video, and am so glad you had time to watch it. Not only is it sweet and cute and heartwarming, but some of her photographs are technically and compositionally so amazing - the mouse straddling the stalks of grass, for instance. I love it, and am still looking forward to having time to explore her web site further.

    I have a feeling some of those critters probably met on farms or animal sanctuaries. I'm sure you've probably seen this photo, which has been all over the internet for a few years now. Though most people have probably seen the photo, I doubt most know the really touching story behind it, which accompanies the photo in the article I linked to (and which also mentions a couple of other interspecies friendships). This pair, as you'll read, met at an animal hospital.


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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