Whilst straightening out the curves and flattening the backside blue ridges of the Appalachian Communion Call routes, Sassy the Subaru had to have her new brakes tested so as not to run over an all too calm Sandhill Moonshiner Crane. He just stood in the middle of the road, eyeing Sassy screech up to this sudden standoff, just barely nervous enough to bat open and shut his six and a half foot wingspan a couple of times, and then ever so slowly tip-toe into some bramble cover in the neighboring field. In this picture you can’t see the head and bill and not much of the neck as he saunters to the left into natural camouflage.
Much more common than cranes on the road are turkey vultures and hawks and ravens and crows all eating the remains of road-kill. Reptiles include snapping turtles and a variety of snakes. Mammalian sightings, often in the form of road pizza, include squirrels and possums. Since there is little traffic, brakes are applied for dogs and cats, as well as, of course, for bears and deer. I’m happy to get a picture of picture of elk. I’ve not been quick enough for actual panthers (not melanistic lions), mountain lions (much heavier, stockier), a variety of lynx. Coyotes (the animal kind) and red wolves are to be seen, once a gray wolf (now also being introduced).
It’s all great therapy for the madness of today’s dark and violent world, the lies, the cover-ups, the manipulations, the power-grabbing, the….
Not everyone in this lock-down world has such opportunities to race round about creation doing Communion Calls with our Eucharistic Jesus, Creator of His beautiful creation. I share these posts for some respite with what few pictures I can get in hopes of assisting the imagination of the home-bound to take flight on the roads with Jesus and I. And it is like flight on these hilly, curvy roads…
Did I say straightening out the curves and flattening the hills? Eeeee Haaaawwww…
Standing next to the American Flag in the driveway, this is best picture I could get of a magnificent Bald Eagle. Sorry it’s not clearer. But my heart thrilled to see this representation of my own patriotic spirit.
On Eagles Wings?
“You have seen for yourselves how […] I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you here to myself. (Exodus 19:4)
“They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
These guys have just jumped out of their little purple martin bird house a few feet away for the first time, learning how to fly, with purple martin mama anxiously protecting them from the neighborhood around the rectory which gathered to see the sight. I mean, these don’t look like purple martin kids, do they? I mean, the beak is hooked… Is that right? And the “babies” are already twice as big as the mama before they even know how to fly. What’s going on here?
Anyway, my first thought was “Flowers for the Immaculate Conception,” which I always have on the front burner. I’m thinking that that’s not a bad thing. Oh, and here’s another, who keeps looking at how far down the ground is…
Last night after the Vigil Mass the Latinos had a Fathers Day party, complete with singing and cake:
On Mothers Day the Latinos give all the ladies roses after Mass in the social hall with another party, of course. I said last night that the Fathers should get something as well. Many suggestions were made but all immediately dismissed as it was said that it just doesn’t work that way. But to my my way of thinking, it’s a gift to any Father to be able to give a gift on Fathers Day. So, a whole heap of flowers for you, Mary. I suppose the birds will fly away, having learned how to fly. But that’s as it should be.
Tiny little feathered friends seen on the Day Off. Very humble, that. Merely receiving. Not grabbing. What does the Lord say to us all in Psalm 81:11?
“Open wide your mouth that I may fill it.”
Also, the Tree of Life, i.e., the Tree of the Living Ones, comes to mind. Adam may receive the fruit of the Tree, the Eucharist from the Cross, but Adam may not reach out his hand and grab the fruit of the Tree, pretending that in that way he will live forever, that is, because he reached out his hand as if he’s saving himself. No. But he may receive if he is receptive.
Adoration this past Sunday at 6:00 AM at Holy Redeemer:
This is Mrs Cardinal, who’s presence means that Mr Cardinal is flitting about somewhere. I should have looked at Sassy the Subaru’s doors, under the side mirrors, to see if they were painted white with bird poop let go as he slams continuously into the mirrors, attacking his own image, no matter how much it hurts himself. Maybe he did himself in.
Now that‘s an image wide open to the making of analogies. Pointing fingers involves most being pointed back at oneself, right? What’s most important is that we help bring each other to Jesus.
Having said all that, yes, I very much like these kind of cardinals being here. I am reminded of the birds up in Minnesota, so many at the feeders and suet blocks, not only Cardinals, but Blue-Jays, Bluebirds and Goldfinches and Purple Finches and Finches and Waxwings and Mourning Doves and thrushes and owls from Barn to Great Horned, not to mention all kinds and sizes of woodpeckers, from the tiny Downy to the massive Pileated. On and on. It’s a good thing to rejoice in the creation of the Creator. Yes.
So, there I was, driving up to the bank Night Deposit just before nightfall after the Saturday Vigil Mass, and I saw a murder in progress, a huge raven was attacking a small and friendly Black-Snake, Rat-Snake, Bull-Snake, Eastern Racer, whatever name you have. These guys have no poison, no fangs, if they bite it doesn’t hurt. Super-friendly.
The raven didn’t want to give up. I almost had to physically remove him, but he finally flew away and then around, squawking and scolding at me the whole time. He was not happy with me at all. Meanwhile, I gently let the snake slither away into the parking lot bushes. I was happy for the snake. The ol’ raven can get another meal somewhere else. I want Rat-Snakes around as one of my neighbors has rats. The bank is in eye-shot of the rectory. Be as clever as a snake in making friends with unexpectedly helpful people. But be as innocent as a dove. Monsters might attack you. But you might get help from an unexpected source. Note the background picture of the blog and the header picture.
Hey! The Day Lilies are out in force! This one is especially for the Immaculate Conception as it is growing next to “Brake-Man”, the guy made from welded-together brakes. He’s next to her in front of the rectory. “Brake-Man” reminds me of Adam and how he but the brakes on all of us with original sin. But Mary, Jesus’ good mom, was free of original sin.
Oh, I forgot to tell you. Brake-Man, Adam, is covered over with greenery. But, let’s take a closer look. I think I hear something… What’s this?
I think I count six of them. The eggs were speckled blue. The mother seems to be speckled brown in color…
They’ll soon be singing their hearts out for Mary, as held by Adam, Brake-Man.
I recall my ordination to the priesthood in the middle of Winter. Totally unexpectedly – and many mentioned this to me afterward – song birds by the zillions had descended upon the lawn outside the chapel at time of the ordination and were singing their hearts out until the end of Mass and then departed. Mind you, this isn’t because I was being ordained, to become an alter Christus, but rather for Mary, who had interceded under the cross even for the likes of such a wretched wretch as me, and isn’t she good for doing that? Yes. And she did that for all of us. These cutie pies are just outside the chapel window at the rectory. :-)
During this Lent, it is the Purple Finch which abounds at the bird feeder out front of the rectory. Purple is penitential by way of remembering how the color purple was used against our Lord. Purple dye was extremely rare, extremely expensive, obtained only from certain mollusks up near Lebanon in the days when our Lord walked this earth, and therefore affordable only by kings. Remember when violent Herod clothed our Lord in a purple robe and sent Him back to Pontius Pilate?
Embrace purple. Carry with you the weight of the glory of God as He is mocked and ridiculed and scorned and sent to His torture and death, He, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace. Do that, and be free as a bird.
The Cardinal has been looking at himself in the side-view mirrors, pooping all over the doors. This has been going on for months. I put the bird feeder in front of the front picture window, and now he’s taken to looking at his reflection next to the bird feeder, pooping on the garden below (good) and eating less (good too).
That’s actually the main street you see out front, not my driveway. There’s an American flag to the far side of the Papal Flag, with the American flag taking its own right. But what about the lit menorah (with me being Jewish and a Catholic priest who eats bacon cheese burgers)? That’s a comment on so very many levels, is it not?
Anything “cardinal” is about the hinge effect (cardo=hinge), something on which other things turn. A cardinal sin spins off so many other sins.
The cardinal sins are superbia (hubris/pride), avaritia (avarice/greed), luxuria (extravagance, lust), invidia (envy), gula (gluttony), ira (wrath), and acedia (sloth). The fellow above is surely guilty of all these, but, with myself guilty in every way, who am I to judge?
These call to mind seven holy virtues, chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. But I’m sure this fellow has none of these virtues. I mean, how could he?
The actual cardinal virtues are four in number: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Don’t look to him for any example with any of these, except in the via negativa.
Perhaps you suspect that I am upset with this fellow. The sin of the cardinal or red-bird (toxaway in the local language of WNC) pictured above is not what you might think it is, however. It’s not that he’s vain, looking in the mirror 24/7/365, nor that he’s pooping all over my vehicle, nor even that he’s overly aggressive in attacking his rival in the mirror, nor that he’s surely cracking his beak and giving himself a headache and causing himself spinal injuries so that he will disable himself and won’t be helpful in feeding the young ones in the nest. The sin is that he’s showing me what a bad auto mechanic I am by ripping off my perfectly good gorilla tape (this is almost impossible for a human, much less for a little bird) which holds the windshield frame on, which holds the windshield on, more or less, and thus holds the cab on to the truck and holds the truck together. Here he is, arranging a little piece in his beak before taking off to show his prize for nest strength to his nesting spouse:
And then, just to rub it in, after he does that, he sings about it! The gall! The nerve! I mean, look at that top-near-corner of the windshield. It was fine all this time until he, my enemy, my nemesis, the destroyer of my one good vehicle, has appeared. What to do? I think I firstly need to give him a name. We are so afraid to name our enemies these days, you know, like ISIS and such as that. We are our own worst enemies. But in escaping that latter discussion of ourselves being our own worst enemies, I’ll just project all my troubles onto him and accuse him of everything horrible and evil. I suppose I could just call him the Red Terrorist, but that’s more of a title. I need a name, you know, to make it personal. Any suggestions? Any mythic demon from the underworld? And galactic satan from the meta-beyonds?
P.S. Pope Francis vehicles allow you to have some fun like this. ;-) Sometimes I think I have too much fun. This is a benefit of being utterly convinced at each moment that we can be ever so easily catastrophic disastrous victims of cardinal sins if we are without friendship with the Most High God of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them; He has us in the palm of His hand; He has us look to Him in rejoicing.
Oh, and, by the way, the local mechanic shop said they’ll try to attempt to bring Betsy the Nissan Pickup back to life first thing Monday morning. Resurrection in Holy Week!
I know it might be getting on toward Autumn where some of you are, while some of you are still in the silent dead of Winter. But here in Western North Carolina, it’s getting on toward Spring mighty quickly. The birds and the bees are impatient. And, as cute as they are, they can cause real trouble. Maybe a bird-house is in order. But what kind for this kind? Do you have any Spring Cleaning stories?