I wrote this on Friday as my five minute random writing exercise for The Write Practice (see link at right) and decided to post an edited version here so you can get an idea what our world looks like these days.
To generate some thoughts for this exercise I decide to take a walk and open my mind to various thoughts that would come in the silent outdoors. My first thought brings a frown, though, as I see a pile of feathers in the grass. How I wish my cats would reform and leave the birds alone!
Is the silence conducive to thought? Not a chance. Migrating birds have their GPS set to fly right over our place and the fields beside us are filled with sandhill cranes right now. I hear their super-size bullfrog croaking south of the road and stop to watch a number of them stalking through the stubble.
There’s a row of bushes – mostly chokecherry, part of a one-time shelter-belt – between us and the birds don’t mind me eying them through gaps in the bushes. The straw has been baled now so giant golden rounds stand about, wherever the baler left them.
As I walk a bit farther I see a flat road stone, rare in these parts. Most are roundish lumpy things. I pick it up; it’s flat on both sides. This would be great for painting on! It’s almost in the shape of a house with a bump on one side that could be a chimney. I used to do painting on rocks but haven’t for too long. I set it down in a findable spot and go on.
A racket rises up in front of me as a flock of Canada geese come off the slough on the north side of the road and fly over my head toward the south. Must be about 80 birds. Then I hear more croaking as another pair of sandhill cranes fly up from the slough.
I walk on further and see the corpse of a duck that didn’t make it across the road. People complain about the havoc cats like ours wreak on the wildlife population – but people still tear down the roads bombarding the slough inhabitants with gravel. Horse & buggy, anyone?
As I turn to go home I see another smaller flock of Canada geese rise up in the north and circle around, honking their hearts out. I find my rock again and hear the thin peeping of some smaller bird. I look around and see a woodpecker light on a fencepost. I notice the low-growing yellow wildflowers at the end of our lane have turned to tiny seed puffballs.
And through all this is the incessant whistling of a wind from the south making the dry leaves chatter. No quiet moments to think through a story plot. Or do I have too much the heart of a poet?
Sunday afternoon P.S.:
My attempt to get the message across may have succeeded!
We came home around 5pm today and when we got out of the car, here comes Angus around the corner of the house with a bird in his mouth. A brown thrasher, no less! And it’s free wing is still waving. I dash toward Angus, screeching at him, “NO birds!”
He drops the thrasher, which flies up to the step railing, then flutters against the house with Angus in pursuit – and me in pursuit of Angus. “NO, NO!” I shoo him away from the frantic bird.
I’m doing my level best to get my point across. “Bad, bad. NO birds!” Angus trots away and flops down on the lawn; the thrasher thankfully escapes. Later Angus goes back sniffing and I drive him away again. I make it clear I disapprove.
After supper Bob calls me to the window. Angus is lying out on the tiles at the bottom of the back step; Pookie sits beside him. About four feet away a magpie is strutting back and forth, oinking like a mini-pig as magpies are inclined to do – ceaselessly. He’s taunting the cats, daring them, but Angus lies there unmoving.
Now I wish he’d get up and murder the thing, but we must be consistent here. I did say “No birds,” and Angus isn’t risking another scene. Pookie finally gives chase and of course it flies away. I have to be happy if I did actually get my point across – magpies notwithstanding.
It’s just as well they leave the magpies alone; if a cat ever attacked one the whole tribe would descend and that would be one sorry cat. As to laying off the other birds, cats are cats; once you’re out of sight they may well “forget.” Sigh.
The option is to be overrun with mice.