Adaptation?

Two competing ideas have been flitting about in my head recently in my quest to settle on a topic for this week. One topic I will someday write about attempts to answer this question: Does the winter wren alter its song pattern based on the sound output of a body of water in its environment? Given that a quick gander at the research on bird song revealed some very linguistically dense scientific terminology, I’ve decided to write about my propensity for putting things on my dog’s head, then taking pictures of him.

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One fall, while walking out back, I noticed some giant cottonwood leaves and decided that I should take the biggest of these leaves to school then hold a contest in my classroom wherein the student who could come closest to recreating the size and shape of the cottonwood tree would win some bogus, teacher pleasing award. The class was suitably shocked by the immensity of this leaf and we had a great conversation about how our perceptions about the size of leaves might be vastly different than the actual size of leaves-which is a useful thing to know when it comes to trees and just about everything else. I did not have Mickey back then,so here he is with a maple leaf on his head, illustrating that leaves can be remarkably big.

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One winter, I came across an armchair that someone had dumped in the gravel pit beside the Lillooet Forest Service road. At first, this angered me but then I decided to make use of the chair and invited the dog up on its pink cushion; couch surfing is not a treat he is accustomed to at home, so he looked a little guilty sitting there. At the same time, he also looked quite content, so I thought I should remind him not to get too comfortable with such luxury. I built a tiny snowman and placed it on his head to show him that I’m the one with opposable thumbs in this relationship.

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One spring, while scampering up the Tenquille trail and listening for the burble of the winter wren, Mickey and I stopped to admire the honeysuckle blooms. I was so hungry for colour after the long dark winter that I draped him in honeysuckle jewelry so I could see how it might look. Perhaps I should get a selfie stick…

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One summer, well technically, I guess it was still spring, I was trying yet again to teach Mickey to hunt for various mushrooms. If he sat whenever he discovered a mushroom, he would be rewarded with lavish praise. He found so many mushrooms that I made him a crown out of a fungus and a flowering current blossom. He wore it proudly for a few seconds then trotted off up the trail.

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No matter what the season, Mickey’s head seems like a fitting furscape for the little things that bring humour to my life. He endures my crazy schemes as if this is the price he must pay for being my dog but I must say he is always eager to pose. When I consider the ways he has adapted to my whims, I look forward to learning about the ways in which the winter wren might harmonize with its environment.

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