The Explorer

I remember watching Mutual Of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom every weekend when I was a young boy. I wanted to be a famous explorer and wildlife biologist like Marlin Perkins Marty Stouffer or Jacques Cousteau. I would sit and watch them on t.v. for hours upon hours. I also had a healthy appetite for the world of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek and Johnny Quest. All of this came together in my young mind to form the view that the world was created just for the specific purpose of being explored and documented. All I needed was a ship, some technical gadgets and a crew of science guys. And oh yes, A few bodyguards. Johnny Quest was constantly getting into a tight spot and bad guys seem to target young explorers for some unknown reason. But I digress.

I suppose that the entertainment of my youth is where my desire to follow a stream like the one in the feature image until I just can’t go any farther. An exploration of anything is more than just reaching the goal. It’s taking the time to experience the quest. One of the most memorable moments of Wild Kingdom was when Perkins rode a monitor lizard through the water. Perkins wasn’t really a young man at the time but he often did things like that. Looking back I see that there must be two kinds of explorers. The goal oriented explorer who just wants to find the finish line and the experience oriented explorer who needs to be truly absorbed into the journey. I tend to gravitate towards the later. I find myself staring downstream from this spot wanting to pack as much gear as I can possibly carry and turn over every rock in the creek just to see what’s down there. So what if there’s no giant lizards to ride like Perkins did or cold war intrigues like Johnny Quest but there’s adventure none the less and the world was created just to be explored.

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Cardinals in Springtime

I would follow you anywhere.

You are my whole world.

It hurts when you are not in sight.

You are the other half of me.

– Lloyd A Dempsey II

Living outside of office at my day job is a pair of mated Cardinals. (Cardinalis cardinalis) . Their marriage is strongly based on commitment. Cardinals mate for life and engage in courtship on a regular basis. Every year before nesting the male (bright red) brings food to the female and feeds her beak to beak. She is completely devoted to him. As he patrols his territory she never seems to be more than fifty feet away. If he leaves her sight she chirps sharply and he answers. The males have a distinct song. The song is a combination of loud high pitched tweets followed by several low pitched ones. The males fiercely defend their territory. They are small birds but what they lack in size they make up for in tenacity and vigilance. They’re known to orchestrate Blind Side surprise attacks on cats, dogs and people. I’ve watched the male pictured here simultaneously attack and chase away two crows that ventured too close to his nesting spouse. (Hey, it’s a guy thing. We’re not fulfilled unless we’re being protectors) Even though they seem to be antisocial jerks at times I have been able to pet one. He had defended his territory against his own reflection in a window and was lying on the ground unconscious. I thought it was dead but when I knelt down to check it out he sprung up and pecked my finger. After a few minutes he decided that I wasn’t such a bad guy after all and allowed me check him for injuries. Don’t worry about his mate rejecting him. That’s an old wives tale. They were still together for years afterwards.

I recently commented on another blog that marriage was about commitment and that true love grows out of that commitment. I can think of no better example than the Northern Cardinal.