Charming Book- A Charm of Goldfinches and other wild gatherings

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I’m always on the lookout for interesting nature books. Imaging my surprise when I found out there was a place I could request books before they were published and they would send them to me in return for feedback and an honest review. Amazing!

That is how I found A Charm of Goldfinches and other wild gatherings by Matt Sewell. If you have ever wondered what a grouping of a particular animal is called, this book is for you. The book is divided in three parts; Land, Air, and Water. Each part includes a good amount of different animals and what a grouping of them is called. You get a few paragraphs of information with each animal and a beautiful illustration. The illustrations alone are worth the book, they are lovely.

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A Crash of Hippos Illustration by Matt Sewell

This is a book I enjoyed. The information provided was short and interesting, varying between animal facts and history of where the name of the grouping came from. I think it would be a great gift for any nature lover in your life. I think it is also a great book for older children and middle school level kids, but also a book adults would enjoy. I still go back to look at the images.

Some of the grouping names, if you are a person that likes nature, might be known to you. I know there were a few I already knew; pride of lions, murder of crows, and a school of whales. However, there were many more I didn’t know; charm of goldfinches (lovely), business of ferrets (cute), and fever of stingrays (scary). I learned a few things and I loved my time reading this.

Overall, I would say this book is fun and quirky, not a hard read and would make a great gift.

Chimney by the Woods

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There’s a chimney in the middle of the woods. The only remnant of what once was. A relic of a not so distant past. What was once the bones of this house, now lie as rubble scattered across. Yet, the chimney stands tall, daring us to imagine all the lives that found heat and warmth near it. Long lived lives, short lived lives, sad lives, happy lives, many lives; all their essence represented in this chimney by the woods.

This chimney might have helped cooked dinners, tasty dishes made over the fire. Once, this chimney could have kept a family warm on a cold winters night. It might have even been witnessed to declarations of love. How many secrets has it kept, burned by it’s flames?

In times gone by, this chimney was full of life. Now, this chimney is lucky if it provides a home for a squirrel or a few birds trying to nest. Human eyes might not set their gaze in this chimney for days, weeks or months. Oh, the stories this chimney could tell!

I see this chimney and I wonder, what relics of my history will I leave behind? What will carry my essence once I’m gone?

Moving

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Before the year ends we will be moving to a new house. We are so excited about this, a blank space for me and my boyfriend to occupy. It’s a great opportunity for us, our pets will have more space, we will have more space. This is a literal move, but it has got me thinking of other moves we will be making.

After this past election, I went through a stage of grief. Not because my candidate lost, I don’t think I had one (I did go vote though), but because it really did felt like people let hate win. I will give the new president the benefit of the doubt, but to be honest he doesn’t worry me as much as the people that voted for him for deeper darker reasons. We can no longer pretend we are progressive. We can no longer pretend that as long as you work hard you can accomplish anything. That will greatly depend on your sex, sexual preference, and skin color.  After my grief passed, I realized thanks to my support system and many of the other people on social media going through similar feelings that now is the time to move. Not move to another country, but move mentally, move emotionally. It’s time to start acting, fighting for those causes we believe. It’s not enough to post on facebook or a blog, we have to volunteer our time, donate our talents or money, and most importantly stand up when we see an injustice. It’s time to move into action, be aware of our surroundings and who we surround ourselves with.

Overall, I’m glad I’m moving.

 

Walking

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I feel so tiny walking among the trees. Tiny in a good way, when I think of my life, my problems, surrounded by the vast space and tall trees, everything feels trivial. There is just me and the nature surrounding me, cleaning my lungs, and cleaning my spirit. It is my version of church.

I grew up catholic, and in a lot of ways I guess I still am, but overtime I have found a spirituality that works for me. I guess I would be considered a Pantheist. I remember reading a book a while back were the author identified as Pantheist. Pantheism being the view that you can find divinity in nature or that natural universe is divine. I haven’t research that much about Pantheism, I’m sure you will find all extremes of people. I guess for me it means that I see and communicate with God (whatever that may mean) through nature.

Whenever I feel lost or need to clear my head, I find a trail, take my dog, and go on a hike. Just listening to the wind, the leaves falling, and looking at the path before me, helps me feel better about whatever my circumstance may be.  Even if the problem is too big, I still get some clearness after my encounter with nature. I think it’s important to have something in your life that gives you positive energy and makes you have a positive outcome in life. For some people that is belonging to a church community, family, exercise, or just meditation. For me, the important thing is wherever you are getting it from, you are giving some of that positivism back to the universe.