Haven't felt much like blogging lately. It's felt more like something I had to do...I had to tell you all about Charlie, and then Snapperfest came up in an anonymous comment on my blog, and I was moved to investigate and then to do something about that. That post continues to draw hits, which delights me because it means people are still ticked off about it. I know I am. I've been working on a strategic angle on the whole mess that has some promise. I honestly think the animal cruelty angle, however obvious it may be to (literally) the rest of the world, is a dead end in the fine state of Indiana. Emails to Indiana's Governor Daniels protesting the event are answered with:
"The common snapping turtle is one of three turtles considered a game species in Indiana. The other two are the smooth softshell turtle and spiny softshell turtle. All three are subject to state laws that regulate their taking from the wild. Those laws include the purchase and possession of a fishing or hunting license for anyone age 18 or older, plus a daily bag limit and possession limit. Furthermore, Indiana law prohibits the sale of all native turtle species.
"Many individuals who have voiced objection to Snapperfest point to the animal cruelty laws found in Indiana Code 35-46-3. However, that law is not applicable in this instance because it provides an exemption for wild animals that are legally taken and possessed under the authority of Indiana Code 14-22.
"Thank you for your active citizenship."
Oh, you're welcome. I'm nothing if not an active citizen.
Which response apparently means that it's OK to be cruel to animals as long as you've taken them legally, in season, with the proper license. So I could torture a fox or a bobwhite quail or a white-tailed deer to death with a toothpick as long as I wounded it legally. Do you see anything right about that? Because I don't. If an animal is declared a game species, it's left unprotected by animal cruelty laws? God help sandhill cranes if they're ever hunted in Indiana. Maybe you could wing one, then tie it up in your yard for awhile with the chickens. As I think about it, if you're going to hold leghold trapping seasons, you would have to exempt those furbearers from any animal cruelty laws, because they leave this mortal coil in a very bad way indeed.
Hmmm. Must get off that particular train of thought. It's like turning over cowpies, only what you find isn't fun creepy crawlies. Anyway, I'm not done fighting for snapping and soft-shelled turtles in Indiana, and I hope you aren't either. Still channeling grief and anger at myself on Charlie's behalf into something that might make a difference for some turtles and the kids who've been watching them being manhandled. I feel just a little bit crazy, but at least I'm aware of it. Phoebe said last night she'd like to have her fun mommy back. OK, I'm working on that, too.
Quite the most spectacular evening primrose there ever was, and it volunteered!
Today a big bouquet of daisies and lilies with a teddy bear attached to it arrived from a reader, and her name was familiar, and I saw that she had helped me way back in another dark but memorable time, the Darryl the Bat Rabies Inoculation Event. Liam immediately appropriated the supersoft teddy bear after first cutting the pink ribbon off its neck. It was really something, to have a dazed and confused floral deliverywoman show up at my door, having punched our address into Mapquest and been sent on a wild snipe chase over hill and dale trying to find our place. When she called to say she was coming I warned her not to rely on Mapquest; it had tried to send our friend Jason down a woods road with 8" dbh trees. I gave her directions but she assured me she had them just fine. Oh, yeah, I've heard that before. Google Maps, I told her, Google Maps. Mapquest, no good. Anyway, she eventually made it and now there's this pretty bouquet from dear Ruth, with a little stack of cards from people I've never met and it all makes me cry all over again, but just because it's so sweet, to send flowers and condolence cards for a macaw they'd never seen but loved anyway.
I was reading this evening about the death of Nickolas Ashford, half of the singer/songwriter duo Ashford and Simpson, who left us this week. Apparently he was homeless when he wandered into a Baptist church because he'd heard he might get something to eat there. And there was a woman there playing piano and they struck up a conversation and wound up collaborating on songwriting for ten years before finally getting married and staying married. She wrote the music; he wrote the lyrics to songs like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me." Inside this homeless hungry man was a poet and songwriter wanting out, and what might have become of him if he hadn't met Miss Simpson?
I'm keeping very busy cutting mats, mounting prints, making signs, and figuring out how to present a bunch of the original artwork for my new book The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds With Common Birds. I'll have a couple of panels of my show booth at the Midwest Birding Symposium dedicated to the new book. And today I made a pre-order form for the book, so people who come to the Symposium September 15-18 in Lakeside, Ohio, can have it before anyone else. It's exactly the kind of thing I need to be doing. And I'm doing all that work in Charlie's sunny little room. The countertop where she played and shredded papers is now my work surface; her view for the last dozen years is now my view. The bird feeders we put outside her window are still full of the goldfinches, cardinals and titmice she loved to watch. It feels good and right to be in there where she lived for so many years.
I'm really looking forward to the Symposium, to writing and giving a brand new talk called "Living With Birds," which is how The Bluebird Effect came to be a book, anyway. It's about the bonds, it's all about the bonds.