Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Survival

Cooper’s Hawk | Photo

Yesterday morning I was watching the back yard while I ate breakfast. Suddenly, there she was, sitting on a large old flowerpot next to our garage. She looked like a statue, except for her head and eyes that kept turning from side to side, craftily scanning the yard for food. Maybe a lazy squirrel or a small bird for breakfast? Yummy. But…we went out to get in our car and she decided to find another hunting ground for now.

You can see and read more about Cooper’s Hawks here. We’ve also seen them in snowy mid-winter, flying through bare trees after a tasty bird.

In case you’re wondering, the yellow post in the foreground warns us if we get the car too close to the brick wall.


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 March 2022
Photo taken by DAFraser, 18 March 2022

Breakfast with the Birds

brazen bold bluejay
hogs large birdfeeder
grabs one seed and bolts

small chipping sparrow
flees to small feeding window
to make a withdrawal or two

quick brown chipmunk
vacuums between green grass blades
packing cheek pouches with loot

one male blackbird
flashes bright red wing bars
coming in for fast food takeout

I sit behind my kitchen window
grateful to be alive
and eating indoors

Most days I’m mesmerized by the way birds cooperate in order to get a bite to eat. Actually, I’m not sure they’re cooperating. They seem to love or at least tolerate their unspoken pecking order, which lies at the bottom of most of their unruly behavior.

Almost every day I wonder what it would take to live in a different human pecking order. One based on need and the desire to survive together. Not on our current order driven by size, brilliant feathers, or loud, rude voices.

Last night I was feeling down. Having my computer keyboard die on me yesterday was more than I’d planned on. Most evenings, I write in my journal. Last night I decided to read from Without a Flight Plan. It was just what the doctor ordered. A bit of birdseed to get me through the night.

This post was created with thanks to D for loaning me his ThinkPad.
Thanks to you for stopping by!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 April 2021
Photo found at

roughing it

thin whistle
of white-throated sparrow
hangs in mid-air

The first I’ve heard this December. A sign of cold weather ahead? I’m never sure how to interpret this one-of-a-kind winter song. It’s always thin and high-pitched, and often trails off as though frozen in the air. Nothing like the full-throated winter call of the tiny house wren.

Is the sparrow announcing its presence? Maintaining boundaries? Better, perhaps it’s defying all preconceptions about its stamina, determination, survival instincts and importance in the greater order of this world. Reminding me life is greater and perhaps more precious than human existence inside a pre-heated igloo full of comfort and convenience props.

I love my heated dwelling and all my squirreled-away survival rations. I adore the sound and feel of precious radiator heat on a cold morning. I willingly tolerate the heart-stopping roar of my morning Vitamix machine. It enables me to sit at my kitchen table looking out the window, listening for sounds of outdoor creatures and imbibing my half-digested breakfast. Imagining I’m roughing it.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 6 December 2017
Photo found at

lost in the woods

lost in the woods
pursued by fear
captured by love
reigning supreme
Prince Oliver Smudge the Second

* * *

We just caught Smudge out a few days ago, Read the rest of this entry »

bone-chilling north wind

Eagle, PageImage-510414-4813400-DSC_1832

bone-chilling north wind

howls against tight-locked window

rattles my slumber

* * * Read the rest of this entry »

“Once in a granite hill. . .”


Here’s a happy poem from Amy Carmichael.  It reminds me of creation, Sabbath rest, children, and what it takes to survive in a sometimes desolate landscape.  These bluebells are in the British Isles.  Amy grew up in Ireland, and doubtless enjoyed bluebells like these when she was growing up.

Texas bluebells, the state’s flower, were one of Diane’s favorites.  On one of my spring trips to Houston, which happily included our daughter, Diane and her family drove us out into the country to view spectacular Texas bluebells.  This post is in honor of Diane, whose eyes were as blue as the bluebells of Texas.

I think Amy wrote this poem especially for children, of which she was one at least in spirit.  You might try reading it out loud–just for fun!


Once in a granite hill
God carved a hollow place,
Called the blue air, and said, “Now fill
This emptiness of space.” 

Or was it angels came,
And set among the fells
A crystal bowl, and filled the same
With handfuls of bluebells? 

Hot hours walked overhead;
Our valley grew more sweet,
Though elsewhere gentle colors fled
Fearing those burning feet. 

Those burning feet—the fells
Are withered where they go,
But still the misty blue bluebells
Only the bluer blow. 

O God, who made the bowl
And filled it full of blue,
Canst Thou not make of this, my soul,
A vase of flowers, too? 

Let not the hot hours make
Thy child as withered fells,
But fill me full, for love’s dear sake,
With blue as of bluebells. 

*  *  *

Amy Carmichael, Mountain Breezes:
The Collected Poems of Amy Carmichael, pp. 132-33
© 1999, The Dohnavur Fellowship, published by Christian Literature Crusade.
Published in Pans (prior to 1917) and Made in the Pans (1917)

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 January 2015
Photo credit:

perky ears


perky ears alert

brown eyes scan for leftovers

in hillside debris Read the rest of this entry »

noisy commotion

noisy commotion

young coopers hawk loses prey

aggressive squirrels score

* * *

Mid-fall games are on

Outside my kitchen window

Hunger games

Power games

Survival games

Fourteen Hungry Turkey Vultures, All in a Row!

(Not my backyard, not my vultures, not a fall scene–but it will do in a pinch!)

Outdoor tomcat–also not mine–takes victory strut around back yard

Proudly displays doomed sparrow clutched in mighty jaws

Knock knock


Enforcer squirrels rush into the fray,

Intimidate giant predators with much ado about everything–

Unexpected heroes in a bloodless war to the death

Seasoned hawk swoops to snatch juicy rodent

Young coopers hawk goes hungry for now

Are we having fun?

Not really

Too many victims

Too few heroes

* * *

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 10 November 2014
Photos from open stock on internet

wind-whipped branches

wind-whipped branches writhe
nestling birds cling for dear life
nature on rampage

* * * * *

It’s 3:00 am

I’m alone in the house Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: