A Little Cock Sparrow Sat on a Tree

A little cock sparrow sat on a tree,
Looking as happy as happy could be,
Till a boy came by with his bow and arrow,
Says he, I will shoot the little cock sparrow.

His body will make me a nice little stew,
And his giblets will make me a little pie, too.
Says the little cock sparrow, I’ll be shot if I stay,
So he clapped his wings, and flew away.

This is a great selection to kick off this year’s blogging challenge because it’s all about personal responsibility, which is a characteristic I value greatly. The moral of this nursery rhyme is apparent: help yourself! Yes, the bird should be free to sit in the tree as long as he wants. But if trouble comes his way, he’d better not sit around waiting for legislation to protect him. You can putter across a pedestrian crosswalk instead of running while a drunk driver barrels down the road toward you at 60 mph because you have the right of way, but you’ll also be dead at the end of this scenario. Your family can sue, but how does that benefit you? Take smart action, live longer.

Verdict: Let the cock sparrow sing this rhyme loudly from his new nest. Continue reading →

13,000 Hours in the Mountains: Whose Mountain Is It Anyway?

A big cat family roams Alaska Hill. Their presence has been been confirmed. At first, the evidence was inconclusive: sounds of an animal splashing around in the creek at the bottom of the hill and a barely visible tail near the sound of a branch snapping in the dark. Perhaps a murderous mountain lion, but perhaps a charming bobcat. Then, a cache was discovered near a neighbor’s propane tank. And then a spate of sightings around the area of the cache: the momma coming up a driveway, the cub disappearing into the woods, the duo crossing the road.

I have an unjustified feeling of certainty that I will be the feline’s victim. Much the way people panic when they see a gun, I’m certain, now that several people on my street have seen the beast (and its offspring), that it’s going to eat me, my dog, or both of us. Guns are all around; we simply aren’t aware of them because the owners have concealed carry permits, emphasis on concealed. The mountain lion has always been around but its territory is enormous and it’s mainly active at night. Logic often goes out the window when confronted visually with something you don’t like. I’ve hiked these woods many times with only my trusty but useless dog for protection. Now, suddenly, the caves and pits pockmarking the land terrify me, although my rational brain knows nothing has actually changed. Continue reading →