• Dale Bowman

Lines & anti-lines, wild & tamed: Ramble with the Lady

Coming out of the wildness around the town pond and back to the edge of town, the lines of the grain elevators on the east side of the railroad tracks caught my eyes. They were sharply and darkly outlined with the backdrop of the rising sun.

(Hello, Charles Demuth. Larry Green?)


Something about the stark lines of civilization has always bugged me, I like the free form of the wild, the natural.

It may sound like a simple idea, but I think it impacted my direction in life.

Not that there is not beauty in the stark lines of the civilized world, something Demuth caught about as well as anybody.

The natural world this morning was cold, really cold, as Lady, our family's mutt, and I rambled off. Though it was officially 30 degrees, I only saw patchy frost.

And the ground was not frozen, so robins were everywhere on any grassy areas and mourning doves cooed on all sides.

I keep expecting to see goslings on either of the old clay pits because the adult Canada geese are in that hyper mode of protectiveness. But this morning I gave both pits a good scan and did not see any goslings, despite the many adults swimming in protective formations and tracking Lady and myself along the shoreline of the south pit.

A small diver popped up and down like a tugged cork on the southwest corner of the south pit. This morning I even heard the trilling of red-winged blackbirds on the south pit. Usually, they are much more of a thing around the larger more open spaces of the north pit.

Back in town, the bank thermometer, fully catching the rising sun, read 37 degrees. It was much colder than that.

Back home, the free form shape of my wife's front flower bed caught my eye as a counter-point to the sharply defined Demuthian lines of the grain elevators.

Low-to-the-ground pansies built in structure, but free form, to tulips to daffodils to a peony bush, that weed not yet flowering, to the sprawling still budless brown stalks of the rose bush tucked in the corner between the front steps and our porch.

A lone dove whistle-flew off the porch below the feeders as we came up the steps.

The dove's flight seemed a natural extension of the natural wild lines of the flower garden of my wife, who has her own natural wild lines.

I am blessed.


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