snowy sunday morning

We went to sleep to the almost silent patter of snow.  I say almost silent, because when sleet is mixed in there is the little whoosh sound.

I woke in the middle of the night and went to the window to watch the stillness below.  From the brightness of a snowy night, when everything has that unearthly sort of glow, I watched one of our foxes pad silently across the back garden.  It was old fox, whose face is a good part white now.  This fox looks like they are wearing a fur head warmer because there is a halo of fox red fur around their face, but their face now is whitened with age.

My husband laughs at me watching things in the still of the night in the back, but it’s like the woods come alive.  Deer tiptoeing across the rear of the woods, along the back neighbor’s fence line.  A trio of raccoons and even foxes eating the birdseed scattered on the ground for them.

A Midwinter Night’s Dream.

It’s lovely and almost lyrical as well as magical to watch. The sparkling new fallen snow and the woodland animals roaming in the night.  On some nights like this if the young raccoons are out, they tumble and wrestle, enjoying the freedom of playing.

Day breaks and a pinkish orange glow grows upward as light and dawn creep in.  Everything is still lush and quiet with the startling whiteness of the snow.  Then dawn is gone and skies are blue.  That is a whole other kind of beauty.

The luxury of open space means I look out to snow covered trees and branches and shrubs. Nature’s fine frosting.  I hear the woodpeckers squabbling in the tall red oak.  The mourning doves and cardinals flutter in first, followed by the other song birds.

Overhead, a hawk cries out.

This is morning in Chester County.  This is what we need to preserve before developers and greedy corporate giants like Sunoco displace all of this loveliness.  These are the moments individuals like the head of the Chester County Planning Commission does not get, because he hails from the land of infill development. Traffic noise and people squashed in like lemmings is his norm. He doesn’t live in Chester County, which I have always felt should be required. People like him do not get the simple joys of a snowy Chester County morning. Which, subsequently, is why we need more land and historic preservation, and less development.

It also makes me think of our Revolutionary War Soldiers.  For them, a Chester County Winter wasn’t so pleasant I think.  But you have to wonder, in the snow last night, did their ghosts traverse Crebilly in Westtown on silent maneuvers?

Or what about the old souls laid to rest at Ebenezer on Bacton Hill Road? What kind of winters did they see?

What did William Lockwood think when he looked out of the windows of Loch Aerie on a snowy night?

Or the fine people of Chester County’s now many historic villages? What did they see? Sugartown? Goshenville? Marshalton? St. Peter’s? Malvern? Other villages? Can’t you just hear the early morning clop, clop, clop of horses drawing carts on the old streets of West Chester and Kennett Square?

When we look out our windows at the snow in the evening, or the middle of the night, or at dawn and daybreak, who else has looked before us and what did they think?

Enjoy the snow before it all melts.

christmas bluebirds

I love my own personal Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom that lives in our woods and in the gardens.  This year I have some new winter residents, Eastern Bluebirds.  I first saw them a month ago, and then I saw them again just now. It’s official, I’m in love.

These are the things that make living here in Chester County, PA so darn special. These are the things we need to conserve and preserve.  These are the things that all the wanton development spoils.  Tyvec wrapped stick frame construction with nary a tree to be seen can never, ever replace the simple joy of seeing bluebirds in your garden.

Anyway, if you enjoy the birds one of the things you can do is participate in Cornell’s Feeder Watch.  It’s fun! (My husband doesn’t know it yet, but I signed us back up!)

sometimes you have to slow down and smell the flowers…and help a turtle cross the road

I read this quote today on a friend’s Facebook timeline:

“This is what Christianity is about. Whether it’s ethics, our understanding of God, our thoughts about the future, or the central image of the Christian story—it’s all love, from first to last. Every bit of it is an attempt to explain, demonstrate, or extrapolate on love.”

 

It was shared along with this blog post : by Micha Redding “Christianity is Love”  

So simple, yet so powerful.  The post also contained this:

Love your neighbor as yourself’. Love does no harm to its neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.” (Romans 13:8-10)

Yet we seem to live in a country that seems so blood thirsty today for lack of a better description.  Some people absolutely can’t feel good about themselves unless they are trying to beat someone else down. They seem to think they find their power by hurting others.  Do they? Or does that just make them sad and mean?

I saw these quote after I was thinking about this post, which is about most simply put sometimes you have to slow down and smell the flowers…and help a turtle cross the road.

Seriously.

This morning I was enjoying the simple majesty of a cool, slightly damp morning, my song birds and my flowers, when I saw something in the road.

Yes it is a turtle.  As I later found out, a snapping turtle.  I gave it wide berth and walked behind it like a shepherd until it crossed the road.

And the marvelous thing about the snapping turtle that did not snap? It got people outside for a few minutes, away from the minutia of daily life to see a creature we do not often get a glimpse at.

It was nice.  It was one of life’s little interludes. Maybe the universe is telling us all something?

good-bye tom

tom hickeyI found out the evening before last from a mutual friend, that  Tom Hickey had died.  Knowing him a little bit for eight years was a good thing. He was kind and loved animals. Now he and PSPCA’s George Bengal are fighting the good fight from heaven. Homeless pets have another guardian angel watching over them.

But darn it, I am sad.

I liked Tom a lot and before his first stroke we would speak every now and then. My cell phone would ring  and  I would get “Hey it’s Tom. Got a minute?” and then he would launch into whatever he was thinking. Or he would text me similarly and ask me to call.

2786939954_34c1902e98_oI first met Tom on August 21, 2008.  I met him through Bill Smith at Main Line Animal Rescue.  It was when Bryan Lentz and others were presenting the PA Dog Law Puppy Mill stuff in Radnor Township. Tom Hickey was with the PA Dog law Advisory Board,and at the time Jessie Smith was with Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.

From then on, I would keep in touch with him.  He was funny, nice, an animal lover, and adored his family.

He could get controversial and would go to the mat for homeless pets.  Animal Rescue is a tough business and he was one of the ones who gave it their all.

In 2010 it was because of him that the people selling puppy mill puppies inside Zern’s were punished for cruelty.  They had puppies, little puppies in unventilated fish tanks inside the non-air conditioned Zern’s. Such a horrible horrible thing.  

zerns

If you did not know him or knew that happened, you would never know he was the quiet force behind that. But he was.

In 2013 when Chester County was gripped with the horror of two family dogs being shot in West Vincent, in what became the movement called Justice for Argus and Fiona, Tom stepped up and rolled up his sleeves, and was a big part of justice actually happening in that situation.  I was also as my readers know part of getting justice for the family in that case, and it was a pleasure to work with him on that. He was always positive and encouraging and said the right thing would happen, and it did.

He was also a former member of the board of the Chester County SPCA now known as the Brandywine Valley SPCA, and always, always was a champion of homeless pets. Tom was a board member during tumultuous times at the Brandywine Valley SPCA, but he should be remembered there for his contributions.  He was passionate, and incredibly  dedidicated. He was also just one heck of a good guy.

Tom was one of a kind.  I enjoyed knowing him even a little bit for a few years. To his family I send prayers and hugs and condolences.  He was one of a kind and a lot of use will miss him, but I know how much you loved him, and he you.

Good-bye Tom.  You were way too young to go. Sigh. Now you and Sharon are together again.

 In the end, it’s still that amazing love story between he and his wife. Good-bye Tom.

This is how Tom should be remembered- with his dogs. Hickey family photo

This is how Tom should be remembered- with his dogs. Hickey family photo

Here is Mari Schaefer’s article on Philly.com – read the whole thing, I have only featured an excerpt:

Updated: JULY 18, 2016 — 3:22 PM EDT

Thomas Hickey Sr., 61, a passionate advocate for animals and the underserved, died of a stroke on Sunday at Jefferson Hospital.

 Hickey, who had recently moved to Center City from Chester County, is best known for his work on legislation to improve conditions in Pennsylvania puppy mills.

“The canines of Pennsylvania have every reason to be sad today,” said former Gov. Ed Rendell, who appointed Hickey to the state’s Dog Law Advisory Board in 2006. “They lost a great, great champion.”

…Sharon Hickey, who died in January at age 59 of cancer, shared her husband’s love of animals, said Kimberly Cary, their daughter.

“We always rescued our dogs,” said Cary.

Her parents, who both went to Holy Cross Elementary School in Springfield, Delaware County, and then Cardinal O’Hara High School, met as teenagers, Cary said.

“They were together ever since,” Cary said.

Hickey helped start a rescue called Dogshome and also founded DOGPAC, a political action committee focused on promoting laws to protect animals….

Visitation is planned for Thursday at 9 a.m. followed by a service at 11 a.m. at the D’Anjolell Memorial Home, on 2811 West Chester Pike in Broomall.

Donations can be made to the Saved Me Animal Rescue, 860-862 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123.