A balanced view isn't gained from one viewpoint. The old muse sits on his mountain and looks at the valley below and knows that what he sees may look quite different from the other side. He could make the trip over and see what it looks like from there but then he would know that from a spot further in another direction it would look different again. So he could make the trip to that spot and so on, but eventually he would run out of time and never have gained a completely balanced view of the valley.
    Now, with or without realizing this limitation, he may be content to look at the valley from his point of view and base his opinion of what it is like from that. Or he may use mirrors, smoke signals, e-mail or some other means of communication to find out from ones in those other places what the valley looks like from their viewpoint. If he then put that information all together and carefully mapped it out, he would have a reasonably good picture of the true nature of the valley. If he then decided to travel through the valley he would be able to avoid many obstructions and pitfalls he otherwise may not have been able to forsee.
    In todays world the valley often is far bigger than we first imagine from where we sit. And some will try to convince us that their viewpoint has the only true view and that other views are obscured in the fog. Wait 'till the fog clears. Most often it is just a smokescreen!
A pair of Pileated Woodpeckers

Pileated Woodpecker

     These are magnificent birds. About the size of a crow, they sound like a 220 pound lumberjack with a large axe when they are seriously atacking a tree for insects. I have always been fascinated by their large size and bright contrast of color. Unfortunately, that hasn't always been a good thing for them.
    As a teenager I moved from a city environment to a rural area and was taught to hunt. Sad to say, my stepdad taught me to shoot but the neighbor kid influenced me a great deal in the hunting. Looking back, I think he was fascinated with killing. I'll spare the details but one of the many creatures I killed for sport was a Pileated Woodpecker. So sad!
    But, I did grow up. And happily this species is alive and well, and when I shoot them now I can watch them fly off afterward.
Western Pond Turtles

Western Pond Turtles

     Endangered in Washington state, they were at one point found only in two locations in the state. One of those locations is a small lake in the Columbia gorge which has been purchased and protected by WDFW. A noble cause and yet I wonder...
    I talked to the former owner while birding in the area one day. She wasn't at all hateful or anything but she did have some bad feelings toward wildlife conservationists and by association wildlife watchers. As one would expect, she didn't particularly want to sell this pretty little piece of her property and felt coerced into doing so.
    Many issues involved here, and many viewpoints. Something to muse about.
Northwestern Crow

Northwestern Crow

     Is this attitude or what? He is probably tired of being told he is just like those common American Crows. Hah! Anyone can see he is much better looking and deserves to be called Northwestern Crow after the beautiful area he inhabits.
    Myself, I thought there was a noticable difference in looks and behavior as I watched him and a few others near Port Townsend one cold, damp, windy January day. They seemed more compact and less scruffy than the crows near to home. There is supposedly a difference in voice but I couldn't really tell.
    However, there seems to be quite a few amongst those who know and write about such things that there is so little difference that the two species should be lumped as one. I don't know much about such things. I see many variations within some species, such as the song sparrows, and yet song sparrows they obviously are.
    Actually he probably doesn't care what you call him as long as you share your food and stay away from his.
Ring-necked Pheasant

Ring-necked Pheasant

     I like this picture mostly for the colors. The bird just seems to belong there. And yet he really isn't native to that location, having been introduced in the area for hunting purposes. This particular bird may even have been raised in captivity and released into the wild as part of the Western Washington Pheasant Release program.
    Being as how not many of those hunting these have a need for the nutrition, tasty though it is, it has to be considered hunting for sport. Is that wrong? Would it be more right, after raising them, to take them collectively to slaughter and sell them in a meatmarket?
Black-tailed Deer

Black-tailed Deer

     Unlike the pheasant, the deer is native to the northwest. Throughout history it has provided sustenance and even covering for many people. Myself being one. And in many cases, primarily by those living in rural areas, it is still hunted as a means to supplement a familys food supply.
    However, its population is still maintained through restrictions on hunting of them. And most of those hunting them spend more on necessities pertaining to the hunt than the value of the animal as simply nutrition and the hide is seldom used for basic covering. So it also is hunted mainly for sport. Is that wrong?
    What are the alternatives? If left unprotected, they would probably be hunted to extinction. If not hunted, how would the population be controlled so as to not be a bigger detriment to farmers or a larger source of danger on our highways.
Tree silhouette


     Just before sunrise. when a person is rested from a nights sleep and the cares of the day haven't yet set in. And this tree, standing mostly alone, waits for the day to reveal what purpose it will serve.
    Having no leaves at this time of year it will provide little shade. But the branches are resting places for the birds and provide some cover. The roots hold the soil in place while at the same time help to break it down for other plants to root. And visually, pleasant to look upon in this somewhat empty setting.
    What if the landowner came and cut it down at this moment?
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