My fascination with snowyowls continues. I do wonder if – as the days get longer and the snow recedes here – I might become more interested in another owl species. I don’t know. I found a really good site –youth for wildlife – with tips for photographing snowy owls. That would be an amazing experience.
I was actually looking for information about the snowy owl’s heart rate, without much success. One site however- about Alice, a permanently injured owl living in a sanctuary in Houston, Texas,estimated that her regular heart beat was probably around 90 beats per minute, but when stressed it rose five-fold to about 330 beats per minute!
We humans suffer in the same way. Cardio vascular disease is so often related not only to what we eat (or don’t eat) and our life style (exercise and other habits) but also to the kind of stress we put ourselves under. The 24/7 multi-tasking world we live in raising our blood pressure, get the adrenaline and cortisol whizzing around, flick on the fight or flight mode in us- and will kill us eventually if we don’t wake up to its unhealthy demands on us – and choose to follow a different way of living, with different values. This year of travelling with the owls is part of my trying to do that!
“The life of a poem is measured in regular heart beats”
so writes Steven Fry, in his book The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within
I’m currently participating on an online course called ‘Literature and Mental Health’. The first week’s focus is on stress, and one of the first video clips from a medical practitioner made the point that there is no ‘one size fits all’ in medicine. We need different approaches of treatment and a success rate of a particular drug (e.g. in preventing heart attacks) might be considered good if it works in one patient in twenty, which was a bit shocking! In the course we’re currently looking into how poems are created. Other than free verse, all poems have a particular and specific beat (in technical terms it’s called metre – and most of I suspect remember learning about iambic pentameter at school in English literature classes since it was favoured by Shakespeare amongst others).
What I only just realised is that the da-DUM of a human heartbeat is the most common example of this rhythm.
da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM
Is there a link between that – and our feeling safe perhaps?
Is that why poetry can (sometimes) help calm us, or soothe us?
I found a fun blog today called Dear Owls. Its creator ‘a girl with a fondness for owls’ wrote a fun poem called ‘Poem || Heartbeat’
. See what you think …
You can now look past your past