It’s late spring/early summer in the Northern Hemisphere which means snakes and other reptiles are once again active. This past week, I had multiple encounters with beautiful snakes in my sister’s yard here in North Carolina where I’m visiting. Of course, I do realize not everyone shares my love of nature, nor my fascination with snakes. Some of you are surely cringing right now at the mere thought of being greeted by a snake outside your door, especially a surprise visit because you had forgotten to be aware of them.
My sisters and I agree (as snake experts recommend) with letting the harmless snakes, such as the Black Racer, have free reign outside because they control rodent populations and actually keep poisonous snakes away from the house. I have some friends who say the only good snake is a dead snake. However, I think those feelings are a result of not fully understanding how snakes fit into the ecosystem.
For centuries, cities have competed with their rivals to attract and retain humanity’s best, brightest and strongest. The battles fought between Athens and Sparta during the Golden Age of Greece more than 2,000 years ago provide a good example as did the competition between Florence and Sienna to be at the epicenter of the Italian Renaissance.
A similar competitive spirit has been on full display over the past year as more than 100 cities in the USA and Canada vie for Amazon.com’s second headquarters (HQ2) and its promised 50,000 jobs and billions of dollars in investment. While it isn’t surprising that mayors from coast to coast–especially those leading rust-belt cities such as Detroit–would be pulling out all stops to win such a prize, they would be wise to get a first-hand view of the challenges such instant prosperity can bring.
Try as I might to limit my exposure to too much negativity, on most days I’m a dedicated news junkie. However, sometimes all the buzz and spin become so overwhelming that I have to unplug for a few days. Such was the situation this past week.
I’ve been visiting long-time friends in Seattle for the past two weeks and I managed to escape the city for some much needed serenity in the Pacific Northwest’s great outdoors.
I had two experiences that I’m featuring here in video format. In the first, I was lectured by a Douglas Squirrel as he peered down at me from above. In the other, I was transported to a serene world where the only sound was rushing water tumbling over smooth rocks created millions of years ago.
I had a dream this week–one of those part whimsical, part terrifying nocturnal romps through the subconscious mind. I’ll warn you, the dreams that I remember the morning after are in vivid color and peppered with detail.
In my dream, I found myself standing in a crowd that had gathered along the fence facing the North Lawn of the White house. Between the fountain and the north portico of the building stood Donald Trump, dressed in full-on matador costume complete with a glowing red cape he held aloft in his tiny right hand.
The North Lawn of the White House with the sidewalk along Pennsylvania Avenue at bottom–the setting for my dream. Photo Credit: Wikipedia