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Gimme an “O”-“S”-“P”-“R”-“E”-“Y”

Before I get to “hooray for Osprey”,
I’m going to deviate for just a moment and give thanks for the seemingly
“simple” things—the things that are easily taken for granted—that make our summer
vacation trek to Yellowstone, well…possible!

As we traveled through the historic
Donner Pass, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of gratitude (and a little
heavy-hearted) as I pondered the tragic journey of the 81 American pioneers
traveling by wagon train in 1846 who found themselves trapped by snow in the
Sierra Nevada. 36 members of the party perished as a result of starvation,
exposure, disease, and trauma, and some of the survivors resorted to cannibalism.

As we look forward to our summer
vacation travels, the story of the “Donner Party” is quite interesting, if
you’re ever in need for a mighty dose of humility and perspective. I thank
those that came before me—that traveled because of necessity to find a sense of freedom, security and a place to
settle into a better life. I give thanks for my motorized vehicle, paved
roads, gas stations, convenience stores and restaurants at every exit that
offer hydration when I’m thirsty and sustenance when I’m hungry. I give thanks
for hotels and motels that provide shelter and a place to lay my head when I am
weary and need a good night’s sleep before getting back into my heated and air
conditioned motorized vehicle, and continue comfortably on my journey. Yes,
indeed, I give thanks for just a little perspective…

Ok, now, for Osprey! This photo-op
was actually meant for a lovely family of cows basking under a shady Oak in a
large roadside meadow. When I got out of the car, I heard a loud “call” from
above—40 ft above to be exact! I looked up and there they were: a mother and
juvenile Osprey in their ultra colorful (and gigantic) nest built atop the platform
of a telephone pole.

Osprey’s are a beautifully marked
member of the Hawk family. They are sometimes referred to as “Water Hawks”
because of their diet of live fish and ability to dive into water—around 3ft—to
catch them. Ospreys are unusual among hawks in possessing a reversible outer
toe that allows them to grasp with two toes in front and two behind. Barbed
pads on the soles of the birds’ feet help them grip slippery fish.

Often mistaken
for an eagle, the Osprey has nearly an all white head, but sports a mask of
black across its eyes. Its tail feathers are a deep golden brown, with black
spots; its breast and under-wings are white.

Symbolically, like all
hawks, the Osprey carries the symbolism of power, vision, and spirit. These
birds of prey represent illumination, royalty of the sun, authority, sovereignty,
and communication; thus, it’s association with Hermes, or Mercurius, god of
communication and messenger of Heaven. In this
respect, Osprey is different than
other hawks. No other member of the hawk family leaves its natural element of
the air (Consciousness) to actually enter the element of water (the Unconscious).
Osprey is able to enter the “underworld” as a guide to the soul and bring
treasures back deep from the emotions that lead us to find the lost parts of

A trickster, Osprey’s association
with water (Emotions) can trick humans into loving one another when we’ve lost that loving feeling. “Diving into
our emotions” allows our hearts to soften within relationships—to take loftier
risks for the greater good.

Osprey and his “magic mask” sells us
so cleverly on our collective need to be emotionally open that we never suspect
that he’s different than other predators—whereby they take, he gives. Although
the “underworld” (water/Unconscious/emotional element) may expose us to a perceived loss of our wishes, hopes, dreams,
needs, or will, the air element (Consciousness) later reveals how much we’ve
gained through these experiences. We learn how to love ourselves so we can, in
turn, give others the love they need.

Thank you, Osprey…


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