An update is in order! I moved to Starkville, Mississippi on July 1 with my two cats Gimley and Woodstock.
And I have had the chance to see lots of charismatic species because Starkville is located near Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge
Note that in the gallery directly above that the Green Heron and Osprey were sighted at Gulf Shores National Wildlife Refuge, located in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. I drove down there on July 15 after having a challenging grief day the prior night. I am first and foremost a grieving birder and those closest to me know that my Angelson’s Day of Ascension is August 3. The day he passed away. His death day. I chose to call it D.O.R.A (Day of Ricky’s Ascension).
This being known, as the day draws closer, I know I need to have a place to meditate and reflect on that day. It is the 2nd one I have had to experience and unlike the 1st, where my daughter and I traveled to a place we all used to live in Missouri, this year I am going alone.
This place, Gulf Shores National Seashore is filled with beautiful Live Oak trees that provide their own ecosystems for plants and animals. Resurrection Fern grows on them.
“This remarkable plant can lose about 75 percent of its water content during a typical dry period and possibly up to 97 percent in an extreme drought. During this time, it shrivels up to a grayish brown clump of leaves. When it is exposed to water again, it will “come back to life” and look green and healthy. The plant gets its name from this supposed “resurrection,” but it never actually dies during the process. By contrast, most other plants can lose only 10 percent of their water content before they die. Fronds are typically 4 to 12 inches (10 to 30 centimeters) in length.”The National Wildlife Federation
This plant inspires me and it grows on the Live Oak in my new yard in Starkville. I find myself staring at it all day. Hoping the rain comes to replenish it over and over. There is a metaphor for life and grief in there somewhere.
There were so many juvenile Eastern Bluebirds near those trees.
After I left Gulf Shores National Wildlife Refuge, I drove over to the public beach access in Ocean Springs.
“the death of the body and the brain are not the end of consciousness, that human experience continues beyond the grave. More important, it continues under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us and about where the universe itself and all the beings within it are ultimately going.”
Alexander III M.D., Eben. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife (p. 9). Simon & Schuster.