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Tatiana Schatten

Lessons to Take, Habits To Break, Part 1

Not based on true events

It is very difficult to rid yourself of old habits. It is especially a struggle for those of tender years to renounce their ingrained young ways, and I should know, for I myself was once a fledgling. In those happy days, I was nought but a ball of soft down with a gaping mouth full of baby chirps and peeps. It was  then that my parents ushered me from my nest, and it was then I obeyed with much apprehension. All day I was bruised and battered and bumped and bounced trying to make use of my newly-feathered little wings. I remember more than once I ran myself smack! right against a power pole, for I had not yet learned how to change my direction. I even managed to fall directly into a gutter of a house during a raging storm only to be pushed and tumbled by the tempestuous water within, and shoved down a pipe and placed plop! a ragged wet ragamuffin on the sidewalk below. I surely do not want to go through such an experience again.

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The Territory Trespasser

Based on true events

The robins were aware of Samantha’s mild nature, the nearby skunks knew that she was a patient little rodent, and the snakes did not fear her scoldings, for she was as good as any beast or bird that God made. But when a certain other squirrel ventured into Samantha’s peaceful territory while she was yet within, she surprised and shocked all the other folk of fur and feather. On that day, all who saw her were struck speechless by her astonishing behaviour. The moment she beheld  that bold intruder, she dashed away towards him; a streak of red fury. With a terrified squeal, he rushed to the nearest tree and shot  up its trunk like a lightening bolt with Samantha charging behind him. He had nearly reached its topmost boughs when he suddenly turned aside upon a branch, leapt, and landed neatly in a nearby tree. But Samantha did not even hesitate in her mad pursuit, and she too crossed the trees with equal nimbleness of foot and was again hot on his heels. Now, the fugitive squirrel was scuttling down the new trunk, and just before coming to its root-capped base, bounded back to the first tree. Then up, up, up he went, switched trees, then down, down, down. Again and again he repeated this loop with the infuriated Samantha nearly on his tail. Samantha, though, would not give in. No, she would not permit this trespasser to roam her precious land. No, he must go, he can not stay, he must leave her dominion-except if he wished to suffer the consequences. But the intruder seemed reluctant to leave her happy land.

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Variable Vegetation

Anyone familiar with plants will be aware of the magnificent and whimsical variety of plant names. Whether they are domestic or wild, there is always at least one interesting name out of the bunch. Take for instance, the lichen called Old Man’s Beard. It is one of the few beards which you can pull without much harm being done to the owner. Then there is the fungi named Dead-man’s finger and looks like a dark, strange imperfect tower sticking up from the wood upon which it feeds. Some plants are named after their colour, for instance, the cladonia lichen called British Soldiers. Sage green are their stems, but bright red are their tops like the uniform worn by British soldiers. They may be a  motley crew of little men, these minute plants, and they may come in vast armies of green and red, but I am afraid they will never march.

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A Letter from the Pigeon Post

Based on true events 

 

Dear Cousin P,

I have written to tell you that my husband has now been switched, swapped and turned around. Now there is a new Mr. P, and my! what a problem he can be! No matter, I love him even still for he is a sensitive, kindhearted pigeon and that is the most important characteristic of a Mr. P. He is a little uneven in his colouring, though, for he has one white wing tip and one blue. We must make an interesting pair, with his normal pigeon colouring of blue and iridescence and me white with grey speckles. I wonder if the pattern of my eggshell soaked through to me when I was young , but our eggs do not have any markings so that could not be. I guess I’m a salt-and-pepper pigeon then. 

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The Wings of the Wind

The soft cry of the wind could be heard among the barren Poplars and kingly Cottonwoods. It swept through the trunks, over the dried grasses of the summer which was now long gone, and between the leafless branches of the trees. But the wind bore wings. Dark and powerful wings with feathers as soft as moonlight: the wings of a Northern Goshawk. With majestic grace, the raptor sped through the labyrinth of trees, a limp form hanging from his feathered limbs and a raucous mob of followers  hanging at his tail. These tormentors would not give in; these Black-billed Magpies in stubborn pursuit, squawking and teasing the prince among birds. American Crows, too, had joined the party, to the greater annoyance of the majestic hawk who could have easily slain one on the spot if his talons had not already been occupied. So, the raptor did his best to dodge and duck here and there through the poplars with a pestering horde of feathered fussers following close behind. Finally, the goshawk gave in, and neatly landing among the tree trunks, began his feast. 

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