Why Are Some Of My Cartoons For The Birds? by Rick London

Long ago, it seems like in a different life now, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to nature.    Though I got to enjoy nature, I didn’t understand anything about respecting it and why.  That’s a whole other story, and I won’t get into it now as I’m just learning, but it has morphed into a love of wildlife and birds.

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Since my amazing wife Lee Hiller-London (Lee Hiller) who is founder of Hike Our Planet and Lee Hiller Designs started taking me on her hikes, I’ve found an amazing new relationships with wild birds.  Many of these are birds that fly to South and Central America.  Some come back to our forest, stay for awhile and move on.  Most of them are very affectionate and talk to us from low branches.

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They show off their snacks (usually caterpillars or insects) etc. and sing long songs for us.  Many of them follow us along our hikes singing all the way.

Mockingbirds and I have a special relationship and I’ve been known to sing with them for 30 minutes at a time within feet of each other.

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A lot of the tropical birds know Lee well and pose for her camera.  The robins often “escort” us to and from the forest. It’s really magic and quite healing.

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Someone who wants to enjoy nature need not live in the mountains or next to a National Park (though it doesn’t hurt).  They can live near a park in their town and just sit on the park bench and look around or at a table, or just take a hike around. Some live in a wooded isolated area or next to a large tract of undeveloped land. Nature is everywhere, and if you watch it with patience, you’ll  see a type of drama, comedy and every other “movie genre” that actually is not available in the media; no, not even Animal Planet or Wild Kingdom.

Before long one realizes, as Emerson and Thoreau taught us, we are a part of this wonderful thing called nature.  It changes just like we do. Watching it change makes our own human changes much easier and we look forward to it.  Though there was plenty to love about NYC, Washington DC and L.A. this is a whole new ballgame; and a healthy one.   Lee and I have the “been there got the tees” on the others, and this will do just fine, thank you.

My Bird Mentor & Beloved Wife Lee. Click To Enlarge

My Bird Mentor & Beloved Wife Lee. Click To Enlarge

You’ll may find that the birds are not as foreign to us as we’ve been brought up to believe. In fact we learned today that sparrows have the same DNA as humans.  No wonder they like us.  At least seems that way.

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You can see my funny bird gifts at RickLondonGifts.com.  I am the founder of Londons Times Offbeat cartoons and funny gifts which have been Google #1 ranked since 2005.  I am blessed to have married nature photographer and gift designer Lee Hiller-London who has taught me a great deal about nature (and life).

Deep Dish Pizza The Story Behind This Londons Times Cartoon by Rick London

I like pizza and I like philosophy.  Not just any pizza and not just any philosophy.

I thought I liked Chicago Brick Oven Pizza until I tasted my wife Lee’s homeade vegan from scratch pizza and I know none other comes close.  A loving sharing part of me feels she should open a restaurant and its as if the devil on the other side of my shoulder says, “No, that’s just for the two of you”.

Fortunately, Lee’s run her own restaurant, and knows that if one wants to live ones golden years in happiness, at least in our case, one does not want to run a restaurant.  She used to tell me the same thing (about my Cajun dishes) and at times I entertained it, and then remembered, I’d worked in the food service business many times, and it was even a rough job in my youth, I can only imagine what it would be like today.

Besides both of us love being out in nature and waxing philosophical.

Over the years I have observed some interesting and exciting things about Lee (other than her uncanny ability to cook, particularly bake).  That part makes sense to me though she could have easily missed the gene.  One of her ancestors was a famous baker in England and there is no doubt she did inherit that gene.  I thought I knew how to cook; and spent many years in my youth in New Orleans kitchens, invited by famous chefs who “showed me their tricks”.  Of course I didn’t learn a lot, but enough to grow up to be able to cook okay, but nothing like what Lee knows how to do.

Lee is also (to me) eye candy.  I never get tired of admiring her beauty.  In the old days attractive women were titled “dishes”.  As years went by and the womens movement grew, so were men that were deemed attractive.  And of course pizza with thick crust is called deep-dish pizza.  Hence the above cartoon.

Another thing the two of us love to do is wax philosophical as I mentioned.  We can either be at our living room office desks and a topic will arise that just must be discussed at that very moment.  I used to not understand the urgency. Now I do. We’d forget the subject otherwise unless we wrote it down.

And though for the most part we both enjoy solitude and silence while hiking in the forest, both of our ADHD kicks into overdrive when we see some type of wildlife or plant/floral growth that is unique and just waiting to be photographed.  She’s been teaching me how to do that and I’ve learned to love photography.

We even love those “National Geographic Moments” that happen so fast, there’s no way to capture them in the lens.  One happened a few weeks ago; and it was funny as we’d not seen an owl in a long time.  Lee touched one of our big favorite oaks and as if to talk to the forest, asked it to show us a great big owl.  We walked another quarter of a mile and I wrote an “owl quote” about barn owls being stoked.  Then we heard a loud squawk.  We looked about 15 feet off to the left and there was a large blue jay squawking loudly on a tall rotten tree stump.  Lee started snapping photos of it.

I didn’t see the large bluejay but I saw an even larger bird, much larger on the ground.  I asked her, “Are you taking a photo of that crow? I think that might be the biggest crow I’ve ever seen…no wait, it’s got to be a hawk…too big for a crow..”. I looked again and it was an owl; am guessing between 40 and 50 lbs.  Watching it “take off” was astounding.  It had to “fly” about 50 ft along the forest ground before gaining enough wind to truly get into the air.

We were in great wonderment at the bravery of the bluejay.  Bluejays are the “warning signalers” of the forest.  They warn other birds and chipmunks etc of birds of prey.  Usually from a distance.  This bluejay was only about 10 ft. away from the large owl which could have devoured it in one gulp.

Then we remembered Lee touching the tree and asking to see an owl.  The forest responded.

Clearly, skeptical me thought it was a fluke.  Last week we were on another hike on the same trail.  We remembered we’d not seen a deer in about 5 or more months, and we used to see them all the time.  She asked the forest “for a deer”.  Suddenly there was one of the largest deer we’d ever seen right in front of us about 30 yards down the mountain.  It “modeled” for us so that we could take about 10 minutes worth of photos of it.

Nature is an amazing thing.  Since Emerson felt we (humans) were/are a part of nature, there is no reason it should not respond to our requests.  Emerson, though a college student in New England lived at Walden Pond in a home he built across the lake from Thoreau.  He loved it every bit as much as Thoreau and actually put up the money to buy it (it was not their first choice of properties).  Emerson’s parents, however had other plans and he was made to return to college.   But his love and fascination of nature never ended.

It is a philosophy that speaks in another language, yet one we all understand.  We are humbled and honored to be a part of it.

Deep Dish Pizza is available on all sorts of gifts and collectibles.  To see more view or……

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Rick London is an author, songwriter, cartoonist and gift designer.  He is best known for Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons which he launched in 1997 and his funny gift shop Rick London Gifts.