Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Birdie, Birdie – A Poem

(Baltimore Oriole)

Birdie, birdie in the tree,

Are you lonely just like me?

Rise into the morning sky

And fly, birdie, fly!

Tired of the verdant bough,

Hanging low with apples now?

Look, the yellow sun is high.

Fly, birdie, fly!

I wish I could fly like you,

Sing a song or maybe two,

Flutter softly my good-bye,

And fly, birdie, fly!

When the moon began to rise,

I would leave the darkened skies,

Fold my wings where I would lie,

And die, birdie, die.

Up to heaven I would go,

White and pure as new-made snow,

Safe beneath the father’s eye:

Fly, birdie, fly!

All the world would miss my song,

Sweet and pure and not too long,

Partly triumph, partly sigh;

Fly, birdie, fly!

1985

Dawn Pisturino

June 9, 2022

Copyright 1985-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Reprise: A Butterfly Birthday

(Monarch butterfly)

[Note: I turned this into a children’s story, but this actually happened to me one summer when I was small. It’s an experience I never forgot.]

~

Amy leaned over and smelled the sweet, honey-like fragrance of the tiny white flowers on a leafy green bush. It was spring — her most favorite time of year — and the big backyard was alive with blooming flowers, buzzing bees, and orange-and-black butterflies playing among the wild dandelions growing in the grass.

The butterflies were called monarchs, and Amy looked forward to their arrival every spring.

As she peered deeper into the bush, Amy spied a small green object hanging from a slender brown twig. She reached into the bush and broke off the little twig. She held the object gently in her hand, admiring the delicate green color. Near the top was a hard ridge tinted with yellow that seemed to sparkle like gold in the warm spring sunlight.

Amy had found a butterfly chrysalis. Some people call them cocoons. They are also called pupas.

Amy had learned a lot about butterflies from her teacher at school. She knew that female butterflies lay their eggs on the underside of plant leaves. After a few days small caterpillars, called larvae, eat their way out of the eggs. They finish eating the eggshells — their very first meal! After that, they attach themselves to a leaf and eat and eat and eat until they become too big for their skin. They shed their old skin, a process called molting, and then gobble it up to get important nutrients. Mmm — delicious!

Caterpillars continue to eat and grow and shed their skin until they have done this four times. Now, they are about 2 inches long. But they still have a long way to go before they turn into beautiful butterflies.

The caterpillars take long walks in search of the perfect place to rest. When they find it, they weave a sticky, silky attachment called a silk button. This allows the caterpillars to hang upside down and begin a process called metamorphosis.

For the last time, the caterpillars shed their skin and emerge as a small, oval object called a pupa, chrysalis, or cocoon. This is the third stage in the butterfly life cycle.

Amy realized what a precious treasure she held in her hand. She gathered a handful of grass and leaves and covered the bottom of a large glass jar. She carefully laid the little green cocoon to rest in the soft little nest. Then she punched air holes in the lid with a nail and screwed it on top of the jar.

She placed the jar on a table next to her bed, where the warm spring sunshine would shine through the bedroom window and warm the little green cocoon.

Every day, she looked at the little cocoon in the jar, and waited. Amy knew that the caterpillar’s body inside the chrysalis would dissolve into a liquid and the cells of the adult butterfly begin to grow. The little cocoon became more and more transparent as the immature cells developed into a full-fledged butterfly. Pretty soon, she could see the orange-and-black wings of an adult monarch inside the chrysalis.

One morning, Amy woke up and glanced at the big glass jar next to her bed. But something was different. The little cocoon was broken and empty. Sitting next to it was a brand new orange-and-black butterfly with white markings on its wings. It was the most beautiful monarch butterfly she had ever seen.

The butterfly sat on a dry leaf, slowly moving its wings up and down. Amy watched in fascination, amazed by the miracle of nature she had witnessed in the big glass jar.

But the glass jar was no place to keep such a delicate and fragile creature. She took the jar outside, unscrewed the lid, and watched the beautiful butterfly flutter away.

Dawn Pisturino

June 8, 2022

Copyright 2008-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Reprise: Butterfly Travels

(Monarch Butterfly)

Cymbals crash. Drums roll. In Pacific Grove, California, hundreds of school children, sporting orange-and-black butterfly wings, participate in the annual Butterfly Parade.

The parade is held every October to celebrate the arrival of thousands of monarch butterflies to the Monarch Grove Sanctuary. The monarchs spend the winter here, clustered onto Monterey pines and eucalyptus trees. They enjoy the moderate temperatures and misty fogs of the California coast. In February, when temperatures rise, the monarchs return home again.

Why do monarchs leave home in autumn? How do they know where to go? And how do they find their way back home again in spring?

When temperatures drop in the eastern part of the United States, monarch butterflies travel south, to the warmer climates of Florida and Mexico. Monarchs living in the West migrate to the coast of California. The butterflies need warm temperatures in order to fly. Otherwise, they will die.

Monarchs travel together in large groups for long distances. There can be as many as 1,000 butterflies in a group.

During the day, they can fly 12 miles an hour, up to 100 miles a day. Even though their wingspan is only 3 1/2 inches wide, monarchs can soar up, up into the air, as high as 2,000 feet. At night, tiny claws on their feet help them to cluster together in tree branches. They sleep until morning then start their travels all over again.

Scientists estimate that 100,000 monarch butterflies migrate every year. Some travel 4,000 miles to reach a nature reserve in the mountains of Mexico. In Santa Cruz, California, a monarch flag is hung when the first orange-and-black clusters appear. Six months later, the flag is taken down. Pacific Grove, California calls itself “Butterfly Town, USA.” Tourists flock to the city every year to get a glimpse of their colorful visitors.

Every year, volunteers from the Monarch Project tag thousands of monarchs in order to track how fast and how far the butterflies can fly. The tags are number coded and attached to the hind wings of the butterflies. When someone finds a monarch wearing a tag, the number code, date, and location are recorded.

Monarch Watch and Journey North recruit volunteers to record when and where the first monarch butterflies are spotted every year in autumn and spring.

When spring comes, the monarchs begin the long journey home. Along the way, they mate and lay eggs on milkweed plants. Butterflies that hatch in spring and early summer live two to six weeks. Butterflies born in late summer live eight to nine months because they are the ones that will migrate to warmer climates when autumn comes.

Scientists are still studying how monarch butterflies migrate to distant places and find their way home again. Are they sensitive to the earth’s magnetic field? Are they influenced by the angle of the sun’s rays? Do they follow geographical landmarks such as lakes and rivers? Does some genetic code in their bodies prompt them to return to the same location generation after generation?

Nobody knows. But people who love butterflies welcome the delicate orange-and-black monarchs to their towns every autumn and spring.

Dawn Pisturino

June 7, 2022

Copyright 2013-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Butterfly, Butterfly – A Poem

(Monarch butterflies)



by Dawn Pisturino

For my daughter, Ariel

Butterfly, Butterfly,

Dappled with red,

Night-time is coming,

Fly home to your bed!

The white moon is rising,

He hasn’t a care;

The bright stars are shining,

Reflecting him there.

Oh, Butterfly, Butterfly,

What shall you do?

If darkness enfolds you,

How will you get through?

Fly home on a moonbeam,

Guided by stars,

Or maybe such planets

As Venus and Mars?

Or, drifting along on a

Sweet summer breeze,

You’ll land where you want

And do as you please?

Float down on a flower,

The sweet nectar there,

Drawing you inward

And filling the air?

You’ll suck up your supper,

Then lay down to sleep,

Your wings folded neatly,

Their beauty to keep.

And when, in the morning,

You suddenly wake,

The sun will be rising,

A new day will break.

Then, Butterfly, Butterfly,

Fly away home!

Or follow your instincts

To wander and roam.

But come again – do! –

If you happen this way,

Night-time or daytime

Or any old day!

February 8, 1986

This poem was set to music by composer and film maker Barry Gremillion and recorded in October 2013 by Barry Gremillion and Ariel Pisturino. It was uploaded onto SoundCloud.

Thanks, Ariel and Barry!

(CD cover)

Dawn Pisturino

June 6, 2022

Copyright 1986-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.



D-Day: An incredible military campaign that required extensive planning and mutual cooperation between allied countries. Never forget – “Freedom is not free.”





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Spring Poems

(Photo by Michael O’Grady)

Spring Poems by Dawn Pisturino

April Showers

I looked into the heavens

And saw the face of God.

He was a kindly gentleman

And not too very loud.

He wore a watch upon his vest

Which gave the time of day.

He looked at it: “The time has come,”

Was all he had to say.

And soon a gentle rainfall

Came from the April sky.

It kissed my wondering up-turned face

And poked me in the eye.

But then a very curious thing

Did happen at my feet.

A tiny flower sprouted up,

All blooming and complete.

It opened up its tiny leaves,

Embracing fast the rain,

And if I ever doubted God –

I never did again.

November 25, 1985

~

Spring

Spring! The vigor of new life soars in my veins!

I am free and alive and wonderful,

Free as the silly sparrow twittering in the tree-top,

Too gaily alive.

Alive as the new-sprung fountain of youth in the riverbed,

Which knows not that it is bound by grassy banks,

But runs down the waterway in a mad race for the finish.

And, wonderful as the tiny petals of a flower,

First opening up to the Father Sun

Like a virgin bride in the marriage bed.

Sun gives new life to the blood,

And blood gives new life to the body,

And the body gives new life to the soul,

Ad infinitum, ad infinitum, ad infinitum.

But every Spring plays its part as a new beginning,

And we never tire of the encore.

1987

~

Robin Red-Breast

When Robin Red-breast comes to town,

All the children dance around,

Clapping hands and stamping feet,

Happy with their little treat!

February 2, 1987

~

Have a wonderful Spring day!

Dawn Pisturino

April 25, 2022

Copyright 1985-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

24 Comments »

Feeding the Rabbits

(Wild Rabbits – Photo by Dawn Pisturino)

No matter how hot or cold it is outside, our adopted wildlife demand to be fed. And when my daughter visits, she regresses back to her childhood, delighting in spoiling the bunny rabbits. She generally arrives with grocery bags full of carrots and lettuce. The bunnies love it. And, once word gets out, we usually end up with twice as many rabbits as usual. The bunnies are very trusting and will hop right up to you, eager for their meal. And when we don’t get out to feed them at the usual time, they start gathering before the front porch and stand there like little statues until we bring out the food. They truly are delightful to watch!

Dawn Pisturino

February 6, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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The Cows are Back!

(Photo by Dawn Pisturino)

Yesterday was a perfect, God-filled Sunday!

All week, we’ve experienced frigid temperatures at night and cold, windy weather during the day. The water we leave out for the wildlife has been frozen solid every morning. The poor birds walk around on the ice, pecking at the solidified water.

Sunday morning was sunny, bright, and calm, although the air was still crisp and clear. I smiled to see the baby coyote lying down in the sunshine in the backyard, waiting for his breakfast. He looked perfectly content, soaking up the sun, while disgruntled quail and doves milled around him with ruffled feathers, trying to stay warm.

A couple of hours later, a bull and cow wandered into the front yard, looking for water. Luckily, my husband was home, and he filled up a tub of water for them and moved it over by the driveway. But then, they didn’t want to leave! They just stood there and looked at us when we tried to shoo them away. (My post, Free Range, explains the free range laws in Arizona.)

The coyote, who had left earlier, saw his territory invaded by these two great beasts and kept coming back to check things out. They weren’t scared of him, which surprised me, and he wasn’t scared of them.

The coyote and the cattle were after the same thing – WATER! – and both were keeping an eye on their territory and the available water supply. It was very interesting to watch, especially since they were so POLITE about it.

I really felt God’s presence here Sunday morning, and it reminded me of just how PRECIOUS WATER IS! The animals know it. More people need to get a grip and realize that we can live without WiFi, Facebook, and other modern inventions. BUT WE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT WATER! We can’t live without the basic necessities of life.

(Cow peering at me from behind the oleander bush. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.)

Dawn Pisturino

December 13, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Coyote Update

(Close up photo of the Baby coyote and wild birds. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.)

This morning, the baby coyote was lying down in the backyard, waiting for his breakfast. (This is an update to my post, Coyote Whisperer.) As soon as he saw me, he stood up and waited patiently while I put out his dry dog food. Actually, he was patient for about two seconds, then he began dancing around in anticipation of eating.

He looks so healthy and beautiful! His winter coat is shiny and full, he’s put on weight, and his fur has beautiful markings on it. He let me get up close enough to take pictures with my phone (camera clicks scare them), but what I really wanted to do was stroke his lush fur with my hands. I’m not foolish enough to attempt that, however! I really can’t even call him a baby anymore, and I don’t actually know if he’s a male or a female. (And there again, I’m not going to risk getting mauled by poking around.) We call all the coyotes “Bambi,” regardless of sex. That’s our signal to let them know we are going to feed them.

Not long after, his Mom and Dad showed up. They, also, look healthy and thriving, which makes me very happy.

(Mother coyote standing guard while Father coyote eats. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.)

Coyotes are very sensitive to noise, and they’re always sniffing the air and looking out for predators who might harm them. They don’t like my neighbor’s dogs, who chase them back out into the open fields. They’re used to our dog, Max, who’s usually locked up in his kennel, and playfully tease him because they know he isn’t going to hurt them. Even if he chases them, they just run a short distance, stop, and turn around and look at him. Then they wait for us to call him back. It’s like a game to them. And when Max goes after the Baby, they chase each other around a bush until we call the dog back. It’s the cutest thing to watch. But the Baby isn’t afraid. He just wants his food.

(Max. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.)

And then there’s the birds!

(Hungry quail. They are very aggressive when they are hungry. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.)

Well, that’s how our day starts out every morning!

Dawn Pisturino

December 7, 2021

Remember Pearl Harbor Today.

Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

21 Comments »

Reprise: Bigfoot!

(Still photo from Bigfoot film by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin, October 1967)

Crack! The bullet zings past my ear, hitting an old oak tree.

I drop the salmon wiggling in my hands and run along the bank of the Mokelumne River, propelling my long, hairy arms for speed. Behind me, the hunters move carefully through the dense underbrush, tracking my movements.

Sharp green thorns snag on my hair and tear at my flesh as I struggle through the blackberry briars and wild grapevines. I hike deeper into the wilderness on two strong legs, climbing skillfully around granite boulders barring my way. In the distance, the jagged outline of Deadwood Peak rises above the trees. If I can only get there, I will be safe.

Rounding a bend I see her, tearing meat from a rabbit carcass with big, sharp teeth. Mama! Her shaggy brown head turns in my direction. With a low growl, she opens her long, hairy arms as if to embrace me.

And then she smells it, the distinct odor of musky sweat. The hunters are near!

We run, ignoring the stones piercing our feet, causing us to stumble. Behind us, the humans call back and forth, “Bigfoot!”

Together, we melt into the shade of a thick stand of pines, hoping to slow down and catch our breath. But our feet become tangled in nets concealed by pine needles, and suddenly, we are swinging up, up into the air, and dangling from the limbs of a sturdy pine tree.

Mama struggles inside her net, growling with rage. I struggle, too, yelping helplessly as the net swings back and forth above the hard ground.

“We’ve got them now,” says a bearded hunter to his companions. “Bigfoot! That TV show, Monster Search, will pay us big bucks for these babies.”

“We’ll be famous,” cries a husky hunter with red hair. “Scientists won’t laugh at us anymore. Finally! Proof that Bigfoot exists!”

“How are we going to get them back to San Francisco?” asks an old man with spectacles. “I mean, we weren’t really expecting to find anything.”

The bearded hunter pulls out his camera. “I’m taking plenty of pictures, just in case something goes wrong. They can’t call it a hoax this time!”

While the camera clicks and the three men argue over the best way to get us back to the city, I turn my head from view and gnaw on the net’s thick webbing with my teeth. Pretty soon I’ve made a small opening, large enough to stick my fingers through. I wiggle them at Mama, and she understands what to do.

The red-haired hunter chuckles as he pokes me in the back with a long stick. I give him a warning growl, but he keeps it up. My powerful jaws chew faster on the netting.

“We need some of that fur,” says the old man with spectacles. “We can send it to a lab for analysis.”

“Good idea!” says the red-haired hunter. “Then, if they get away, we’ll still have proof.”

The three men stand under the nets, looking up at our shaggy brown bodies hanging in the air. Suddenly the nets give way, and Mama and I find ourselves lying on top of the three men on the ground.

We howl victory cries and scramble to our feet. The men, tangled in the nets, shout curses at us as we run away.

The Miwok Indians tell stories about us — great hairy beasts roaming these desolate mountains. They fear us and protect our sacred habitat on Deadwood Peak. We are going there now, secure in the knowledge that we cannot be followed. Men from the city will continue to hunt us. But, with help from the Miwoks, they will never find us. And we will never let them capture us alive.

Dawn Pisturino

©2014-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

17 Comments »

Turkey Mish Mash

“In 1863, a year filled with pivotal historical events — the Emancipation Proclamation, the Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, and the Gettysburg Address — Abraham Lincoln issued what has become known as the first annual Thanksgiving Proclamation.”

~

The Three Amigos by C.L. Evans – Showcased in the top 100 photos of 2014 of the North American Nature Photography Association. I love this photo!
from Pleated-Jeans
Such beautiful plumage!
Beautiful . . .

~

“Thankful” – sung by the Rise Up Children’s Choir. (This song was originally sung by Josh Groban.)

HAVE A BLESSED THANKSGIVING!

Dawn Pisturino

November 24, 2021

59 Comments »

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