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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thoughts for All Soul's Day

Eight days ago, on October 25th 2012, at 5:26:01, I took this image of one of my house finches enjoying my Kiwi Vine in my roof top garden (in NYC); and he was even using one of its branches for a "launching pad" to take off, and fly around in peace for the first time that day! 

For as it happened, all day long, ruthless jackhammers had been being pounded below the surface of a building (a few doors away from me), which is being renovated. 

This renovation has been going on for months, and the workmen are pounding the jackhammers from early in the morning until late afternoon, disrupting all the folks who live within earshot. I had been concerned about how the noise has impacted the birds who visit my garden, but folks told me "the birds are used to it."
Used to it? As far as I know, these sweet creatures cannot avail themselves of ear plugs and I don't see how they could be "used to it;" however, I will concede that all during the sound of the jackhammers and other equipment, my visiting birds continued to sing as they noshed in my garden!

In any event, it was with a huge sigh of relief that I was able to spend time working in my garden after the workmen left that day, for I was in a great deal of ear pain, as my ears are especially sensitive. However, it was only seconds after the aforementioned picture was taken, that the noise of the jackhammers, and of the "renovation" equipment, was replaced by swarms — and I do mean swarms — of helicopters flying very low, near to where I live. It is not unusual for helicopters to be flying around NYC because news and traffic reporters — as well as feature film crews — use them on an ongoing basis. But somehow the amount of helicopters, and the fact that they were flying so low, indicated their presence was not a result of a "need" to relay a story about a celebrity, presidential candidate, weather calamity or traffic jam. 

The last time that this many helicopters had flown this low on the Upper Westside was September Eleventh; and for those of us who lived in NYC during Nine Eleven, swarming helicopters are an indicator that something tragic has happened.

And on Thursday, October the 25th, neither the Internet or the radio had a reason regarding these low flying helicopters, and so I ventured out onto the street where a number of folks, just as I was, were very concerned about what had happened.

Moments later, we got our answer: A nanny had allegedly killed two of the children entrusted to her care, and the mother of those children, upon returning to her home with a third child in tow, had witnessed the nanny trying to commit suicide, and seen the bodies of her children in a pool of blood in the family's bathtub! The incident took place four blocks from where I live, in a building known as La Rochelle, which is pictured below.

This photo features the upper portion of a 19th century prewar apartment building named La Rochelle. It is located on the UWS of NYC.

While I did not know the family (The Krim's) who were the victims of this horrific crime, or the nanny (Ms. Ortega) who allegedly is the killer, I am certain that I have seen them in places that I shop for groceries; or, perhaps, I've seen them walking their dog, as the area where I live is indeed a real neighborhood. This incident has caused me to have nightmares and in my mind and heart I can almost hear Ms. Krim's "blood curling screams," which she reportedly made upon seeing the horrific sight.

I passed the La Rochelle on my way home from my volunteer work this past Sunday, and I saw a woman sitting on the stoop of a building across from La Rochelle. She was sobbing. "What could the nanny have been thinking?" she wondered aloud! "If she needed help, we are neighborhood people; couldn't someone have helped her?"

Even though the La Rochelle is only four blocks from where I live (and I do not live in a luxury building), it is well out of earshot of the jackhammers doing the aforementioned renovation on my street, and the building where I live is out of earshot of the haunting screams of Ms. Krim. I grieve for her, particularly as I spend time in my garden, knowing that one of her daughters, as well as her son, will never again (among many things), see sweet birds, as I am able to do.

And on the afternoon I wrote this post, which was November Second, a day that happens to be the Feast of All Souls, I especially prayed for the Krim's to have strength and hoped that the family would somehow get through this and ultimately enjoy life with their surviving daughter.

And that same afternoon I also prayed for the community of wonderful residents of an assisted living center (where I have done volunteer work for twelve years) as another one of their comrades, Florence (pictured below) died quite recently.

Most of the residents have a room of their own, but Florence shared hers with a woman I'll call YC. At the time of Florence's death YC was in the hospital (and still is), so the residents are all very concerned that YC will blame herself when she is ultimately told about Florence's death.

Although, I've known Florence for nine years now, I know only bits and pieces about her life: her birthday was May 31st; she never knew her parents; she had a brother; her childhood years were filled with abusive acts directed at her; she wanted to be a nun, but instead worked in some capacity for the post-office. Moreover, I also know that Florence and YC cared for each other a great deal and, like the residents, I pray that YC will not blame herself for not being there when Florence died; as I pray for the Krim's who probably think that if only they'd been there . . . 

Now, in the aftermath of the hurricane now called Super Storm Sandy, the news is filled with reports regarding so much tragedy (which has occurred since the killings that took place at the Krims' home and since Florence's death). It is hard to know where to begin in terms of reaching out to those who are suffering. I am living beyond dire straits myself, so I cannot reach out to Hurricane Sandy's victims with any monetary help; and, additionally, with the city being crippled in terms of mass transit, I cannot travel and lend a helping hand to those directly affected by Sandy.

However, I can and will continue to do my volunteer work at the home; and I can and I will check in on my very dear friend (and editor) who lives in the building next door. (She is someone you may recognize from the image below which has been featured here on Blogger in the past).

Moreover, just as shelters and soup kitchens have been setup throughout the city and continue to help those in need re Hurricane Sandy, I can continue with my "set-up" of a bird feeding system that I created with my friend Michael to ensure my visiting birds could still eat in my garden. A number of visiting birds have availed themselves of this, as evidenced in the images posted below.

As per a prior post: I secured their feeder  from blowing down re Sandy's winds!
(It normally hangs on a bracket.)
 A red house finch (male) + a mourning dove (gender unidentified)
 seen here are just two of many who noshed.
Another "example" of  Guests Who Came to Dine:
A house finch (female) and a different mourning dove (gender also unidentified)!
Some birds (who also happen to be ground feeders), took advantage of the "lower level" made possible my the "system" Michael and I contrived as you will see in the images below.

House Finch 
Mystery Guest

Cam's Partner?

These images show the birds who tend to be ground feeders and who "justify" their eating habits by quoting scripture! Many times I've overheard them reciting the biblical quote which states "even the dogs get the crumbs which fall to the floor." 

The finch (seen in the first image in this section) is both a ground feeder and one who noshes from hanging feeders, but I've yet to learn the eating habits of this "newcomer" bird (middle image in this series) whom I am still calling the mystery bird.

As for the cardinal (third image in this series), he is a fairly new guest in my garden. Initially, he came to my garden quite some time ago with Cam. Cam, as you may recall, dear reader, is a cardinal that I've featured a number of times in entries here on Blogger as well as tumblr. Moreover, a number of Cam's photo-ops can be found on my Pinterst Boards. In any event, I have not seen or heard Cam since October 23rd and I am very concerned that something may have happened to her, which is something I've stated a number of times on TLLG's Facebook Page, where I often feature images of her.

The re-appearence of the male cardinal (who may be Cam's boy toy or hubby) with no sight of Cam causes me to wonder if he is bringing food to her. For several weeks Cam has been the one coming for food in my garden, and I'm hoping her absence which is replaced by his presence means that she has been sending him here for "take-out." 

However, I've also heard that in heavy rains the hairs of birds may become too saturated to fly and Cam's disappearance happened in conjunction with heavy rainfall. Or perhaps she's been displaced by the high winds as a result of Hurricane Sandy? In any case I'm very concerned about her, as are my other birds, who may be including her in their prayers as they often say grace before meals, which you can see in the images posted below.

And I'll leave you with this, dear reader, but be rest assured that you and yours are in my thoughts and prayers as we all cope (and help others to cope) in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

UPDATE: "Rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated," Mark Twain reportedly once said. And such was the case with Florence! Details can be found by clicking here!

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