Brother Finch and the family Quail


(I know that sound.)


I replayed it in my head.

I turned to look through the sliding glass door leading to my patio.

Six months ago as an early spring increased the quail community outside my yard and the cactus wrens and mockers and squawkers, the rabbits and lizards repopulated  themselves, I cleared my head of winter grey and focused again on my favorite time of year, Though I live in the desert the changing seasons continue to have its affect; this was a day of new beginnings.

I was having breakfast as I recall, not on the patio yet, the mornings were still a bit crisp, but fully engaged in the process. I was watching the social events taking place, watching it all from my breakfast table. I could hear a peacock from a block away, wondering if this was the noisy fellow who had recently been starting his morning rounds by splattering green gooey stuff on the hood of my Chevy truck. Not that I was an actual target understand, but he seemed to be fancying the date palm near my parking spot as his new locale for performing his morning toilet.

As I bit from one of the cinnamon rolls I had prepared the night before, I noticed one of the quail families out for their morning walk. As I reached for my camera I was noticed by at least two members of this group but their reactions were quite the opposite of each other. Mother, who was at the front, led her chicks into the safety of the oleanders. At exactly the same time the chick bringing up the rear of this procession turned to look my way. Curiosity won out over alarm and little Chickee kid ran, no, sprinted the twenty feet from the perimeter of my yard to my patio. Scale speed would had to have been in the hundreds of miles per hour. Reaching the edge of the patio the four inch elevation slowed this little bird not at all. With the reflexes of a jungle cat our little scamp hopped upward and forward again without hesitation, continuing to bolt in my direction until he at last met his reflection in the patio door.


About face.

Sprint back to Mother.

Disappear quickly beneath the oleanders.

All of this activity took mere seconds.

No, I did not take pictures.

But there is a video in my head and an audio recording of the moment when Baby hit the glass.


I replayed it in my head.

I turned to look through the sliding glass door leading to my patio.

There, lying on its back was an adult male house finch.

I walked out to visit my careless neighbor.

I talked with this neighbor of mine; his feathers displayed a splash of red, coincidentally the color of blood.

I watched this fellow traveler as he shrugged his shoulders and died.

I planted him in the oleanders.

Wikipedia: male House Finch

Wikipedia: Gambel’s Quail


Doing Well

If you accepted the notion that Love is the only power greater than yourself, how would you explain that?

If you argued for a Power that did things for you, how would you describe that Power?

If you could describe God, what would you say?

If you were elected to be the Ruler of the Universe what Powers would you need to do your job well?

If at the end of your first term you were judged on how well you did your job, who would be your judge?

Tap, Tap, Tappin’.

I’m tap, tap, tappin’

At my itty, bitty laptop

Thinkin’ in my tip top

How to make it stop, stop.

Soundin’ kinda hip hop.

Wundrin’ how to say what I mean.


Nuff said.

I just finished watching a two hour movie in Spanish.

I don’t speak Spanish.

It was a scenario with a psychedelic blend of imaginary cultures in an unfamiliar world,  ten thousand years or so ago, give or take a century or two.

None of the different cultures understood each other’s words. There were people fighting, there was a love story, two wars, terrifying conflicts with carnivorous giant ostriches, a saber-tooth tiger and lots of mastodons.

There was a complicated story line and occasionally I would say to myself “Well, what the hell, if this was truly ten thousand years ago I wouldn’t speak those languages either.

When the movie was over I understood the entire thing. It might of well have been the English version. It didn’t matter. The words, dammit. They didn’t mean anything at all. Only hours ago I walked away from the end of a seventeen year old friendship. We fought over the fact that even though we both speak English-Only, we don’t speak the same language.

 I know what the movie was about.

I know nothing of value about the real life story. Nothing. Absolutely NOTHING.

I’m tap, tap, tappin’

At my itty, bitty laptop

Thinkin’ in my tip top

How to make it stop, stop.

Soundin’ kinda hip hop.

Wundrin’ how to say what I mean.

Wundrin’ how to say what I mean

Closing the Johnny Piss-off File.

Near my front door. New blossoms daily. At night they close their petals and sleep.

Good morning, Friend.

I had difficulty in greeting the day, today. However…………………..

You were in my Gratitude Prayer when I awoke this morning and again when I went for my Sunday Morning Walk and yet again as I began writing this post.

My brain still has a “Johnny Piss-off” file but I think I’m the only one left in there.

I awoke you see, with a shiver in my quiver and a weak upper lip. However………………

I was awakened by the birdies and warmed by the morning sun and I’m beginning to feel my toenails grow.

How about you my friend? How about you?

(And, then the phone rang.)

Posted in Love. Tagged blossoms, friends, gratitude, prayer. Edit

Randy and Betsy and Nick and Shawn and a gathering of friends.

On my way to Randy and Betsy’s home this evening I noticed to my disappointment that it was already dark.  Six O Clock and the sun was going down. Will I be able to find them this time?

A year or so earlier I had driven toward their home in North Scottsdale. It was a beautiful Sunday during the middle of the day and I had managed to get lost in a neighborhood that had once been mine. Tonight I had a map. And this time it was dark.

I have a problem reading street signs at night. My left eye is succumbing to the splatter of glaucoma as the spots grow larger and the spaces closer together. The right eye is the one I rely on to get me from here to there and it does a great job. Moving objects are large enough to see as are street light and overhead street signs. Less likely to grab my attention are the two-inch high letters on street corner signs. At night however with the fuzziness of a yellowing lens this cataract shows me who‘s boss. But I got there okay. Hand written directions written on the map-“go a block to the right and then left”- saved the day, or in this case, the evening.

To myfriend Dan:  :“I met a new friend tonight, Dan. His name is Shawn Greer. Speaks highly of you. Good guy. We talked about the creative side of our lives. He added some magic to my day. His magic act was the warm-up for Nick Heward or so he said. Nick added magic as well.“

Shawn Greer is a magical kind of fellow. He introduced himself by asking if I had experienced any magic in my day and I said Yes, all day, and suddenly there was a “poof” of fire bursting from the center of the table where we sat and a deck of cards appeared; I quickly learned what agog means.

Nick Heward is an exceptionally talented young song writer-musician with a unique style and an amazing gift for captivating his audience. In this case there were perhaps fifty people and we listened to Nick perform a dozen or so songs. I believe they were all his own creations except perhaps, two, no make that three. I wanted to rise and establish an encore but in the end Nick was getting fidgety and ended his seated performance by rising to his feet and thanking us all, at which point  Randy  enteried the staging area to thank our guest performer. Nick told us of a musical event taking place at Arizona’s largest homeless shelter, CASS. I will assemble some information about this event and report at

What a wonderful evening this was. I sat on the front row with Nicks young lady, Mandy, and noticed her smile as Nick sang about his brunette beauty. Betsy washed my empty salad bowl (they ate the whole thing) and I passed out hugs and made my exit.

Her Grave Manner

After I found myself mateless, petless and somewhat hapless some years back it was suggested to me by a psychologist pal of mine that I needed to make some new friends and that among them there should be some females. It was also suggested that I refrain from dating anyone or to even consider any such activities for at least a couple of years. I needed to know, or so I was told, how to establish friendships with women.

The first of these was a woman named Mary Kay. Getting to know Mary Kay as a pal was really difficult. I had no experience at this. For a year or so we did stuff together, talked, played tennis (she played tennis. I played stand up ping-pong), hiked, biked, swam and even did some traveling. When she started hinting that she wanted to introduce me to her parents I got nervous; that didn’t sound like buddy stuff to me. Occasionally she would ask if I was free to visit with them and I would make an excuse.

One day she said to me “Lee, howsabout we put some sandwiches and some potato salad into that picnic basket of yours and we’ll go find an empty park.”

“Where on earth will we find and empty park?” I wondered out loud; My friend smiled and  I accepted her plan; the next day on our way to this as yet unidentified park, Mary Kay, who was doing the driving that day, pulled into a cemetery.

“What are we doing here?”

“We just found an empty park. Like it?”

“Not really.” I didn’t complain but I wasn’t really possessed with an overabundance of enthusiasm either. We put a blanket on the ground and started spreading lunch around. A few pillow and we were in business. As I dished out some Cole slaw I happened to notice that there were two headstones near us, the last names of which matched Mary Kay’s. I also noticed that these two people, a man and a woman were about twenty-five years older than my picnic pal.

“Lee” said my impish friend as she caught me looking, “I’d like you to meet my parents.”

I suppose you’re wondering how I felt. The answer was that I was so astonished at what was happening that I was not aware of feelings. I could tell you that I learned a lot about relationships that day but I’d be exaggerating. Actually, I only began to learn or perhaps discover what I had learned over time, that day. An article that I posted recently about my parents triggered other thoughts about familial relationships and this memory surfaced. It spoke to me about the strength of families and how they can endure and I was reminded that a life doesn’t just vanish as long as the memory lives on. This one single event, a picnic with a friend in the company of departed parents revealed more about the character of Mary Kay than I had discovered in the several years that we had been friends.

Driving to the Park One Day

I was driving at the speed limit. The driver in the car behind me was tailgating. As the distance between cars diminished my breathing became shallow, my abdominal muscles grew taut and my mind screamed insults. It appeared that the other driver wanted me to increase my speed which was in conflict with my choice not to drive faster than the speed limit. I pulled to the side of the road. As I did so I noticed my body’s stress responses begin to relax.

This was at 6:00 am this morning. Workers across the street from my home had wakened me from a pleasant dream only fifteen minutes earlier. How dare they make those horrible noises so early in the morning.

I was driving to a public park for the sole purpose of starting my day with a modicum of serenity. And now I was sitting by the side of the road remembering a younger self who once thought it smart to tap the brakes when confronted by aggressive drivers following impatiently behind. And, I remembered that after several years of doing this that I eventually put my family in danger after such an event as the other driver chased us, gun in hand until I finally ran across a police car. After reporting the other driver who by now had successfully fled the scene, and after signing the tickets written by a police officer who was not impressed with my remedy for discouraging tailgaters, that I promised myself to find a better way to deal with aggressive drivers in the future.

The conflict that I described here was not as it seemed, between right and wrong ways of driving or between how to handle another driver. I was conflicted with how to best protect my inner self. There will always be demands by others on myself and my values. The scenario described in the previous paragraph appeared to between two people but it was not. The voices in my head come from my sense of right and wrong on the one hand and the eternal conflict between the self and the voice of society on the other. In my mind I heard the police officer, the judge; I remembered the fine and I remembered most of all, the fear as I fled from danger.

The only thing about that memory of fleeing the would-be assailant and the events preceding this chase that protects me from my desire to mentally flog myself is the memory of the necessity to protect my children. I had no fear of being harmed; I had to protect my family. There were no judgmental thoughts about the other driver; I was totally focused on protecting my family. When the chase was over and the officer had written his tickets, after signing these documents and after driving my family home; only then did I fully realize what I had done and only then was I able to understand that I must learn not to allow others to trigger the inner voices of discontent. And I knew that much of the rest of my life would be devoted to learning how to become a better me. And this was all that made it possible to forgive myself that day thirty years ago as I left City Hall, several hundred dollars poorer and with the judge’s voice replaying in my head. “Mr. Broom, your pride could have gotten you all killed”.