Tag Archives: problems

I forgot I had a “blog” / remembering Spring’s influenza

Tree swallow among the sumach, gazing into the foggy ethereals!


I was poorly already, but when the word came down that one of our rarer warblers was eating bugs in Etobicoke, it became essential for me to spend 5 hours in and around the dirt, snitching along the creek, hoping for pop-ups, easy light, and pictorial sweetwindows. Anyhow, the Kentucky Warbler is an elegant little softy but he is a demon also, and I consider him at least partially responsible for the influenza which ensconced me like a blanket of cold and leggy spiders! But feisty mulchers, worry not: I am on the mend, am no longer agued, and will live to taxidermize and photograph the good Spring warblers yet again!


Another pleasant look at the simple but dressy Kentucky Warbler, seen some days ago in southeast Etobicoke. Then I got influenza and hid in my apartment, but now it’s time to go snitching again.
P.S. The lamebrained composition was necessary because of problems to the left and right.


At first I thought “Oh now, don’t be silly” but then I remembered that “once in a while, it’s all right to have a little fun.”

One of the good local breakwater ghosts

It’s always bad when the telephone rings:
Fear and dread, fear and dread!
Who dares to call me?
The screen reads HOSPITAL
Who is dead or who is dying?
I answer quickly: “HELLO!”
A very old and vanquished voice croaks “Varl? (Darl? Barl?”)
I ask it: “Who?”
Again it wheezes: “Varl? (Darl? Barl?”)
I tell it: “There’s no-one here like that; I’m sorry, but you have the wrong number.”
I fear the worst: reprisal; sudden shrieking; demonism!
But no, there is no pleading; only silence, then a message that my call has ended.
I’m sure my telephone will ring again. Who is Varl, Darl, or Barl?
But that was more than two days ago, and my telephone hasn’t rang since.
I consider a possible moral: If there is a universe, it doesn’t talk to me or you; sometimes a finger slips and that’s all!
P.S. Common Raven, absconding with a newborn from another class altogether

Most delightful are the hibernal longtail hens along the waterways of southeastern Toronto.

RE the plucky titmouse known as “chickadee”
my attitude was always
“I shall not deign to lift my lens to thee.”
BUT UPON ESPYING this winsome jinker in the yellow-oranges of autumn’s twiggery, I was behooved to ask myself “BUT BREAKFAST, HE IS BEAUTIFUL; WHY DO YOU ESCHEW THIS SCRAPPY BEAN?”
Poecile atricapillus, my feelings have changed!

Another look at the sparky titmouse known as “chickadee”
Happily found in one of the autumnal sweetpockets of The Old Country Spittoon.
I was looking for saw-whet owls. “They live in the conifers,” I’d heard, but I couldn’t find any. When disheartenment crept in, I waved it away with a recital of the pious snitcher’s maxim:
“The common birds have the most to teach us, so long as we let ourselves learn from them.”

Today, dear ones, I proffer these bright-light egrets embroiled in a territorial melee among the reverse-highlows and the greens

The reflective autumnal waterways will soothe and beguile! See the winsome shoveler on Toronto’s Grenadier Pond, making a life among the orange-water flora

And, a mallard among the reflective waterways in the very early morning:

I continue to compile photographic evidence which I hope will illustrate the badness of urban pond fishing. Kind compatriots, here is “Exhibit B”

Descending Kinglet among the twisty branches and the green and yellow color families

Hooded mergansers among the waterlines and early highlows:


A low-light look at a young least bittern, living prosaically among the mulchpiles and the stinkrocks; the heron family is full of friends

Young least bittern in Etobicoke:
A wider view of the toothsome “Ixobrychus exilis” thugging along the odoriferous rockpiles of loneliness and light: the heron family is full of friends

And finally, among the easy white high-lows:


Eastern Kingbirds among the Tansies and the greens:

Wood Duck hen, with not just a common household cherry, although it looks like one, but some kind of local tree berry. I don’t know about things like this but maybe I’ll learn:

Sanderling sandpiper, as seen among the mulchpiles of happiness and loneliness:

In one of my Batman comics there was an advertisement for, I think, the Vic20. Pictured was a boy my age, sitting on his bed, his sneakers on a small carpet near the bedroom door. The room had wooden floors and a cozy dignity. The boy was skinny, and he had straight brown hair.
One day in late August, my mother and I went shopping at Miracle Mart and when we came home I asked her: “Can I keep my shoes upstairs from now on?”
“Where upstairs?”
“In my room.”
“Why do you want your shoes in your room?”
I didn’t answer.
My mother said: “Shoes belong downstairs, on the family shoe rug.”
Then I said: “I’ll still take my shoes off at the front of the house, then I’ll carry them upstairs and put them on a towel near the door of my room.”
“No,” my mother said, “I don’t want you making a mess. Shoes belong downstairs.”
“But it’s my birthday soon!”
“Yes, and I’ll make any cake you want,” she said, “and also a special supper.”

But I didn’t listen. For a few days or maybe a week I snuck my sneakers upstairs to my room and put them on a towel by the door. I would sit on my bed and look at my sneakers by the door but still I wasn’t happy. Pretty soon I abandoned my plan and moved on to other things.
I didn’t know then that in actuality I was pining to be a different¬†sort of boy altogether.
Anyhow, these days I feel much better, but I must tell you that I haven’t worn sneakers in more than 20 years!

p.s. Eastern Kingbird among the sumach, and then later the tansies

On the streetcar, a gentleman most disheveled took a mobile phone out of his coat pocket and made a call. I proffer his side verbatim, with each line break representing a pause:

“I don’t mean to trouble you, but could you tell me if you have an extra sleeping bag?

I understand, but I mean to ask if you’ll have a sleeping bag for me?

I see.

Or else a blanket? Just a light one for this time of year?

Well actually there’s something else.

Yes, I know.

I’m scheduled to meet Graham and Lucy this afternoon but we never set a time.


Well, I’m almost at Dundas West now, so how about if I go to the park for a while?

Exactly, and I’ll stop for a loaf of bread and go feed the ducks.

Yes, so if you could tell them there’s no rush?

Yes, they can meet me whenever they’re ready.

That’s right, Graham and Lucy.”

p.s. Different looks at the same young Great Blue Heron.