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September 28, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Reality’s soft solutions

Fruit and dog beds on table. Image ©ALL rights reserved> NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

Fruits of my labor. (image ©)

Still life.

The reality is.

Despite storms – of your own making, of thoughts, or elements

It’s still life.

This is the last batch  – for now, anyway.

Life’s fabric gets torn pretty regularly.

Beds for displaced pets – not home, but something more than harsh concrete and confusion. Good to do what you can when you can.

Animal rescue teams are still here assisting the storm pets in shelters. Fortunate. Distemper has broken out in one large pet shelter facility with 15 dogs now in isolation. Vets are taking care it, but for humans and animals living in close quarters is not ideal.

There are stories daily of owners being united with animals. Monday a tired white horse stepped out of the trailer and gratefully buried her head in her owner’s shoulder. This one had been injured and was located in Austin being cared for by a vet clinic there. Pet finder groups and shelters are doing a remarkable job locating and arranging for people and pets to get back together. Home is where your person is.

People ask how it is going here after Harvey. Uneven as some areas got hit harder than others.

Houston’s mayor expects the majority of trash along roads to be cleaned up in 4-6 months. This city is used to reinventing itself. There was constant construction before the storm. We always tell people that if you don’t travel any part of Houston for a month or so, you won’t be able to recognized it when you go back through it. The building landscape changes quickly. Architects and historians weep, but the city is organic and defies musing or restraint. If only the roads were routinely improved as well. Visitors often say they have never seen a city with so many giant metal plates spanning the road. It’s the continual utilities work to keep up with the building. Add in the occasional floods, a few washed out areas, and a much too generous sprinkling of potholes and you understand why we tell people you need a truck or SUV if you live here and have to commute. Not kidding about that or everyone should have flood insurance. One bright observation immediately after the storm, the highways that were open never looked cleaners – washed and wind blows to perfection.

Rockport, where the storm made landfall is still in survival mode.( Think recent images of Puerto Rico). It’s a tourist, retirement, sports fishing, “snow bird”, bird watching  coastal town and it looks like this winter will not be prosperous unless things get up and running soon.

But people are optimistic.

The thing is that it’s Texas. This is a harsh unforgiving climate – as many places.

Earth really isn’t human friendly – a theme in science as well as literature.

The ones who came to this area were hardy folk – many had burned bridges behind them.

It was sink or swim . Literally, as this year has proved.

Adapt, bend, break, or leave

Many did and will this time.

After all, after the chaos and noise of any storm is silence.

And you have, still, life.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Still life with fruit, objects and dog beds. Image © ALL rights reserved, no permissions granted, copyrighted

Still more? Oh, yeah I could go into the symbolism of flashlights and glasses – sun glasses – birds and the picture – but wouldn’t that be like your high school English teacher pointing out all the symbolism in a literary selection you were enjoying until she ruined it for you? Besides, there’s always the possibility that some things are simply coincidences or even clutter. People see what they want to see – and that’s OK. I see it’s time to go play with the dogs. (Image © all rights)





  1. The Coastal Crone / Sep 28 2017 8:32 am

    Still life! Houston will survive. I lived there in the early 1960s and sometimes have trouble finding landmarks but still enjoy the new look. Yes, Texas has never been an easy state to live in but we are a tough bunch. You adapt to it or leave. Good post to read on this rainy day. Must ride my indoor bike today instead of a jog. Cheers!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 28 2017 9:59 am

      It’s crazy how this place redecorates so often – storm is just a good excuse to get rid of marginal structures sometimes. With the water erosion all along Buffalo Bayou, it will be interesting how owners (some of those lovely expensive houses backing up to the bayou and some of those great old apartments now townhouses in Memorial area) and building permits/code handle the new look. Who ever thought Meyerland would be raising houses up 4-6 feet? Maybe those old fashion pier and beam style houses had reason after all? Every time we go out we are grateful to be so lucky. They say During the days after the rain, sat. imaging was showing Houston city had sunk in elevation an inch or more. Nothing like gumbo.
      Hope things are flying more smoothly your way (Where are the hooper…will have to look at their timetable).
      Where’s the cool front?
      Thanks for pedaling a comment over this way


  2. easyweimaraner / Sep 28 2017 8:54 am

    hugs to all people… and I hope there is a solution for all…. wish I could come to help with cleaning the streets and with removing the leftovers of harvey…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 28 2017 10:34 am

      It’s funny (but not) – that part of the problem is Florida is paying dump trucks and trash removal teams more than here. Price war! Oh, you have to laugh at something.
      Highway Dept. road graders and dirt haulers for all!
      Puerto Rico faces a more daunting task as it’s an island. All of our friends with family still there have been able to touch base with everyone and all are OK. The ones who grew up in rural areas know where the fresh water coming off mt springs is/have 500 gallon cisterns that are normally not used for drinking water, and have more experience making-do than the city folks. Not a fun time for anyone, though. One niece told her aunt she’d do anything for an ice cold coke…and was having for the first time in her life learning how to wash clothes by hand (If you’ve been through a storm, you know how important fresh underwear gets to be)
      If roaches can manage to survive, I guess, humans can too. Thanks for bedding down a comment here. Paw waves and happy weekend


  3. 2gatherstones / Sep 28 2017 9:40 am

    Still Life – so well said. My prayers are will all impacted by this powerful storm. Once the storm passes in the media, we often lose the fact that so many, both human and non-human are struggling to survive and recover. Thank you for a moving post


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 28 2017 10:36 am

      If it’s not one storm, it’s another. You have to cheer all the soggy storm survivors in so many places this season. Common experiences can create a brighter future. Thanks for stuffing in a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Carrie Rubin / Sep 28 2017 11:24 am

    Four to six months for trash removal. That’s tough. A constant reminder of what the city has gone through.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 29 2017 2:18 pm

      Not unlike major cities when there’s a sanitation workers’ strike, except we worry about snakes, and mosquitoes as well as rats and depression/hopelessness. FEMA’s regulations/required documentation is making it take longer and cost more, but eventually it will get done.
      Meanwhile the lovely weather this time of year is bound to cheer people. Once the oppressive heat and humidity lessen, we all crawl out from darkened rooms and rejoice.It’s under 90! We’re thrilled. Octoberfest and Greek Festival will provide welcomed breaks.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. 1bl0gr3ad3r / Sep 28 2017 11:29 am

    Thank you for making those comfy beds to help comfort displaced pets — it is hard enough when they are all strays or turned-in animals, but now with lost, scared, hopeful pets in the mix, every bit of comfort and compassion is extra important. The horse. That mental image will stick with me. Hoping Her Highness gave approval to make dog beds, though…. 😸


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 29 2017 2:24 pm

      I swear that horse nudged her owner and heaved the biggest sigh. It’s going to be OK now. They were kind caretakers, but not the one she wanted.
      Actually The German got nervous during a thunderstorm last week and nibbled 3 inches off one of the dog beds in progress. She was quite apologetic. She just gets anxious and I had left the room to deal with small person…should have taken her with me HAHA
      Thanks for stitching in a comment to this crazy quilt.


  6. PiedType / Sep 28 2017 11:54 am

    What a lovely turn of phrase — still, life. So glad the horse got back to owner if it was as far away as Austin. And I’d never thought about it before, but do people chip their horses the way we do our cats and dogs? Or, as was done here in 2013, do they spray paint their phone numbers on their horses before freeing them, if necessary, to deal with the flood?

    I think of you and Houston often, knowing just because you’re not making headlines anymore doesn’t mean the recovery is over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2017 5:53 pm

      Many ranchers tattooed the inside upper lip of valuable cattle and maybe horses, too.And there’s the ear notch or branding. I’ll have to ask sister-in-law vet if they chip them. Makes sense.
      Here’s an update on the dislocated/lost pets in the consolidated pet shelters. They are all safe, but every creature wants a home. Best Friends are worried owners do not have computer/smart phone access so they are posting pictures of every animal in the FEMA/Red Cross disaster centers hoping owners will spot their fur friends. Anyone who wants their pet, but can’t house them right now will be offered pet placement in a close by foster home until they are able to reclaim them. After 30 days, Best Friends will begin finding forever homes for the rest. These volunteers are working so hard.
      Here’s the video/article
      So 17 inches of snow already? Sigh.. hot, muddy and rainy here ( and a tropical system low about to enter the Gulf…I vote for New Orleans this time…)
      Thanks for leashing a comment here


  7. robstroud / Sep 28 2017 12:39 pm

    A valuable reminder to me that most of the “destructive” storms in my life have been ones that I personally caused… through words spoken or unspoken… action or inaction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 29 2017 2:07 pm

      Those are the hardest to survive. Perhaps Nature’s storms are meant to be training and practice in preparation for resolving the other kinds? Still is always a good starting point. Thanks for settling a comment in here

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Robin / Sep 28 2017 12:50 pm

    Lovely picture and use of the phrase still life. One of the things I’ve noticed here is that after Superstorm Sandy blew through and messed up the place, a lot of people (in the poorer areas) abandoned their houses and left for parts unknown. Some scattered so quickly that windows were left open and furniture that they pushed out of the windows remained sitting on the front lawn. FEMA took a long time to pay up, too, and some communities have just received whatever money they were promised (the storm was in 2012) to pay out to those whose homes were flooded. The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly in some cases. I hope those wheels spin faster for those who need it now (although judging from PR, doesn’t look like it).

    “Adapt, bend, break, or leave.” That’s the way of it, for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2017 6:03 pm

      You would think after Katrina, Rita, Sandy, Ike, Harvey….someone/ FEMA/Red Cross would have learned something. (Oh wait – in TX we do rescue all the pets now – so that’s something – and the other thing is “Don’t count on or wait for help from outside. Get up and do it yourself” Never more true..). Tired of the “we weren’t prepared…” yet the phone banks are up and on line instantly….
      Live local. Keeps you sane.
      Thanks for skimming off a comment to add to the comment bucket


  9. Kate Crimmins / Sep 28 2017 1:02 pm

    Just this morning I carted out bags of towels and bath carpets for shelters. I like soft fluffy towels so I change them yearly. All the more to give to the shelters but this year was a bumper crop. I parted with some blankets and carpets I was holding on to (I’ve no idea why — haven’t used in years). Not sure where they will end up but hopefully under some critters butt. Love to hear the happy ending stories. I’m sure there are some that didn’t end so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2017 6:11 pm

      Towels are the most requested item for shelters. I went through the car wash pile, the dog drying pile, the “just how many guest towels do you need” pile, too. We’ve also boxed up all the remodeled left over items like old light fixtures, towel racks, etc. and dropped them off at the Habitat Restore.
      We noticed the Salvation Army outlets all closed to let their personnel actually help people with houses and their recovery. More and more of the streets look normal-ish.
      Best Friends is still here with the consolidated shelter. Worried pet owners do not have access to computers/ smart phones, they are posting pictures of every single pet in the shelters on the wall of each FEMA/Red Cross disaster recovery center. Here’s more about their efforts
      Great people and I’ll remember them when another disaster hits someplace else and they need contributions to help get things done.
      Thanks for folding in a warm comment


  10. colonialist / Sep 28 2017 2:25 pm

    How touching it must be to see obviously attached owners and pets reunited. Worth all the sacrifice and effort. Hope ‘normal’ returns fast, and is not disturbed again for a long, long time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2017 6:17 pm

      It is so weird how one area is fine and the other is a soggy horror. (More rain today…and a tropical system about to move into the Gulf shortly.) Come on down cold fronts.
      Best friends who run the consolidate pet shelters are working to reunite pets and owners. Here’s their latest effort when they realized many do not have computers/smart phones to see the online lists of rescued pets. About 200 adoptable/ released were placed in forever homes last week. Quite amazing.The plan is to place pets in foster homes for those who want their animals, but don’t have a place to move into yet – they are trying to keep pets close to owners while their houses are restored.
      Quite a task and being done so well
      Thanks for barking along


  11. Anne Mehrling / Sep 28 2017 4:33 pm

    Texans are resilient. Thanks for keeping us posted on post-hurricane news.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2017 6:18 pm

      It’s a young population who seem to manage discomfort without too much trouble….they probably see it as an extreme make-over opportunity. HaHa.
      Thanks for keeping an eye on the still life.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Allie P. / Sep 28 2017 4:35 pm

    Glad to hear progress is being made!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2017 6:20 pm

      There’s something satisfying about being the Phoenix. (But not too many times, please!)
      Thanks for quietly staging a comment here

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Jane Dougherty / Sep 29 2017 2:30 am

    Nice to hear about the efforts not to forget anyone 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2017 6:22 pm

      Small quiet efforts are going on daily. So many kindnesses. With luck the idea of working together to make things better will be long and far reaching. Thanks for stacking in a comment


  14. Maggie Wilson / Sep 29 2017 5:18 am

    This moves me. Thanks for the work you are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2017 6:23 pm

      A place for every person and a person in place doing what they can. Even the smallest effort makes a difference. Thanks for the smile

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ally Bean / Sep 29 2017 7:20 am

    On the one hand I imagine that it’ll be fascinating to see how the city rebuilds itself. But on the other hand the inconvenience while it’s happening may drive you bonkers. At least you have some quiet for the moment, to enjoy and remember when the noisy work of getting back to normal begins in earnest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2017 6:26 pm

      Traffic is so horrendous with all the house materials coming in and all the contractors omniscience’s top to the regular work commute. Gads, we foolishly went into Home Depot for some little thing, and it was as jammed as a massive bee hive. Looks like no one is sitting still for long.
      Although it rained today, fall is great weather here for projects. Life is loud and whirling. A snooze with a pet is definitely needed.
      Thanks for curling up a comment here.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Littlesundog / Sep 30 2017 8:23 am

    It is humbling to read these posts of the aftermath. So many thoughts about issues and situations that we landlubbers and landlocked folks never think about or have to deal with. I appreciate your perspective and keeping us informed. FD and I photographed the aftermath of Katrina in the Ninth Ward six months later. I often look back over those photographs – recovering and rebuilding after any catastrophic event takes a long time. I appreciate the updates of the “baby steps” your community and state are taking in this process.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2017 6:30 pm

      We lived in NOLA for a while (that house had water over the roof a year or so after we left – whew).
      Rebuilding is like the Phoenix – a struggle but then flight. (Not so different from a town leveled by tornado. My parents’ small East TX town got hit one year. Disaster is leveling in so many ways.
      Thanks for stacking in a comment


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