Sunday, February 19, 2017

Thoughts about Freedom

I've Fallen behind again and missed the letter "E" post for ABC Wednesday.  I kept putting away my eagle drawing after Frustrated attempts to improve it.  The good news is that when time ran out, I realized this week's letter "F" would Fit nicely instead since Flying must be the ultimate Freedom.  Many thanks to all the volunteers who keep my Favourite alphabet meme Functioning smoothly. I'm posting to Eileen's Saturday's Critters meme as well.  Thank you, Eileen, for your Fabulous dedication to the sharing of pets and wildlife around the world!
Here is the link to the Youtube video that guided the eagle drawing. Leonardo Pereznieto gave Fine instruction but my rendition of his eagle Failed to achieve the realistic look I wanted.  Still, I had Fun and Feel I'm learning a little bit more with each drawing.  I thought I might be able to improve the drawing by adding some sea and sky behind the eagle.  This image in a Karen Gillmore art lesson  (scroll to the bottom of the page) gave me some ideas for that.
In Fact, trying to incorporate similar scenery behind the eagle presented its challenges too, but with some new watercolour pencils, I gave it my best effort. You will be glad to know that even if I were still employed, I wouldn't think of Forgoing my day job. :) When I looked at the drawing as it appeared in this post, it seemed pale and washed out, so..    
I got the drawing out again, and added colour accents to the sky and water and some green lines to represent "trees" at the edge of the water. I am enjoying my attempt to acquire a new skill at age 70 though I clearly underestimated the amount of time, Fortitude and Forbearance it would take to keep it going.
Having the time in retirement years to pursue unrealized dreams is something I Fantasized about. Now that I'm "here", I realize there are always limits on what we can do in life.  Those limits change as we grow older but time is the one Factor that will steadfastly move ahead in spite of us.  All to say, I have great respect for the person who bought a kite, packed it up, made the trek to Vanier Park, and spent several hours on a beautiful day to fly the kite shown below. I began the post by saying that surely flying is the ultimate freedom, but in fact, the liberation is in making the decision to fly with our dreams, whatever they are.  
The same day Bill and I watched that lovely kite spinning through the air, we also watched this Fellow learning to kitesurf.  He almost Flew against his will..
but managed to pull his kite back to earth before disaster struck.
I've never tried this sport.  I do dream at times of Floating freely through the air, but the logistics of choosing equipment, hauling it to the park, assembling it, and Figuring out how to operate it would take much of the "free" feeling away from the experience. But, this man persisted in spite of challenges!  Good for him!
We watched the Redwing Blackbirds that day as well.  This male..
flew behind a young couple.  I liked to imagine they were in love and Fancy Free.
The Redwing,however, had no illusions of being fancy free.  It was Spring and he was calling to his mate.
Before I became addicted to taking pictures, I really hadn't given the skill of flying much serious thought.  It was only after several months that I learned that many young birds (some say as high as 50%) Fall on their First Flight.  These two young eagles were born this past spring at Vanier Park. Bill and I rode to the park quite Frequently, hoping to Follow their progress.
There was a lot of drama in their lives, much of it documented on the Hancock Forum.  While the Father eagle has remained at the park for quite a number of years (I think at least 11) and raised many chicks, the last Few summers have proved unlucky for his mates.  Two Females died after being run into power lines by angry crows.  (The eagles eat quite a number of young crows).  In 2015, a new mother showed up but she was so uncomfortable with all the activity around the park, she wasn't able to hatch any eggs.  However, in 2016, two chicks hatched but she left when they were only a few days old and nobody is sure that she ever returned.  Dad was incredible during that time, managing to protect his young from the crows but he was bound to the nest for ten days and unable to hunt for food.  Some eagle followers were aware of the drama, and they placed Fresh Fish at the Foot of the tree for those days, and amazingly, the little ones survived.  A female (most do not believe she was the original mom) arrived ten days later, and slowly, she accepted the chicks and began to help Pa with Feedings.
As you can see in the photos above and below, the chicks Flourished.  I'm sorry I can't tell you if this is Ma or Pa bringing the food in.
It was fun to watch the stage when the chicks began to prepare to Fledge.  At first they clung to a branch, waving their wings vigorously to develop the muscles that would eventually allow them to Float through the air.
Next, they went to the top of the tree and practiced..

jumping (known as branch hopping) to a lower branch.
This was the older of the two chicks by a couple of days. I saw this flight a day after his or her very first flight so flying was still quite a novel experience.
I worried when I saw the crows giving chase..
but was relieved and impressed with the youngster's graceful flight..
and safe landing.
The younger sibling took off moments later.  Apparently, they had both taken their first flight the same day.  S/he also looked really proficient to me,
preparing here for a slightly..
confused landing, but happily, a safe one.

Still on the theme of flying, Bill and I spent quite a bit of time last summer watching the goslings around Granville Island.  Many do not realize that both male and female geese moult when Ma is expecting, thus losing their ability to fly. Flight is only regained when their young are ready to Fledge.  This is a time when I feel particularly upset when people let their dogs chase the geese.  
This juvenile was exploring happily when s/he suddenly realized the parents and other siblings (there were many!) had moved on.  
S/he tried to catch up with the others, but those wings were not yet Functional.
 "Phew!  I'm not going to let THAT happen again."   
Another day, Bill and I walked up the street and saw a small plastic tent with these butterflies inside.  I was sad to see them confined but learned that they were just about to be released.  What a Fantastic story!   Since monarch butterflies are endangered, there are now kits available to raise them in captivity and release them to the wild.  Schools are becoming involved in this, giving students the understanding that they have the power to make positive changes in their environment.  Here's a link for more information.
It was later in the summer when we saw this Swallowtail.  It seemed to be very Fond of the wonderful flowers in the gardens near Granville Island.
Whether outspread or Folded, I Found its wings extraordinarily beautiful.
This was the only shot I managed of a Mallard in flight this past summer.
I did better with my photos of dragonflies, I think.  This one's Fluttering wings..
were Fetching indeed!
All of the photos after the eagle drawing were taken last Spring and Summer but we are moving into the present now for the rest of the post.  Since we are still on the subject of critters, I thought you might like to see Black Jack's Fascination with the resident cat during a recent visit to the vet.  
The cat was exceedingly confident and not the least bit Fazed by..
Black Jack's Fastidious scrutiny.
I mentioned that I had some new watercolour pencils.  In fact, I was unaware such a thing existed, but when I saw them in an art lesson and told Bill about them, he thought it a great idea to Foot it downtown to Opus Art Store.  It is housed in the Dominion Building (bottom of the street at the left).
What a display of pencils and pens and every art tool Fathomable!
Bill and Black Jack, Foremost buddies in my happy life, waited by the easels while I made a selection.
Bill's sense of Fun never Fails to make me smile.
My thoughts of Freedom as I've moved through this post were at first linked to Flying, but have now come to the realization that simple rights to enjoy signs of Spring, to spend time..
at our Favourite café, watching light Filter through Black Jack's ears,
to admire colourful umbrellas with Fancyfree images,
to revel in 12-year-old Black Jack's ability to Fly through the air,
to be just a little Foolish..
 as we Frolic..
 in the snow..
 on our cardboard toboggan..
 on my 70th birthday,
and to be quite Flighty and Flirtatious on Valentine's Day - well those, along with the ability to reach out in Friendship to so many dearly appreciated bloggers, are the ultimate Freedoms that I will always and Forever celebrate.  Thank you so much for stopping by.