Category: Nature

The Plastic Sea

The Plastic Sea

Seabirds trussed like turkeys
On Thanksgiving Day
Dolphins’ dorsal fins cut with fishing line
Is just another way for us to betray

Sea creatures swallowing grocery bags
Thinking they are jellyfish
Turtles strangled in synthetics
Surely you couldn’t wish this

Our commitment to save the planet
Includes the oceans too
Choking their inhabitants
Is really askew

We are filling our seas
With torturing plastic
Shame is what we must own
Act now, this situation is drastic

Christine Bolton

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Does the Sandpiper Fly?

I woke this morning and feeling a little tense.  I couldn’t put my finger on any one thing but knew the best way to deal with it would be to get out into nature to clear my head and find some inspiration for the day.

I headed to the beach with towels and chair in hand.  The day was bright, the sky a cloudless blue, and I knew the moment I set foot on the sand that I had made a good decision.

I felt the energy coming from the sea and with the sun on my shoulders it was like instant medicine for the soul.  Nature is always the best remedy and I can usually find the answers I’m looking for, whether I am at the beach or just walking in the neighborhood.

After finding a good spot, I took a few minutes just to do a little people watching.  I live in a resort town on the coast and the beachgoers come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Some are on vacation, others are walking the beach for exercise, a few are doing yoga, a couple are cycling and others are just working on their tan.  I then turned my attention to the beach birds.  Noisy Seagulls, diving Pelicans and the fascinating Sandpiper.  This small, busy bird is tireless.  You will find him running across the sand constantly in search of food and giving the impression that he must never get wet under any circumstance!

It made me realize how similar we all are. We as humans go through the same motions day after day whether going to work or tending to our lives in general.  Just like the Sandpiper, our existence depends on these repetitive rituals that are necessary. However, every now and again we should really just stop, take a breath and appreciate why we do these things.  If we work, at least enjoy it. If we are on the run taking care of our families, remember to be thankful for the happiness they bring. If we are in school or college and are feeling the pressure of our studies or from our peers, we should take consolation in knowing this time in our life is temporary. A means to an end and it will pass quickly.

I found the little Sandpiper so intriguing I was inspired to write this poem.

 

The Sandpiper

The Sandpiper runs along the shore
Searching for insects and the odd crustacean
Concentrating hard on the task at hand
With such intent and dedication

Moving swiftly down the beach
He flirts with the water as it ebbs and flows
With seconds to spare he quickly escapes
His legs taking him wherever he goes

He is tentative and unsure
Of how it might feel
He errs on the side of caution
And avoids the thrill

Up and down the beach he goes
He repeats the ritual often
This is his life day after day
Nothing is forgotten

Fascinating to watch
I am enthralled with the scene
Will he do the same tomorrow?
And will he remember where he has been?

A Pelican and Seagull cause a commotion
They are squawking on the boat dock
The Gull loses interest
And rejoins his flock

Meanwhile the industrious Sandpiper
Is scurrying on the beach
To and from the water
Everything he goes for seemingly out of reach

The ceremony of his life
So fascinating to observe
His repetitive action, over and over
Never missing a curve

I watch the tireless efforts of this little bird
Rarely do you see him on his wing
His existence is staying close to the ground
Constantly searching for any little thing

I wonder does he walk home
To his little nest somewhere nearby
Thinking about tomorrow
And whether he should fly

Christine Bolton

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The Death of a Cardinal

Just last week a neighbor called to ask a favor.  She was at work and received news that her 97 year old mother-in-law, who lives in an assisted living facility, was not doing well and was taken to the hospital with a suspected stroke.  Our neighbor requested that we help with her dog while she rushed to the hospital.  We listened to her instructions as to where the leash was kept, how to coax the dog down the stairs to go outside, and lastly where the reward treats were kept.  Of course we were happy to help our dear neighbor but felt sad for what could be her impending loss.  As we walked next door we stopped in our tracks because laying there on her driveway was a beautiful male cardinal, dead.  He was so beautiful.  Of course his color was striking but to see him laying there, with no outward signs of distress, was quite shocking considering the task at hand.  Was it an omen?  Was it a sign of inevitable passing? All these crazy things went through our minds.  We were worried for our neighbor, her dog and now this.

As it turned out, her mother-in-law improved later that day and there was no evidence of stroke.  She was experiencing some kind of infection so everything turned out well.  So what of the Cardinal? I picked him up and buried him in the garden with a covering of leaves.  I said a word of thanks for his life and felt a sadness come over me.  Who knows what happened to him.  Perhaps he flew into an oncoming car, or just died of old age.  It was hard to tell but it did stir something in me. I began to think about birds in general and how their behavior is so similar to humans.  They mate for life, building a nest to share with their partner.  They raise their family in that nest until the young are ready to spread their wings and fly away. The melancholy feeling stayed with me for several days and I subsequently wrote this poem.  I hope you will understand and enjoy it.

Death of a Cardinal

A flash of scarlet caught my eye
A cardinal had come down from the sky

I wondered how could that be?
He was too old to have fallen from a tree

He lay there with not a sign of breath
So beautiful but clearly this was his death

I found him alone in someone’s driveway
With no visible damage as he peacefully lay

I imagined his mate full of concern
What did she think when he did not return

Do they mourn like us when a loved one is lost?
Save face in front of the babies no matter the cost

These things always go through my mind
Is sorrow just for the likes of mankind?

Birds have partners as humans do
We all breathe and breed and need food too

We love and nurture those we love
So why did this Cardinal come down from above

It made me realize that life is to be treasured
Who dies and why is not to be measured

This beautiful bird was laid in a leafy grave
With my word of thanks for the joy he gave

Christine Bolton

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