Learning from Dogs

Dogs are integrous animals. We have much to learn from them.

Archive for the ‘People’ Category

The struggle between the forces of light and dark.

with 5 comments

At least dogs can go off and find new homes!

Let’s start with the Ebola outbreak with the latest news from the BBC suggesting:

The death toll from the Ebola virus outbreak has risen to 4,447, with the large majority of victims in West Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

WHO assistant director-general Bruce Aylward also said there could be up to 10,000 new cases a week within two months if efforts were not stepped up,

But the rate of new infections in some areas has slowed down, he added.

Next up.

I’ve been musing as to whether or not I was going to republish a recent essay from George Monbiot.  The one in question being The Kink in the Human Brain.  It opens, thus:

Pointless, joyless consumption is destroying our world of wonders.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 2nd October 2014

This is a moment at which anyone with the capacity for reflection should stop and wonder what we are doing.

If the news that in the past 40 years the world has lost over 50% of its vertebrate wildlife (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish) fails to tell us that there is something wrong with the way we live, it’s hard to imagine what could. Who believes that a social and economic system which has this effect is a healthy one? Who, contemplating this loss, could call it progress?

In fairness to the modern era, this is an extension of a trend that has lasted some two million years. The loss of much of the African megafauna – sabretooths and false sabretooths, giant hyaenas and amphicyonids (bear dogs), several species of elephant – coincided with the switch towards meat eating by hominims (ancestral humans). It’s hard to see what else could have been responsible for the peculiar pattern of extinction then.

My spirits continued downward, especially when I clicked on that first link and read this from the Guardian website:

Rubbish dumped on the tundra outside llulissat in Greenland stand in stark contrast to icebergs behind from the Sermeq Kujullaq or llulissat Ice fjord – a Unesco world heritage site. Photograph: Global Warming Images/WWF-Canon

Rubbish dumped on the tundra outside llulissat in Greenland stand in stark contrast to icebergs behind from the Sermeq Kujullaq or llulissat Ice fjord – a Unesco world heritage site. Photograph: Global Warming Images/WWF-Canon

The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found.

“If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.” He said nature, which provides food and clean water and air, was essential for human wellbeing.

“We have lost one half of the animal population and knowing this is driven by human consumption, this is clearly a call to arms and we must act now,” said Mike Barratt, director of science and policy at WWF. He said more of the Earth must be protected from development and deforestation, while food and energy had to be produced sustainably.

Then a few days ago, one of our neighbours sent me an email with his latest news about ISIS.  This is what he sent:

Got this from one of my closest friends today, it came from his brother so I’m pretty confident that it’s true. There is some really bad stuff on the horizon and it’s probably gonna come this way like a runaway train!! Everybody better start thinking about where they want to stand when push comes to shove!

With “this’ being in part:

Missionaries who are in the areas that are being attacked by ISIS. ISIS has taken over the town they are in today. He said ISIS is systematically going house to house to all the Christians and asking the children to denounce Jesus. He said so far not one child has. And so far all have consequently been killed. But not the parents. The UN has withdrawn and the missionaries are on their own. They are determined to stick it out for the sake of the families – even if it means their own deaths. They are very afraid, have no idea how to even begin ministering to these families who have had seen their children martyred. Yet he says he knows God has called them for some reason to be His voice and hands at this place at this time. Even so, they are begging for prayers for courage to live out their vocation in such dire circumstances. And like the children, accept martyrdom if they are called to do so. These brave parents instilled such a fervent faith in their children that they chose martyrdom. Please surround them in their loss with your prayers for hope and perseverance.

One missionary was able to talk to her brother briefly by phone. She didn’t say it, but I believe she believes it will be their last conversation. Pray for her too. She said he just kept asking her to help him know what to do and do it. She told him to tell the families we ARE praying for them and they are not alone or forgotten — no matter what. Please keep them all in your prayers.

I didn’t and still don’t know how to reply.  That is until Maria Matthews left a comment to yesterday’s post.

Love the poem/verse Illusion. The lines, Following the herd, bleating like sheep, Held captive, half asleep. hit a strong note with me.

As we often wonder why people can’t think for themselves outside the box but then again maybe that is part of being human. Life is a mystery isn’t it? Enjoyed the post,

Maria’s comment about life being a mystery was interpreted by me as humans being a mystery and the realisation that it has ever been so. For it resonated with a recent programme over on the BBC that included information on the ancient Teotihuacan people who ruled in what is present-day Mexico some 2,000 years ago.  From Wikipedia:

View of the Avenue of the Dead and the Pyramid of the Sun, from Pyramid of the Moon (Pyramide de la Luna).

View of the Avenue of the Dead and the Pyramid of the Sun, from Pyramid of the Moon (Pyramide de la Luna).

Teotihuacan /teɪˌoʊtiːwəˈkɑːn/, also written Teotihuacán (Spanish About this sound teotiwa’kan (help·info)), was a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican city located in the Valley of Mexico, 30 miles (48 km) northeast of modern-day Mexico City, known today as the site of many of the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramids built in the pre-Columbian Americas. Apart from the pyramids, Teotihuacan is also anthropologically significant for its complex, multi-family residential compounds, the Avenue of the Dead, and the small portion of its vibrant murals that have been exceptionally well-preserved. Additionally, Teotihuacan exported a so-called “Thin Orange” pottery style and fine obsidian tools that garnered high prestige and widespread utilization throughout Mesoamerica.

The city is thought to have been established around 100 BC, with major monuments continuously under construction until about AD 250. The city may have lasted until sometime between the 7th and 8th centuries AD, but its major monuments were sacked and systematically burned around 550 AD. At its zenith, perhaps in the first half of the 1st millennium AD, Teotihuacan was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas, with a population estimated at 125,000 or more, making it at minimum the sixth largest city in the world during its epoch. Teotihuacan began as a new religious center in the Mexican Highland around the first century AD. This city came to be the largest and most populated center in the New World. Teotihuacan was even home to multi-floor apartment compounds built to accommodate this large population. The civilization and cultural complex associated with the site is also referred to as Teotihuacan or Teotihuacano.

That BBC programme also included the fact that almost on a daily basis the Teotihuacan authorities viewed the assassinations of often hundreds of lower class people as perfectly normal.

In other words, despicable cruelty of man upon man, not to mention an utter disregard for the natural world, has been going on for thousands of years!

Thus it underlined to me, in spades, that what ‘other people’ get up to is, to a very great extent, irrelevant.  Because whatever the circumstances we have a choice: we always have a choice.  Or if you will forgive me for repeating my closing sentences in yesterday’s post:

Whatever is going on in the world, whatever has the power to create fear in our minds, in the end it comes down to another power, the power of thought, and our choice of the behaviors that we offer the world.

That is why dogs are so important. Because they almost predominantly love sharing and living their lives in the company of humans.

 

evil

About these ads

Never lose sight of what’s really important.

with 5 comments

A wonderful message from Sue of Sue Dreamwalker.

Reders will recall that last Saturday, under the post title of And we’re back!, I offered a beautiful story told by the coal-mouse bird about the power of change.  It included this sentence: “You see, it takes just one snowflake to make a difference.

In a very real sense, an example of that power of one snowflake was perfectly conveyed in Sue’s post a few days previously.

Just read it, republished here with Sue’s blessings, and you will understand.

ooOOoo

illusion-2

Illusion.

What do you see in this Reality?

Do not your eyes view what is real to see?

Can you not touch the tangible fusion?

Or do we gaze into the ethers of illusion,

What trickery mocks us as we take in the lies

Binding our thoughts in roots of indoctrination

Following the herd, bleating like sheep
Held captive, half asleep.

What happened to the land of the Free?

Conform or suffer, or pay the penalty

What is your reality?

Come, let me walk you through the misty vale.

To where this illusion significantly pales

We are magnificent magicians whose thoughts cast their magic

Where all is possible, where to doubt is tragic

Seek and Find, let go of fear

Dance in joy as Light penetrates your sphere

For you have forgotten our Time’s lost spell

As into the abyss of darkness you dwell.

Open your eyes and open your hearts.

Let the Light dispel all dark

Fear nothing, hate less, and embrace ALL

Seek a new illusion before you fall.

Stop following blindly, grasp hold of Love today

Remember your tomorrows, forget your yesterdays

Reach for the memory held high up in the stars

And heal from within, let go of all your scars

Sit in the silence; begin to know who you are

As illusion drifts away revealing Ancient Stars

Your time is but a moment, live each moment well,

For soon the illusion shatters, broken like a spell.

© Sue Dreamwalker 2010-2014 All rights reserved.

I resurrected this poem which I published 4 years ago.. As it seems we are bombarded on all sides from the negative energies which are being put out..

Detach and spend some time in your Quiet zones of thought.. Bring in the Peace around you, and know that we are Magnificent BEings who have remarkable powers..

The Power of Thought!

What we Think we Create

We are the ones creating the chaos… So choose to create Peace.. Don’t allow yourselves to get caught up within the Fear being put out..

Know your time is but a moment, Live each moment well

For soon the Illusion shatters,

Broken like a Spell.

Enjoy your week

Blessings

Sue

ooOOoo

Whatever is going on in the world, whatever has the power to create fear in our minds, in the end it comes down to another power, the power of thought, and our choice of the behaviors that we offer the world.

That is why dogs are so important. Because they almost predominantly love sharing and living their lives in the company of humans.

Do you remember when puppy Oliver came to live with us?

Pharaoh, age 88 years in human equivalent, passing on his wisdom to Oliver, age 3 in human terms.

Pharaoh passing on his wisdom to young Oliver.

Another picture of Oliver sitting on the lap of yours truly taken in the last couple of days.

How time passes by! For both of us in the picture!

How time passes by! For both of us in the picture!

Written by Paul Handover

October 14, 2014 at 00:00

Embracing the poetry of nature.

with 3 comments

The beauty of poetry.

In yesterday’s post, where I wrote about how Jean and I had the wonderful privilege of feeding a wild deer from our hands, I closed it with a p.s. This is what I wrote: “P.S. It is at times like this that we need poetry.  So how about it: Sue? Kim? How would you describe in poetry what Jean and I experienced?

Well, Sue, of Sue Dreamwalker, replied with a link to a poem of hers that she published back in 2012. I will say no more than republish, with permission, Sue’s beautiful words and close with one of the photographs from yesterday.

ooOOoo

SDBeatOne

Be at One with yourself

Be at one with the world

Be at One with Nature

And see your life unfurl

Close your eyes and imagine

The beginnings of a New Earth,

And Open your eyes to your beauty

Breathe in and give Birth.

divider

For you are One and part of the Whole

Not a separate Unit , but a Beautiful Soul

United within the One Divine love

And part of that cosmic hub.

Share your love along with your Light

And Rejoice in Gratitude

Use your sight

To see a world in Beauty and Grace

divider

You are stronger than you think you know

Spread a little Love where ever you go

Shower your peace and sprinkle your heart

Into the rivers of life send a ripple a spark

Be Calm, knowing all is well

Keep breathing in Peace for inside it dwells

divider

Know you are where you are meant to be

Open your eyes

Come on now See

For we are ONE and it’s time to Unite

Stop all your hating, and judging and strife

Find your heart and clear out your mind

Seek out yourself

And Wisdom you’ll find

divider

Let go of torments and allow the Joy in

Come on now people

It’s time to begin

Be One with yourself

Be One with the world

Be One with nature

And Let the Universe Spin

For the Spiral is turning and

Peace will Win..

© Sue Dreamwalker – 2012 All rights reserved.

ooOOoo

The trust between the deer and Jean then enabled the deer to feed from Jean's hand.

The trust between the deer and Jean then enabled the deer to feed from Jean’s hand.

Written by Paul Handover

October 9, 2014 at 00:00

Utterly beyond words!

with 7 comments

A connection with a wild animal doesn’t get better than this.

You may wonder, dear reader, how I “square the circle” in terms of a post title, Utterly beyond words, and then reaching out to you with the use of words!  My answer to that legitimate question is that if I reflected for the rest of my life, I couldn’t verbalise adequately the feelings (but note p.s. at the end of the post) that went through me, and through Jean, when a mother deer and her young fawn, crossed the boundary between their wild, animal world and our human world.

This is what happened.

Last Sunday afternoon, around 4pm, I was pottering around the area of fruit trees just above our stables.  We were fully aware that deer were coming in to our property to eat fallen apples as many times we had caught a glimpse of them through a window.

Anyway, on this particular afternoon outside by the stables, I noticed a deer eating some fallen apples and, somehow, picked up the idea that this gorgeous, wild animal was not stressed-out by me standing there looking at her from some twenty feet away.

After a few minutes of just watching, I quietly went across to the garage where we keep a bag of cob, or cracked corn, that we use to feed the deer during tough winter times.  I collected a small amount in a round plastic tray and went back into the orchard area and sat with my back against the trunk of an old oak tree, spread my legs apart and placed the tray with the cob in between my knees.

The mother deer was still hunting around for fallen apples but within a couple of minutes looked across at me, clearly smelling the cob.

Slowly but steadily the beautiful creature came towards me and, miracle of miracles, trusted me sufficiently to eat from the tray.  Her head was well within arm’s reach of me!

I was totally mesmerised by this beautiful, fragile, wild animal, head down, eating cob less than three feet from my face!  I had the urge to touch her.

Slowly, I reached forward and took a small handful of the cob from the tray and with my other hand pulled the tray to one side.  My hand with the cob was fully outstretched; my heart was whispering to the deer that I would never, ever harm her.

Softly, gently the deer reached towards me and nibbled the cob from my left hand.

Later on, when I relayed this incredible event to Jean, I said that if it was at all possible we must try and take a photograph of a wild deer feeding from our hands.

Moving on to Monday afternoon, camera ready if necessary, we kept an eye out for the return of the deer.  There was no sign of her.  Looked as though it wasn’t going to happen.

Then just before 7pm, I looked up from my desk and there, just outside the window, was the deer.  But even better, this time the mother was accompanied by her young fawn.

I grabbed the camera and quickly told Jean to meet me outside with a refill of cob in the same plastic tray.  We both sat down on the flat concrete cover of the septic tank; me with the camera, Jean with the tray of cob.

Over to the photographs!  The daylight was fading fast and I was hand-holding the camera, thus these are not the sharpest of pictures.  But so what!

The mother deer not even startled by the sound of the camera shutter!

The mother deer not even startled by the sound of the camera shutter!

oooo

Mother deer reaches down to feed; the tray is about three feet in front of Jean and me.

Mother deer reaches down to feed; the tray is about three feet in front of Jean and me.

oooo

Jean reaches forward and gently draws the tray closer to us. Mother deer continues to feed.

Jean reaches forward and gently draws the tray closer to us. Mother deer continues to feed.

oooo

Then, unbelievably, the wild deer continues feeding as Jean fondles the deer's ear.

Then, unbelievably, the wild deer continues feeding as Jean fondles the deer’s head and neck.

oooo

The trust between the deer and Jean then enabled the deer to feed from Jean's hand.

The trust between the deer and Jean then enabled the deer to feed from Jean’s hand.

oooo

There was a rustle in the leaves some twenty feet away and we saw the fawn watching her mother feeding on the cob. Jean pushed the tray away, just by a few feet, and the fawn came right up to her mother.

There was a rustle in the leaves some twenty feet away and we saw the fawn watching her mother feeding on the cob. Jean pushed the tray away, just by a few feet, and the fawn came right up to her mother.

oooo

The culmination of the most magical of experiences: mother deer and her fawn eating together some three feet in front of us.

The culmination of the most magical of experiences: mother deer and her fawn eating together some three feet in front of us.

When I published my post Space for Nature a little over a week ago, a post that included a photograph of two deer some thirty feet from Jean’s car, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what took place last Tuesday afternoon.

Words truly do seem inadequate.

P.S. It is at times like this that we need poetry.  So how about it: Sue? Kim? How would you describe in poetry what Jean and I experienced?

Men, Women and Memory!

with 4 comments

Are men’s brains the same as women’s?

The wonderful BBC science programme, BBC Horizon, recently showed a fascinating programme entitled: Is your Brain Male or Female?  The programme is introduced on the Horizon website:

Dr

Dr. Mosley and Prof. Roberts.

Dr Michael Mosley and Professor Alice Roberts investigate if male and female brains really are wired differently.

New research suggests that the connections in men and women’s brains follow different patterns, patterns which may explain typical forms of male and female behaviour. But are these patterns innate, or are they shaped by the world around us?

Using a team of human lab rats and a troop of barbary monkeys, Michael and Alice test the science and challenge old stereotypes. They ask whether this new scientific research will benefit both men and women – or whether it could drive the sexes even further apart.

Now I haven’t a clue as to how long this fascinating programme will remain on YouTube, but if you aren’t in the UK or don’t have access to the BBC iPlayer then don’t hesitate to watch it now.

Essentially, science shows that the ‘hard-wired’ differences are minute and the vast bulk of the preferences between the genders, trucks versus dolls, for example, is subtle conditioning from parents and the wider world; for instance, advertisements.

One thing that did jump ‘off the page’ at me was the evidence supporting how malleable or plastic is the brain.  In other words, we are never too old to learn.

As if to reinforce that aspect of the flexibility of our brain, just yesterday morning I read an item on the BBC News website about memory.

As someone whose memory is a long way from where it used to be, this item really caught my attention:

How to save your memory

By David Robson from Headsqueeze.

Are there ways to stop yourself losing your memory? The latest brain research suggests there’s hope for the forgetful…

Memory loss has to be one of our biggest fears. Names, words, facts and faces – nothing is spared.

As the latest video from the Head Squeeze team describes above, mental deterioration was once thought to be an inevitable consequence of ageing, thanks to the steady erosion of our brain matter: we lose about 0.5% of our brain volume every year. The hippocampus – the region responsible for memory and learning – was thought to weather particularly badly; by the time we are 90, many of us have lost around a third of its grey matter.

Fortunately, recent research has shown that the brain is not concrete, but certain regions can adapt and grow. In 2000, a study of London taxi drivers, for instance, showed that the 4-year training of London’s 25,000 streets showed a remarkable growth in the hippocampus compared to bus drivers who early learnt a fixed number of routes. The scientists think that, by memorising the maps of London, the brain had built many more of the “synaptic connections” that allow the brain cells to communicate with each other. In other words, it may be possible to train the brain to compensate for some of the neural decline that accompanies our expanding waistlines and receding hairlines.

Challenging your brain could be one way of preserving your recollections – though the value of commercial brain training apps is debatable; some experiments seem to show that while people may become a whizz at the games on their screen, the improvements fail to transfer to daily life. But other, more traditional activities – like learning a musical instrument or a second language – do seem to have some protective benefits, at least on short-term recall. Ideally, it is probably best to keep your brain active throughout your life, well before you begin to approach your dotage.

Exercise and a healthy diet are also thought to offer some protection against dementia. As can an active social life – since regular contact with other people is also thought to excite our neurons and preserve our synapses. Ensuring that you regularly get a good night’s sleep helps too.

Of course, nothing can guarantee health and vitality in old age. But these few simple measures might give you the best possible chances of preserving your wits against the ravages of time.

For more videos subscribe to the Head Squeeze channel on YouTube. This video is part of a series produced in partnership with the European Union’s Hello Brain project, which aims to provide easy-to-understand information about the brain and brain health.

If you would like to comment on this video or anything else you have seen on Future, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.

So it’s clear now.

All I need to do is to learn a new language while in between my training to be the oldest trainee cabbie in London and applying for second violin position at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and I’ll never forget anything else in my life.

Oh, anyone seen where I left my car keys?

Or perhaps, harking back to the opening question of the differences between our sexes, I should be closing, thus:

Anyone seen where I left my dolls?

Picture parade sixty-four

with 6 comments

Change of plans!

In last week’s picture parade I mentioned that today would be the final set of glorious pictures, courtesy of Su Reeves.

But that was before I realised that Jean and I would be popping in to our local old school house on Friday to enjoy a couple of hours admiring the quilting work on show at this year’s Hugo Ladies Club Quilt Show.

The theme of community has never been far from the pages of this blog and despite the provincial nature of this gathering I wanted to share a selection of photographs with you for today’s picture parade.

P1150151

 

oooo

The front entrance of what was once the school in Hugo.

The front entrance of what was once the school in Hugo.

oooo

P1150161

oooo

Now that's what I call a school bell!

Now that’s what I call a school bell!

oooo

An amazing array and range of items.

An amazing array and range of items.

oooo

P1150155

oooo

Irresistible to Mrs H.!

Irresistible to Mrs H.!

oooo

Including a rather fun woollen hat for grandson Morten back in England.

Including a rather fun woollen hat for grandson Morten back in England.

oooo

P1150154

oooo

Jean chatting to neighbour Janell; also a keen quilter.

Jean chatting to neighbour Janell who is also a keen quilter; as are so many North American women.

oooo

One of Janell's exhibits at the show.

One of Janell’s exhibits at the show.

oooo

Established quilters are also featured at the show.

Established quilters are also featured at the show.  Here’s a magnificent example from Jacque Sue Harvey.

oooo

The quilt above the work of Jacque Sue Harvey.

 

oooo

P1150165

Another quilt from Jacque.

oooo

Final example of Jacque's work.

Final example of Jacque’s work.

Puts the phrase “needle and thread” into a whole new world of meaning!

P1150152

One last look as we drove away!

Maybe I’m becoming a soppy old fool but a couple of hours wandering around this event, just five minutes from where we live, made me feel, strongly so, that Jean and I and all our animals really do belong here!

Written by Paul Handover

October 5, 2014 at 00:00

The Nightingale.

with 4 comments

… and the Canary – Breathtakingly creative.

Australian artist Andy Thomas specializes in creating ‘audio life forms’: beautiful abstract shapes that react to sounds. In this animated short, he visualizes two recorded bird sounds from the archives of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum.

I was blown away when I came across that video.  Then a quick search found this place, from where one reads:

Australian multimedia artist Andy Thomas makes bird songs dance with 3D animations. It’s the latest in his line of “audio life forms.”

Using 3D visualization software and other programs, Thomas breaks down photos of insects, orchids, and birds into their composite parts. He then reassembles the images in a sort of collage and builds trippy animations that react, based on rules he’s set, to sound – in this case, archival bird song.

The resulting multimedia visualizations are stunning. They also suggest what you might see if you stood in the forest listening to the birds, while tripping on acid. The psychedelic feel is enhanced by the constant shape-shifting of the form, which in turn encourages you to be hyper-aware of the full range of tweets and trills.

Thomas has been painting and drawing since he was a child. In 1997 he began exploring the realm of digital art, and in recent years started experimenting with “creating a visual fusion between Nature and Technology.” But he also describes this work a bit moralistically “corrupting nature with technology.”

It was then a moment to go across to Andy’s website; which I strongly encourage you to do – the pictures are stunning: trust me!  Just try yesterday’s Insect Friday photograph!

Another of Andy's wonderful images.

Another of Andy’s wonderful images.

Golly, there are some very clever people out there!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,191 other followers

%d bloggers like this: