Saturday, August 1, 2009

Poignant News –

Seeing the news photo of the Millwood Road animal shelter (humane society) building destroyed by today’s flames, brings back a flood of memories to me (and I’m sure to many others, too). For 13 years I was associated with the humane society ... for the first three years as a hands-on volunteer (walking dogs and cleaning their cages) and then as education director, traveling with my program to schools and organizations throughout Knox and contiguous counties. I kept doing it because I wanted to save animals’ lives by promoting responsible pet ownership and spay/neuter. I did bring the message to hundreds of classrooms, youth organizations, and civic groups until my job was eliminated in early 2004.

Thousands of animals came through the doors of that old building each year. The lucky minority were adopted ... the rest were dispatched when their time was up – or sooner if they were "owner surrendered". Of all the situations there that broke my heart, it was the suffering of the house-trained adult dogs, who were in the top tier of the old cement cages, that was the saddest; they had no access to the outdoors. I still see images of them and their distress, in my mind’s eye.

The news photo shows the large holly tree as it still stands next to the building, a silent witness to so much. The news article says that an arson investigator has been called in.

Employees had sometimes talked among themselves about "seeing" animals who were no longer there, moving about in the euthanasia room; the employees concluded that it must be an "energy field". I never went inside that room.

So, goodbye to the corridors and rooms where lives were extinguished, and the spirits of many, many animals roamed. The news article says that the fire left only the outer walls of the building remaining.

Summer’s Hush –

August is here ... golden August. The fruit of the gardens is abundant, the wildflowers are forming seed heads and pods. My favorite wildflowers are orange glory and purple ironweeds. The ironweeds are the late bloomers and just getting ready to blossom here in Tennessee.

Kids and teachers are getting ready to go back to school. Oh, I remember what a painful thing it was to relinquish summer when I was a child. I suspect that hasn’t changed for today’s kids, especially here in Tennessee, where school resumes in early August. Where I lived (Connecticut), school would re-open on the Wednesday after Labor Day. Always. That seemed much more logical to me. My birthday is September 1st, so as my excitement would mount with my own special day approaching, it was juxtaposed with my sadness about school’s re-opening. I remember that bittersweet emotional conflict – year after year!. I liked school, for the most part, and was a good student; it was just the loss of my personal freedom that bothered me. I’m the same way now, definitely a free spirit. Oh, to be a butterfly, flitting from flower to flower, following my bliss! Well, to some extent, that’s what I do.

Anyway, August is kind of nostalgic and soft and golden, a time to hold onto in one’s memory. It’s a nice month. All of nature is looking forward now to resting, after its vigorous growth, budding, blooming, and propagation. Nature is a great teacher and I am nature’s daughter. August is a nice month.

“That Old Black Magic” –

I’m talking about the song, written by composer Harold Arlen and lyricist Johnny Mercer in 1942, for the film "Star Spangled Rhythm". I happened to hear a piped-in version of it recently while at Savelli’s Restaurant. Never before having realized what technical potential is there in that song, I’m having a lot of fun with it now. Lots of nooks and crannies support all kinds of little riffs and bass lines and the lyrics are fun to sing, too. Add this to my covers list :)