Friday, April 17, 2015

Blueberries, Butterflies and The Pig

                                                                    Butterfly Catches Dennie Picking Blueberries

                                                                  Blueberries, Butterflies and The Pig

Picking blueberries one after the other under cloudy, but still sunny skies in a big netted over blueberry patch on a beautiful hill in little ole New Preston, Connecticut! 

Clumsy hands induce little blue, green and red ones to fall to the earth and roll below. Some others are already mashed into the soil. Big chubby ones go down the hatch. Sometimes red, orange and green ones drop accidentally into blueberry containers.  

Chatter comes from a couple of bushes nearby.  Two elderly ladies are bantering back and forth about their ailments; their hubbies’ doctor visits; hospital care for everyone; and all available medical treatments. The babble becomes annoying fast!  

Picking, picking, picking more blueberries! I’m not fast enough! Already Ina, the Mom and my wife, has filled her plastic gallon drinking water bottle with the top cut open. Mine is not even half full! As usual, she calls for my container to check it and me out. I pretend not to hear her, and shamefully rush my fingers into picking more berries!

Soon, Ina moves over and takes control of my container, leaving me to pick from one hand into the other before walking repeatedly nearby to dump the full hand into the bucket.

The picking goes on and on! Will it ever stop? Oh yes, the buckets both are almost full now, and picking under the sun makes me sweat! For a second or two, my right arm, ready to pick, extended straight out in front of me.

Suddenly a little orange butterfly with miniature black specks flies speedily around me and lands right on the back of my extended right hand! As it retracts its wings, I see the buff orange- brown color on the bottom of those wings, and its two little antlers above its tiny head, and its legs attached to its diminutive body. I glance at the little guy. My outstretched arm and hand freeze. In seconds, the tiny one takes off and flies up and around and then down again on the back of my waiting and frozen right hand. This time it stays.

I wait and wait! I marvel at this little orange-black spotted beauty. Nothing happens! So, keeping my hand and arm outstretched in front of me, I walk slowly, carefully along a couple of blueberry bushes.  I show off my new, flying friend-pet first to Ina, who tells me I am just trying to avoid more berry picking.  I ignore her and move on to another blueberry picking woman nearby who exclaims surprise, but little else. These relatively unenthusiastic reactions are not at all satisfying! I walk out 75 yards of the blueberry patch while continually looking at my extended right hand, the butterfly’s merger airport pad. 

The butterfly briefly, during my blueberry bush-to-bush travel, has folded both wings tightly together pointing skyward. Those two wings closed upward become a two-sided pale brown-orange triangle.

As I approach the blueberry patch’s wooden payment shack, I see a diminutive little brown-haired boy rolling down a small slope in the grass toward me. A younger pint-sized girl is standing nearby. The boy is laughing and having fun as more grass and dirt cling to his short brown hair, his white t-shirt and his medium blue shorts. 

I say firmly to both kids, but quietly: “Hey, want to see my butterfly?!” They look puzzled! I repeat the question. My right arm and hand, holding the sitting butterfly is pointing toward the boy. I exclaim: “Don’t move fast!” He looks at it curiously, and of course, moves closer to me. Then, as I move my whole hand slowly upward to keep him from scaring the winged one, the butterfly flits off my hand’s posterior. 

I look upward. I can see it flying back and forth. It is about twenty feet above me. Seconds pass! I then exclaim: “Hey! Look what you did! It’s gone!” Seemingly within seconds, I hear Ina’s voice exclaiming a bit sarcastically as she walks out of the blueberry patch: “It landed on your ear!” I immediately replied: “Ha! Ha! You’re soooo funny!” 

But the little boy quickly cries out, “No it’s there on your ear!” My eyes tried to veer a look up there, but naturally, I could not view it. However, I felt a very slight sensation between my right ear and my hair. “Wow!” I thought. “They’re right!” 

So, I walked slowly and carefully up to the blueberry payment shack. A middle-aged woman was waiting there to weigh blueberry containers and assess cost.  Below her lying on the ground were two panting, medium sized dogs, one a blond Husky and the other a black and white long-legged mixed breed. Proudly, I tipped the right side of my head very carefully toward the cashier and asked: “How do you like my butterfly?!” 

The woman looked, smiled and seemed amazed. However, as the Husky got up from the ground to greet me with tail wagging and red tongue sticking out of his mouth, off flew the butterfly away into the sky forever! I looked at it disappear. A bit saddened, I petted the Husky and his nearby buddy while Ina, ever the banker, paid for the blueberries.  

I thought about this wonderful blueberry patch butterfly mate for several days before an amazing thought suddenly occurred to me. Once before, about ten years back, I had encountered similarly amazing butterfly interactions with another man. 

“Whoa!” I exclaimed whispering to myself, after relating the two experiences in my mind. “Butterflies can and do communicate and interact with people, if humans have enough sensitivity to figure this out!”

Now I will tell you that this close to a decade-old story is still relatively fresh in my mind. But, you know that as the years pass, some details can become hazy or exaggerated. Nevertheless, the true guts of this startling story are still etched in my mind today.

That earlier dream-like happening occurred, when, by chance, I met a locally well-known Vermont character, an old, white-haired man, inside the diminutive town of Barnard, Vermont. We both were lingering under the awning of the General Store and looking out onto beautiful Silver Lake nearby. 

There were a few part-time porch and pavement below frequenters near us. They included some old guys, young dudes and pet dogs of all sorts, jumping on and off the porch and occasionally into and out of the lake. Across the street, swimmers were just getting out of the lake’s cold blue waters onto the green grass alongside.  Others were still paddling their arms and hands and splashing inside the nearby shallow portion of a swim hole. 

This old white-haired character had been repeatedly seen for years walking up and down the main drag of a road leading south to beautiful Woodstock and north towards diminutive Bethel. He habitually and repeatedly smiled and waved at passing cars, including mine, without hesitation. I later learned his old ramshackle house was just off the main road a mile or two north of the general store which is defined as the town center. 

Local residents told me the old man’s home had burned to the ground years back, only to be rebuilt by a kindly crew of volunteer townspeople. 

So, without warning or hesitation on this very sunny day, the white-haired, winkled-face character sidled right up to my side on that porch, just feet away, and, without introducing himself, began telling his story in a raspy, but riveting voice. 

The other night, the dude said, he and a couple of other guys loaded a well used pickup truck with a big, white, muddied pig. He began describing the wild and crazy time they had inducing and pushing the pig up a plank to the bed of the pickup. As he did so with his arms gesticulating in all directions, two medium-sized white butterflies began flying several feet above his head on the edge of the porch and underneath the slanted roof of the General Store! 

I don’t know whether he saw the butterflies or not, but he never once hesitated in his story telling. In fact, as his story progressed, his arms moved around zigzagging like butterfly wings. 

The pig was eventually loaded, he said, before he and another guy got in the truck and drove off, I think, to a pig barn. I wasn’t absolutely sure of the truck’s destination, because his chattered story became speedier and speedier as it progressed. As the words flew out of his mouth, and he became more excited, the butterflies’ flights became faster and more erratic!

Down the road into a wooded area drove the two men with the pig, scrambling and squealing inside the truck’s bed. But, because the porker, partially restrained by rope, became wildly squeamish, they stopped and jumped out in a rush to see what the fuss was all about. 

It was fortunate, because the hog by now had wriggled out of its moorings and was ready to rock and roll! As the uncombed, white-haired, eccentric, but loveable dude told his story, his long, unbarbered hair flowed from side to side. 

Meanwhile, above him the butterflies continued their incredible dance. Up, up, up in the sky they went, only to rush back down to the porch, duck under the roof and then lurch over the old guy’s head to match their movements with the gravelly tale teller’s voice inflections. Sometimes movements became so dramatic, it was hard to distinguish the flowing white hair from the flying white wings. I was mesmerized! 

The two men lost control of the pig as they opened the tailgate to restrain it. It slithered by them, with its body mud flying all over the place, and leaped out of the truck, falling to the ground on its side, and squealing painfully before righting itself and rushing into the woods. 

During the yarn, I didn’t know whether to watch the butterflies or the old man because both were equally fascinating. I caught glimpses of the butterflies zipping around his head, and once even out a few feet toward the lake before returning, like they were in a magnetic field, to the airways over that wild, messy white hair. 

Now, years after hearing the tale, I don’t really remember what happened to the pig. I don’t think he escaped, but he may have. I do clearly remember this! After the white-haired townsman’s lowdown ended, the butterflies simply flew away up into the sky over the lake and disappeared. Amazing! Have you ever seen white butterflies moving around the countryside? They never, ever seem to stop their wild and jagged flight patterns in one location like they did that day!

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Spirits of Birds, Bears, Butterflies and All Those Other Wild Creatures

The Spirits of Birds, Bears, Butterflies and All Those Other Wild Creatures

Author: Dennie Williams

Synopsis: This is a book of true to life nature tales emphasizing animal and bird interaction and communications with humans. The tales start with a short poem about Chickadees and end with a poetic tour through the Costa Rican jungle. The book opens with a prologue relating how I became fascinated with animals and birds through family influences and experiences. Then, in an introduction, it explains the significance of interactions and spiritual communications among birds, animals and other creatures with humans. Finally, it starts with the first of sixteen true stories or descriptive chapters of interesting interaction among people and birds and animals.

The book was inspired by a little orange butterfly that landed on the back of my right hand while I was blueberry picking. My adventure in the berry patch with the little fellow lasted 10 to 15 minutes. It inspired me a couple of days later to recall an amazing experience I had several years back on the porch of the General Store in Barnard, Vermont. There an ancient local character surprised me with no introduction by coming right up to me, and, without introduction, telling me an experience he had the previous evening with a run-away pig. As he was doing so, without his notice, two wild, white butterflies began flying over his head. As the story got wilder, they darted faster around his head. Believe it! For the entire tale, they flew over his head, and as it ended, their flight slowed and then they flew away toward Silver Lake on a beautiful sunny day. The two experiences inspired me to search the Internet for humans & wild creatures & communications. Up came the YouTube site with quite a few videos of people having wonderful interaction with birds, butterflies, fish and wild animals. That convinced me I needed to write this unique nature book. So I began searching all over town and elsewhere for such stories and found plenty!

Description and Books' Mission: One of the critical issues facing the world today is the vital obligation to preserve and protect the environment. As a result of the momentum of destruction of nature world-wide, it will take generations, if ever, to repair all the damage. Hopefully the erosion, already generations old, will not continue at its present pace. But, whatever happens children, teenagers and adults need to educate themselves as much as possible to the very soul of nature. This book and its short stories are a small and humble effort at catching the attention of as many readers as possible to the need to appreciate wildlife and the actuality that wild creatures can and do communicate their vital needs to people around them, even if they don't listen or observe the many attempted interactive approaches to them by the non-human world.

Once people, at as early an age as possible, become educated to the needs of wild life, the less destructive they will be toward nature during their lifetimes, and perhaps they will even become devoted to help the causes of all living beings including those humans other than themselves. If the skill to appreciate nature and interact with wild creatures is honed at an early age, it becomes almost impossible not to take up or support environmental protection causes as one grows older.

As I say in the background introduction to the short stories: "As kind as people are to animals, birds, fish and other living creatures, they have to think more about those creatures' innate desires for freedom and independence. Above all, humans need empathy toward wild animals, birds and all other untamed critters. If more of them expressed it, nature could flourish in wider areas worldwide and man-made pollution disasters might decrease in kind. Can you imagine poisoning, torturing or intentionally running over a rabbit, squirrel or roadside crow? I can't! Then how do corporations operated by people endlessly pollute the air, water and earth where wildlife lives?"

Even as I was writing this book, my own concern for wildlife has grown so much that sometimes I have a very hard time reading, watching or listening to its incredible destruction during wide spread forest fires, hurricanes, oil spills, munitions explosions in war and after war or every day pollution of the air by nuclear plants, factories or just plain exhaust from hundreds of cars I pass by with my own car every week. And, yet for all of my working life I was a news reporter writing hundreds of stories of environmental disasters including investigative human health tales involving the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The environmental decimation of those wars, particularly from radiation dust caused by depleted uranium munitions, will impact on nature, wild creatures and humans in the Middle East for untold numbers of years. Radiation is hard if not impossible to eradicate and some say its hazards can last billions of years. And yet it seems news reports about its repercussions as well as the health effects of depleted uranium contamination and other huge environmental disasters focus on harm to people but not wild creatures, the earth or the oceans.

But the nature tales in this book look largely upon the positive side of the relationships among people and wild creatures. They are lively, poetic and funny stories all with a focus on interaction, not always friendly, among people and birds and animals. Some of them involve my own experiences at all ages. In order to put those stories and the book in perspective, I open up with my own family background, not as an ego trip, but to show how I very gradually became a kind of minor league nature fanatic. On the other hand, however, the first short story, "Blueberries, Butterflies and The Pig," explains, how only at a late age, as a so called senior citizen, I finally realized there exists a spiritual, fascinating and inspiring interaction among humans and wild creatures, in this case butterflies, and people. Of course, that only occurs if the person already has a sensitive and regular appreciation of wild creatures. After some weeks of thinking about these butterfly experiences, it occurred to me that I and some close friends had a reservoir of experiences interacting with birds and animals.

Just as inspiring still was doing some extensive research on communications among humans and wild creatures and discovering it was not just my imagination. My thinking wasn't craziness, it related to the real world! That research is part of the introduction to the short stories and is necessary to create credibility with the reader.

Chapter-Tales Summary


The tale explaining how the author grew up among family gradually influencing his deep appreciation of wildlife, and ultimately, decades later, his belief in spirits creating the potential for interaction and communication among wildlife and people.

Introduction - People Believe In Communications With Pets But Rarely Wildlife

A deeply researched explanation of how wild creatures communicate and connect with humans in all sorts of fascinating situations.

Chickadees and The Ancient Birder
A poem suggesting a floating spirit: birds' interactions – chants to the old guy who feeds them.

Blueberries, Butterflies and The Pig, explains, how only at a late age, as a so called senior citizen, I finally realized there exists a spiritual, fascinating and inspiring interaction among humans and wild creatures, in this case butterflies, and people.

The Adventures of a Canadian-Bermudian Sailor excitingly relates how that boatman gets caught in his sail boat in a two-day storm on his way to Bermuda. After he miraculously survives and sails on during a beautiful sunlit day, a swallow, who too barely survived, lands on his hand and visits with him for 10 or 15 minutes.

A Farm Boy Becomes a Spiritual Man of Nature is the story of how a country boy grew up on a Litchfield farm and as he absorbed the outdoors, wildlife, the cattle and hens, he became more and more aware of the spirits of nature.

The Savior of Baby Wild Animals of All Kinds relates how a Connecticut woman became nurse, mother and friend to baby creatures of all kinds.
Saving Birds and Other Wildlife in The Gulf of Mexico, 

A Spiritual Transformation tells the tales of two bird and wild creature rescuers in the aftermath of the BP oil explosion.

The Black Bears Repeatedly Raid Bird Feeders is a personal anecdote of confrontations with Black Bears and how they relate to similar experiences of others.

The Great White Hunter: A humorous narration by the author's oldest childhood buddy of his dream to become a great white hunter like Daniel Boone and how his fantasy crumbled while pursuing a squirrel.

Squirrels, The Acrobats, The Raiders, The Flying Invaders: A personal ongoing history of the author's experiences with squirrels throughout his life that eventually lead from hostility to peace and humor.

The One Time Haunting Korean Hunt: In this story, the author confesses to a once in a lifetime wildlife hunting excursion on the dangerous mine-infested border between North and South Korea. The hunt is serenaded with a loud, haunting, micro-phoned back-drop of an infamous American soldier who defected to North Korea promoting that country's alleged attributes to all who listen.

The Falcon and The Great Blue Heron: Two birds show how they can communicate fear, hostility and friendliness to a doctor who turned his back yard into a vineyard.

Hawks Nesting In The City Find Tragedy and Inspire Humans as Fans and Fanatics: Two Red-tailed Hawks decide to build their nest on top of a large beautiful Eagle sculpture, a cornerstone of the roof for the historic and busy Hartford, Connecticut, Superior Court Their adventures capture the imaginations of almost everyone inhabiting or visiting the court during the summer.

Hummingbird Tea: A simple sweet water feeder attracts a throng of busy Hummingbirds eventually showing their host homeowners how to keep them happy and sociable.

The Adventures and Wild Flights of Eilish: An amazing bird adventure story about a Chilean Flamingo named Eilish who escaped a Connecticut bird sanctuary in the late fall and flew north to Ontario, Canada. There it became the focus of an intense rescue effort as winter closed in. It's savior was a well known bird and animal rescuer who became so close to the creatures she rescued that they became her spiritual friends.

Big Daddy Swan Protects His Brood From The Road Runners: The famous annual Litchfield Road Race was the scene of a dramatic confrontation between a competitive runner and a male swan trying to protect his mate and their brood from a rush of road runners.

Awesome Birds, Frogs, Snakes, Crocs and Insects Inside The Costa Rican Jungle: A poem about a trip through a Costa Rican jungle guided by an incredible nature guide who had close interaction with birds, lizards, snakes, insects and most all jungle dwellers.

Here are the two nature book covers: Nature Controls All for the paperback and Kindle; and the second cover under it, titled like the book with a beautiful and artful sunset painted by Ina Williams for the e-books and multiple publishers.

Cover Paperback CreateSpace, Amazon, Kindle

                                              Cover Smashwords E-Book, multiple publishers

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