Sunday, February 26, 2006

Untamable II

As we walked and waded, I told Liz about an amazing animal behaviorist named Turid Rudgrass. Turid discovered a universal animal language called "Calming Signals." She teaches a series of over thirty body postures that all animals understand. By using these signals, it is possible for humans to get extremely close to wild animals without alarming them.

After my little lesson, I took Liz to a favorite little spot in the springs, and suggested we lay on the sand and imagine images in the clouds.

In reality, I had a hidden agenda.

I wanted her to be quiet and still. I pulled out my camera and the oatmeal cookies that I had so carefully packed in plastic that morning.

It didn't take long for the Giant Florida Otter to appear. I nugged Liz and gave her a cookie.
"Use the calming signals, wade on in, and give him a piece of cookie."
She literally quivered with excitement. Then used the postures, and eased into the water. The Otter read her signals as non threatening, accepted the cookies, and began to swim circles around her, doing flips and spins for more.

For almost an hour, I sat on the beach taking photos of the playful pair. Liz would go underwater, and the Otter would follow, then he would spin, and she would follow. It was nature's ballet.

Then suddenly, without notice, the Otter disappeared.

"Did I do something to scare him?" Liz asked.
I paused to assess the situation. Something was amiss.

"The birds stopped singing." I said as I motioned for Liz to move closer.
Then I saw it.

"We're being watched." I whispered.
Liz followed my gaze, and froze dead in her tracks.

"What do we do?" She mouthed like a silent ventriloquist.
The panther was intent on us, crouched down and quivering. The Cat's message was clear, and it was NOT a calming signal!

"Don't look at her. Keep your eyes and body in a submissive posture. Let's just act like a couple of manatees, and float on by...Just like a natural part of the environment."

"At least cats don't like water."
"House cats don't, but Florida Panthers are excellent swimmers."

"Do they eat manatees?"

"Good point. Be a log. Float away like a lazy ol' log. And whatever you do, don't think about fear. She'll sense it."

Slowly we sunk into the current, gaining distance, nearing the bend. When, to our astonishment, we heard the cry of kittens.


We could hardly believe it. Our eyes locked in silent amazement, as we drifted away from her den. When we reached a safe distance, I hid behind a tree and took a slew of pictures, loving my 20X zoom like never before.

"Man, the gang is NEVER going to believe this!" Liz squealed.


She was right. They didn't. When we got back to the hotel, I discovered that I had forgotten to put the card reader in the camera that morning. We had nothing but a good fish story to tell.

"Oh well, at least we have the memory." Liz said sympathetically.

"Yeah." I sighed. "We'll always have that."

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Untamable Land

After my visit with the Kestrels at the Wildlife Center, I went back to the hotel and found Liz at the bar, with her nose in a book, as usual.

"Feel like an adventure?"
"Sure." She replied.

I led her down the beach, past all the long rows of oil covered tourists, frying themselves like bacon in the sun. We turned and headed into the jungle, to the places the snowbirds dare not tread.

Liz walked with trepidation through the heavy brush, and with good reason. They do not call Florida "The Untamable Land" for nothing.

In moments, we found ourselves in a completely different world, surrounded by Mother Natures glory.

Wildlife was everywhere. Our path led to one of Florida's majestic river springs. Florida has more class one springs than any other place in the world. Fresh crystal clear water bubbles up from deep underground, and remains a constant 72 degrees all year. They flow to the ocean, mixing with the sea, forming a brackish mix of fresh and salt that can support all forms of marine life.

We waded, and swam, and swung on the vines like playful children. Our spirits glowed brighter than the noon day sun.

We came upon a baby manatee and her mother. They floated lazily without a care in the world, and we followed their lead, and did the same.

We saw fish in every shape size and color imaginable, and did our best to identify each species, but in the end, we could not, so we had big fun creating names of our own.

It was a magic moment.

Pale in comparison to what happened next...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Look at This!

My good friend over at Decadent Tranquility has created a wonderful image of Kestrels that has sent my spirit flying!

Thanks Tree for creating one more example of syncronicity in my life!

Melancholy Moments

Melancholy moments,
Old age creeping in,
Feeling bland and tired,
Golden linings turn to tin.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The American Kestrel

Watch the video
This is some basic info on The American Kestrel, with a lesson on Positive reenforcment and animal handling from The Intuitive, Carol Mock.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Gooma and Nana Ruth

My grandmothers were polar opposites. Nana Ruth was a petite woman who decorated her little surburban ranch house in the French Rococo style. She had a closet full of fancy boxes filled with decorative hats for every occasion. She had a drawer filled with monogramed silk hankercheifs, and every ilk of ladies gloves. When we would visit on holidays, she would take us shopping for new clothes, then parade us around town to the ladies of the country club.

She always had a batch of slice-n-bake cookies ready, and kept me busy with a lovely little china tea set.

Gooma on the other hand, was a real card. She taught me to play poker in her breakfast nook when I was still in diapers. Her house smelled of fried chicken, musty books, and flowers. Gooma was a nurse who spent most of her career working with babies. She always wanted us around. I think I spent more of my childhood at her house then I did at my own home. I spent hours sitting at the piano with her singing songs like "Bill Bailey won't you Please come Home" and "Down in the Red River Valley." She taught me to sing. She told me stories. She taught me to read. She taught me gardening, first aid, and fishing.

Fishing is all about patience, you know; A tough lesson for a little wiggle worm like me, but one I learned well.

I remember catching 114 bluegill in one day, and counting them all as we gently released them. I remember falling into Whetstone Casting Pond, and emerging with a baby snapping turtle latched on to my shoe. We took the Turtle home, and Gooma told me that it would let go of my keds when the sun went down. She was right, as always.

Gooma took us everywhere. Every day with her was a new adventure. We would drive the hilly backroads and pretend we were on a roller coaster. We picnicked in the park, and played hide and seek in real graveyards. We went to art and history museums. I particularly loved the mummy at The Ohio Historical Society.

It turns out that I did not really know these women, until many years after they died.

When Nana was fading, she was forced to sell her home and go to a nursing facility. She was so upset, she refused to eat. I came to feed her, three meals a day for a period of two years. At the time, I thought we were getting along very well. When she passed, I found out that several years prior, she had written me out of her will stating that she "did not approve of my lifestyle."

Funny. She never said a word to me about that.

After Gooma passed, I found out that she had been engaged to one of the most powerful wealthy men in America, but she turned him down, saying that "although she loved him, she could just not live the life of a debutante." I inherited the engagement ring that he apparently asked her to keep.

I also found out that the big statue of "The Dough Boy" gracing the front of The Ohio Historical Society was modeled after her twin bother Harold.

Funny. She never said a word to me about that.

For me, that silent statue is a proud testimony of the woman she was, and the one I have become.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hawk Feeding Video

Red Shouldered Hawk

Watch the video
This female Red Shouldered Hawk was hit by a car. She is blind, and has a broken leg. In time, she may regain partial sight in one eye. The leg is healing nicely, and she is adjusting well to life at the rehab center. She is a calm and gentle soul with a sweet disposition. This video shows how we are feeding her.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Deer Medicine

I have a dear friend, who has been through a tough decade. Her story is her own to tell, so suffice to say, this has been a year of resurfacing from the drowning pool.

Yesterday was her one year anniversary of recovery and renewal. To celebrate, she went into the woods, to find The Magical Maggie's Special Tree.

This tree is a wonderment to behold. A Grand Sycamore, with an opening in it's base so large that half a dozen people can step inside. It's sort of like a giant living Teepee.

Maggie told her to "set her Intent" during her woodland walk, and ask Spirit to reveal it's Gifts.

As she walked, searching for the tree, she was startled by a deer. The Great Doe just stood and watched her, until she turned. At that moment, the Secret Tree revealed itself.

Later, as she was leaving, she came upon some Bones. They were the hip bones of a Deer. She picked them up, thanking Spirit for her gifts.

"Deer medicine is gentleness in word, thought and deed. It is the ability to listen. It is grace and appreciation for the beauty of balance, understanding of what's necessary for survival. It teaches the ability to sacrifice for the higher good, living in balance with the woodland spirits. Deer has many alternative paths to a goal. The gentleness of Deer is the heart-space of the Great Spirit which embodies love for us all. Deer teaches us to find the gentleness that heals all wounds, to stop pushing to get others to change, and to love and accept them as they are."

She thought about these qualities, and realized this teaching has been calling to her for weeks. This message was the theme of her favorite T.V. show last week. It was the message she read in a book that fell from the shelf at her feet while she was cleaning, and the topic of a speech she attended.

She said this lesson was key to her growth and healing.

You will have to trust me, Dear Reader, when I tell you I know her well enough to confirm, this is indeed very true.

A Gruesome Scene

This memory was inspired by Liz.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Of Stereotypes and Archetypes

Over at The Den of The Biting Beaver a spirited discussion has taken place regarding the use of feminine pronouns.

One side states that terms like Maiden, Mother, Crone, and Virgin are negative stereotypes that define women in terms of her sexuality and fertility.

The other side (by that I mean me) claims that these archetypes are not inherently negative, but only become so when we choose to see the world through a patriarchal lens.

Many of the women involved in this debate were adamant in their stance that they do not fit traditional gender roles, and therefore do not connect to these particular archetypes.

The wonderful thing about archetypes and symbols is that there are so many of them, that we all have an opportunity to choose the ones we identify with as individuals.

Religion is the same way. There are thousands of sects out there to choose from, and each person must go on their own personal journey to find what works best for them.

The thing that disturbs me in all this, is the insistence that there is only ONE right way. This instance degrades respectful debate to the level of personal attacks. (Like the current Muhammad Cartoon Controversy.)

If I find the archetype of The Crone as a positive symbol of Wise Woman and Healer, The stereotype crowd says I am wrong, because there are people in the world who see the crone as a post menopausal douche bag.

I suspect they are leading their argument to the conclusion that all feminine pronouns should be banned, and that I should define women by using *superior* male pronouns, in the fight for equality.

Personally I feel that this just reinforces the idea that women are inferior. I believe that this approach does more harm to the feminist cause than the Patriachal Powers we stand against. I claim that we should use feminine pronouns with pride, and in doing so, we will create respect for women.

The only difference between a stereotype and an archetype is that one is used to degrade, while the other is used to inspire.

The group did not see it that way. I lost the debate.

Alas, each to their own. As for me, I choose to focus on the Positive.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Zoom Do

Watch the video
The Kids aksed me to make a clip to send to Zoom, a kids TV show, but when we got done, we noticed that the logo on the shirt was not really appropriate for childrens broadcasting.

Pouncing Puppy


Here is my first VIDEO POST!!!!!

Im still learning, so for now, you have to click the title (Pouncing Puppy) to get it to play. Hitting the play button does not work because Im posting from a Mac and it does not have the wysiwyg editor.

In the video Sandy Dandy is having a ball bouncing on the trampoline, but the question is What makes herr jump?


My appologies

My appologies for going on another of my religious history rants, but every mornig when I read the newspaper, it jumps up in my face.

I remember in the sixties when all the beetle cars and VW busses had "God is Love" bumper stickers.

These days it seems like the mantra is "God is War."

The latest outrage is over a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad. Some Muslims are so angry over this cartoon that they are causing an international stir. Embassies are being evacuated, goods are being boycotted, violence is erupting, and a priest was killed.

They say it is against their religion to depict any visual image of Muhammad. They cry for others to respect their faith.

I respect the divine feminine, therefore I am offended by any and all abuse of women. The beating and mutilation of a woman is a far cry worse than a silly cartoon in my book. So what do ya say folks: I promise not to draw cartoons if you promise not to beat, rape, stone, or murder women. Deal?

Monday, February 06, 2006


When we study history, it is imperative to understand the context of the time, and the customs of the people we are reading about.

Current events have taught the peoples of the West just how strict many customs are in The Middle East. Ancient Sumerian marriages had specific and strictly adhered to customs.

The rite of Hieros Gamos (Etymology, Greek: "hieros" = holy and "gamos" = marriage) included a ritual in which the bride prepared her bridegrooms feast and then anointed his feet with spikenard while he sat at the table in front of their guests. After the ceremony the couple would join, just as we do during the honeymoon. (Often this joining implied the union of diety and human, usually associated with a Goddess or Priestess, who wed a ruler and thus santificed his sovergnty, but in this case, the reverse is implied, unless one assumes that Jesus was first in line as the Davidic King, and Mary was a High Priestess of the Essene order, but I digress, as thats another post entirely.)

My point is that this marital annointing ritual was as prevalent among the people of Jesus, as our own custom of having the bride and groom exchange rings.

Now that you know the context, what does this passage from The Bible about the feast of Bethany imply?

"Then Mary took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anoited the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Superbowl Sunday

The Rolling Stones will be playing the half time show at today's Superbowl, which reminds me of the time I played rhythm guitar for a band years ago. Sympathy for The Devil was one of our songs. It was back in the days of listening to a song thousands of times, writing down the words, and picking out the chords.

For an entire year we were stumped by a line..."Patendacades" We had no idea what the h*ll a patendacade was, but we sang it loud and sang it proud anyway.

Turns out the line was "for ten decades"

OHHHHH. Right.

Today I will be going to my monthy women's circle for a pregame boost. The "game" we have been asked to play in our circle, is that we must each get up and announce who we are. I have known these women for a long time, so this is not about the usual superficial name, city, occupation stuff.

No. In this exercise, we are to proclaim who we truly are, body mind and soul.

I've been mulling the idea for several days, but have not written anything down. I'm thinking that I will say something like this:

I am Kelley Elizabeth, also known as Kelley Bell.
I am a ringer of truth, and I never lie.

Kelley means Warrior Woman, and comes from the Goddess Kali of the Hindu faith.

I am called Wee-Hawk, Tigger and Sunshine.
I am an artist, writer, and cultivator of dreams.

I have traveled with the circus, and have sawdust in my shoes.
I have lived on the ocean, and have salt in my veins.
I have climbed many mountains, and carry rocks in my pockets.

I am a Blackbelt with a quarter of a century of disciplined training. I seek peace through strength, enlightenment through meditation,

and I am deadly with a blade.

I am well schooled in the healing arts of old, and honor the ancients for their wisdom.
I am child, sister, wife, mother and friend, and I am content to be in my own skin.

I was born under the sign of the White Tigress,
trained by the Black Panther,
and adopted by the Red Tailed Hawk.

My life is but a single flicker in a sea of stars, destined to fade, and alter eternity.
I am grateful for every second that my star is permitted to shine.

I speak in defense of Mother Nature, and raise my weapons against injustice. I fight for the survival of the seventh generation, and hold all creation as sacred, refusing to place Man outside or above any other living thing.

I honor the circle of life, and accept death as a necessary part of the balance.

I am student, teacher, warrior, and healer.
I walk the path of The Crone with pride.


That's what Im thinking about saying, but Im going in without a script, so who knows what might pop out!

You just never know what might happen in a "big game" hee hee hee

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Albaneze Falcon Flushing Dogs

I took my mixed breed pound puppies to their first agility class last night, on the recommendation of my dear friend and animal expert Barbara Ray

When the time came to introduce my dogs to the group, Barbara spoke up and informed the class that my pups were "a pair of rare and exotic Albaneze Falcon Flushing Dogs, selectively bred for hundreds of years by the Arab Falconers of the Middle East, to flush prey for their hunting raptors."

Everyone in the class was duly impressed, including several dog breederrs and veteran obedience trainers, that is, until the head instructor patted her on the shoulder and replied "That's very nice Barbara. We'll all just play along like we believe you."

The laughter that ensued made my puppies feel quite special, and got the class off to a tail wagging good start.

Even Boogers

My eight year old looked up from his toys with a profound and sudden thought to share, as kids often do.
"Heaven might be the stars Mom!"
"Yes, it might. Heaven might be in EVERYTHING! Can you imagine that? The stars, the air, you, me...Everything."
"Even my toys?"
"Even your toys."
"Even Boogers?"
"Yes, even Boogers." I giggled with bemusement.

"Even Boogers."

Friday, February 03, 2006


An elementary school class started a class project to make planters to take home to their parents.

They wanted to have a plant in it that was easy to take care of, so they decided to use cactus plants.

The students were given green-ware pottery planters in the shape of clowns which they painted with glaze.

The clown planters were professionally fired at a class outing so they could see the process.

It was great fun!

They planted cactus seeds in the finished planters and they grew nicely, but unfortunately, the children were not allowed to take them home.

The cactus plants were removed and small ivy replaced them and the children were then allowed to take them home instead.

The teacher said cactus seemed like a good idea at the time!

Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes.

Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

The above is a summery of the more detailed orignal article "Fascism Anyone?" first published in Spring 2003 edition of Free Inquiry