Release the Hounds

socs badge 2016-17Bear with me as I turn this show over to the voices in my head. They’ve been cooped up for several weeks but today’s SoCS prompt seems like one I can trust to them at which they will excel. Oh, I guess they’re in control. Now that we got him to shut up, let’s take a closer look at the prompt.

Dan has a tendency to pick on Linda for giving us these prompts, but we LOVE Linda! Linda gives us our shot. It’s the only time he drops those “you shouldn’t say that” “that doesn’t make sense” “why are you going there?” and that whole “OK, let me see if I can make this, shorter, more succinct, better and stuff.” Seriously, he’s cringing because we ended that sentence with ‘and stuff’ but you know what we mean. People talk like that. People might not always use the polite form of ‘stuff’ either. You know the other form. It starts with the same letter and, in this context would mean ‘stuff’ so, stuff.

Anyway, Linda says:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “bear/bare.” Use one, use both, use ’em any way you please. Have fun!

Dan thought that was a good prompt, because he took a bunch of pictures of bare trees recently while walking Maddie. That’s fine, but what about the other bare? You know, the bear bear. How are we going to work that in.

There’s a way to work that in if we weren’t constrained to use the polite form of ‘stuff’. You know, the expression about bears and stuff and woods. There’s also the juxtaposed version of that statement that involves the bear being Catholic and the Pope doing the bear thing. Actually, we’re not sure that’s juxtaposition. We don’t think it’s a malapropism, ‘cuz ‘bear’ and ‘Pope’ don’t sound similar. It might be solecism, except it’s intentional and it’s not really grammatical, but it’s certainly a breach of good manners. Well, it would be if we actually used it, but…the editor.

This doesn't mention 'intentional' but other definitions do.
This doesn’t mention ‘intentional’ but other definitions do.

In any case, one of those grammar hounds in the audience will clue us into the right word. The vague reference to the editor is because, if we explained the expression with the bear and the Pope, she would derail this post. By the way, when she derails an SoCS post, it’s cancelled, not edited, ‘cuz Linda says: “no edits.” Fortunately, Linda also makes that “don’t give in an inordinate amount of thought to these posts” suggestion, which is an area where Dan has been told he really shines.

Now that we’ve given the bear his time in the spotlight, let’s head back to those bare trees. The interesting thing about the bare trees is the number of critters that call them home. In fact, the very thing that made them bare is what makes the homes possible. The squirrels gather up a squirrel-ton of leaves and twigs, haul them back into the tree and build elaborate nests. It always amazes me that they put them pretty high up in the tree, and they put them on branches that are small enough to move in the wind.

I think they know something about structural mechanics. I don’t want to get sciency or mathy, ‘cuz Joey, Mary, Judy and Marian, but if they built that nest on a sturdy, non-move-in-the-wind branch, the wind would probably destroy the nest. This way, everything moves. Still, I imagine Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel having a conversation:

Why did you build this place on such a flimsy branch?

You know, honey, the fact that the branch sways in the wind is actually beneficial.”

How’s that?

If the branch was rigid, the force of the wind could cause leaves to blow out of the nest, destroying its structural integrity.”

Stop getting all sciency. You’re a squirrel. What do you understand about structural integrity and stuff – and, by ‘stuff’ I mean the bear stuff – ? You built it here because you like the motion. It’s like that time we snuck on the Ferris wheel at the carnival.”

That was fun.”

I puked. Not my idea of fun.”

You were pregnant.”

I’m probably gonna be pregnant before we’re done with this nest too. Did you factor that into your building plans, Einstein?

Trust me. This is for the best.”

We should mention that Linda does allow for correcting grammatical errors. Ironically, instead of ‘twigs’ we wrote ‘trigs’ – it must be those science-nerd voices trying to horn in on this show. In any case, whether it’s science, or the love of motion, or hiding from predators, they always build those nests high, and they almost always survive the winter. Mother Nature never seems to give them more than they can bear.


No bonus points for starting and ending with the word?

No fair.


  1. There is a lot of beauty in the bare trees and I’m always fascinated by the huge nests in them – sometimes several in one tree. I had always wondered why they built them so precariously high. Thanks for the non-sciency science explanation. If I understand this correctly, it’s the same reason why they build a sway factor into tall buildings … not that I truly understand the sway factor except that it’s important.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not sure how they think, but we have so many of these nests around us, and I see them sway with the branches. I’m guessing, but I think it’s a reasonable guess. Also, the cats won’t go that high :)


      • There is an uneasy peace between Theo and the squirrels. He tolerates them for the most part … although they have been known to attract his ire and he’ll trap one in a tree. He’ll lay there patiently on the ground under the tree while the squirrel screams (I’m assuming obscenities) at him :)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That conversation between the squirrels was great Dan, and the sciency bits about the nest taught me something. Those Winter sunsets have an atmosphere and a pathos about them. Loved the images.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A terrific fact about the nests and the wind (I’d never figure that out! :o) and an enlightening and all-encompassing squirrel conversation. This trust… guys will never understand how hard it is to trust counter logic. It’s like trusting when a woman reaches into her blouse that she will indeed bring out her bra.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have had two cups of coffee already, but I needed a third when you were talking about yourself in the third person. :-) Hate squirrels, but I loved the conversation. Yes, you get extra credit – always. It’s a good thing Maddie likes walking because it gives you extra photo ops. And, a photo taken from the caffeine safety of a DD is always a good one. :-) Yesterday, I visited a blog for the first time and noticed that either the theme or a widget captured the amount of time it would take to read that particular post. It reminded me of a highway sign up here in the Northeast telling how many minutes to the tolls. My point, if I have one, is you’d have to add extra minutes when you do your SoCS. By the way, thank you sincerely for not too much math this early. :-) Have a great but cold weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Judy. Yeah, I passed on adding that widget to my blog. If it was accurate, it might scare people away. We had a demonstration back around 2000 of some writing analysis software, at work. I didn’t feel it was necessary, but the engineers thought it might be. The HR person wrote something and, when analyses the result was something like: “to complex – 12th grade reading level.” She quipped: “I’m assuming everyone here finished high school.” And, that was the end of that.

      Sometimes, I just participate in the SoCS challenge. Sometimes, I feel like there’s a part of my brain that wants to take over. I feel like I’m just typing along for the ride. The posts are fun, but I’m not sure I could write like that for long. I always get confused with the person & tense, so I rarely get much conversation into these. I’ve tried doing a “from the bar” post for SoCS and it almost never works. Way too much editing required.

      Liked by 1 person

    • We did see a black squirrel while walking, but it was running around like crazy. I also managed to get some photos of a Hawk in one of the trees near us, but one day too late :( I’ll find a way to use that photo at some point.


  5. Dan, you’re just too squirrely when you write these. But that’s fine with me. I actually wrote a SOC draft yesterday, but as there’s a prompt, it won’t fit and I may just have to post it on my own. You can’t sway me from that. But this is the line that made me break (brake) into a grin: “Fortunately, Linda also makes that “don’t give in an inordinate amount of thought to these posits” suggestion, which is an area where Dan has been told he really shines.” It’s good to have something at which you’re better than anyone else, so congratulations and have a wonder-filled weekend (or weak end.) Oops! I guess the hounds have been released here, too, and maybe the Krakon as well!


    Liked by 1 person

    • So you’re running a bed and breakfast for them? You are a very nice person, Wendy. I’ve seen evidence that someone has been in our garage and shed. Not sure if it’s squirrels or chipmunks. As long as it isn’t bears :)

      Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You lose points for that “nothing sciency or mathy ‘cuz … Marian” crack. I happen to ADORE sciencey and mathy stuff. Can’t always follow it, but …. You do know I write science fiction, right? lol ANYWAY, you make so many bonus points for beginning and ending with the prompt words, for the squirrel conversation, and for the astoundingly beautiful photographs, you make up all your lost points and then some. And Maddie’s photobomb is a definite extra-pointer. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do know you write Science Fiction, but I thought you were one of the several people who complained about the word problem I put into a Saturday post. I’m sorry if I was wrongly accusing you. Thanks for restoring the bonus points.

      I think Maddie has figured out that if she ruins a photo opportunity, we spend more time walking and less stopped. I really wanted that pine cone photo and she really wanted to continue walking.

      Thanks again Marian – sciency person extraordinaire!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Haha! Well even I knew that about the squirrels nests, but I sure appreciate reading a non-math post about it. Imagine how I feel when right in the middle of reading, someone throws in an equation with shapes and stuff?!? It’s like someone yellin Boo!
    I love bare trees, because when you love all four seasons, you love the bare trees, too.
    Great post, Dan! :)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m still catching my breath from laughing so hard!!! OMG your sense of humor rocks, Dan!! The way you wrote this post is hysterical! You should just push Dan aside and let those voices run. I’m still wiping tears from my eyes. The clever way you use words, the squirrel story, the photobomb of Maddie, the gorgeous bare trees, the banter, truly tremendous job here. You outdid yourself. I can tell those voices were certainly frustrated and OH how they ran away with the fingers. LOVED this! And thank YOU for the huge belly laugh!!! *still laughing* *grinning* <3

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha Ha, I’m laughing at your comment, Amy. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I think the longer I keep those voices under wraps, the faster they come out of the gate. I wouldn’t normally had added the photobomb, but people seem to like Maddie, so I thought I’d add it to the group. She can be annoying, but she’s usually pretty patient with me. Thanks again for this comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The voices in your head are amazing–this was too darn funny, Dan. Those squirrels have got it right. Years ago a hurricane uprooted three beautiful maple trees in my front yard because they stood their ground; the pine trees on the side of the house swayed with whatever way the wind blew–and they survived. Watch the squirrels and learn, I say!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So , you have an editor . Brag , brag brag ! Some of us just have to wing it on our own , ” all by our lonesome ” as my mom used to say . Grin and bare it ! Well , maybe not totally bare . And , by the way , bears don’t stuff in the woods , with or without an editor . And , most likely , neither does the pope .

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Well, glad to know you have more than a few voices in your head, Dan. :D I definitely liked that you added a few words about squirrels, loved that Maddie wanted to get int the pine cone photo. It made me smile about “bare” and “bear!” You know how to keep the stream of consciousness free and rolling along. . . Speaking in the 3rd person threw me off and had to check if you were referring to Dan Hen. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Robin. Those voices don’t usually get that carried away. I messed the ‘person’ up a little, which probably added some confusion. I love the freedom os SoCS, but sometimes, I really could do wth a little editing.

      Maddie is usually very patient with me and the photos, but sometimes she wants to move on.

      I’m glad you liked this. I keep trying.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. What is that thing that “is not a bare tree but looks like winter”? Is it even a plant?

    And I have wondered for a while now. Don’t trees feel pain? Aren’t they aware? If they can heal their wounds . . . if they can reach deep for water and bend towards light in order to survive . . . if they can shed their leaves to minimize water loss and maximise on available resources . . . isn’t that awareness? Don’t we also do similar things? I wonder.


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