A New Lesson from Birds and Bees

When birds, bats or bugs make a turn, all they have to do is start flapping their wings normally again and they straighten right out. That came as a surprise to researchers who thought turning and stopping took more steps.

I was reading Science of flight takes a bird’s eye view by Randolph E. Schmid from Associated Press and had to stop and reread this part:

…all they have to do is start flapping their wings normally again and they straighten right out.

I read this again, and again. I’ve been more deeply in grief this past week, thanks to an ankle sprain that rules out the usual daily dancing and walking that I count on to keep my emotional life in balance. Without this exercise and the joy it brings, my healing from grief took a nosedive and I find myself mourning Robert’s loss unbearably.

Then I read this article, and I wonder how to flap my wings normally again and straighten out. I’ll work on figuring this out.

How have you recovered from grief, tragedy, or even lesser setbacks by flapping your wings normally again?

Update a few hours later:
A friend encouraged me to get outside on this sunny spring day. I went to a park, hopped around on crutches for a while, then settled on a bench in view of the duck pond to read my Kindle.

Suddenly I realized I had a front-row seat to view a sex orgy: a consensual (I hoped) gang bang of six male ducks and one, apparently very sexy, female.

She took on partners, sometimes two alternating suitors bestowing favors in a threesome. Then she shook herself off and ran a bit, letting the lust-struck lads chase her until she slowed down and let herself be caught. The merry chase continued on the grass, in the water, and on the grass again, one or more males mounting her every couple of minutes .

Finally she backed up against a fence and stood with her tired (I assume) nether regions protected while the fellows returned to the water, rising up and beating their wings in what I took to be bragging.

I went back to my Kindle book, happy that I had ventured out in the sunshine, glad I hadn’t missed the show!


  1. Jaliya on April 23, 2009 at 7:31 am

    Joan, that’s a priceless story! I’m still giggling …

    Like paula, I’ve not visited your blog in a while.

    We never know where we’re going to be whacked with the comic when in mourning … Your story of the ducks reminds me of a time when I was grieving a dear friend’s death through suicide … I was sitting cross-legged in a booktore in front of the “Death and Grieving” (or some such) section, pawing through the books. One woman’s memoir of her husband’s sudden death had me rolling on the floor, cackling like a lunatic — She’d written of being at her husband’s grave with their dog one day. The dog took a leak … against the author’s husband’s gravestone. Said author contemplated the dog’s irreverent urination, realized how furious she was with her beloved for dying, and squatted over the grave … !

    I laughed myself senseless, to the dismay of my accompanying friend and the dear ladies of the bookstore ;-D

    Be well, Joan. Sending you embraces and soothing thoughts xo

  2. paula, 57 on April 13, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Hi Joan,

    I’m “supposed” to be working on taxes and am doing really well creating lots of distractions for myself. 🙂 I remembered that I hadn’t been to your website in a while and decided to see what’s up.

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve sprained your ankle. I think your friend is right about suggesting that you get outside, and it sounds like Mother Nature had a great event in store just for you! I’m big on sunshine as helpful for all kinds of healing, and the ducks are certainly a bonus.

    I’ve had to deal with my knees getting all swollen and painful a few times. The means i can’t dance for a while, and I too love to dance and need exercise to feel whole and healthy. I found that I could still do weight workouts even with the “bad” knee. I just had to baby it a bit. Eventually the pain went away and the knees were back to normal.

    You might try some self massage on your ankle and your leg and foot. There are lots of products like biofreeze (my fave) to use for this, or just use regular lotion. This will increase circulation which will help the area heal faster. You can use pressure above and below the injury site, but avoid pressure on the sprain itself, just stroke it lightly.

    Or perhaps schedule a massage with a professional who is good with injuries and has experience working with older bodies. (Some massage people overwork with too much pressure in the wrong places, and don’t understand that older bodies are more complex. Others may not understand that even though you’re in your sixties you’re very fit and may therefore not use enough pressure.)

    I like to use times like this as opportunities to nurture myself in ways I might not if I were entirely mobile. Perhaps you needed more time to grieve and your body is allowing this to happen?

    You’ve been keeping yourself healthy, your ankle will certainly heal, this isn’t forever. This is what I would be telling myself.

    Well forgive me if I sound preachy. I’m a professional massage therapist and I’ve dealt with lots of situations like this one. I’m keeping you fondly in my thoughts.


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