• Dale Bowman

R.D. Laing & sign of the vulture: Ramble with the Lady

A turkey vulture--those slow-flapping, utterly ugle birds of carrion--of all things flapped off low overhead this morning as Lady and I came down the east side of the south old clay pit.

There aren't many firsts left on my morning rambles around the town pond. But that was a first, a vulture at the town pond on a ramble.

Come to think of it, I am already rambling off with the third family mutt. First it was the collie mix of the the much-missed Flash when we first moved here, then the Lab-mix of the much-missed Storm and now Lady.

It has been a wild week. I lost a day or work on Wednesday when too much rain came and our sump burned out and I had to spend time cleaning up from the water that bubbled up the drain. So I have been scrambling to catch up.

This was the first morning with a regular full ramble in nearly a week.

It felt good.


Which naturally, at least naturally for me, took me to R.D. Laing and his pithy quotes.

``Insanity--a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.''

I pulled that quote from I remember it in a slightly different format.

As I looked through some of the other famous quotes from the Swiss psychiatrist, I found this gem:

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.

That sounds like the essence of rambling off in the morning with the family mutt.

I digress.

Three free-ranging housecats--those slaughtering machines--clustered near the low feeder at a neighbor's yard. Lady went into a frenzy. I was tempted to let her have a go, but then figured our neighbor might be having her morning coffee at her kitchen window and restrained mself and Lady.

Not as many squirrels or rabbits this morning as I expected. But then we rambled off earlier than usual this morning.

Crossing over the side rail separating the town from the wildness of the town pond, I saw a truck pulled in the turnaround by the old boat lauch, so I guessed there was somebody fishing in a cartopper or something like a cartopper.

When I noticed all the families of Canada geese clustered on the east side of the north pit, I was pretty sure on that cartopper theory.

A goldfinch flashed bright yellow as it flew down the south bank of the north pit.

Mulberries are not as plentiful this year around the town pond. I am not sure why.

Bullfrogs are. Or maybe my timing was better. I heard at least three on the north pit, one on the south pit and one in the ditch east of the town pond.

Maybe our youngest and I will have to get out and try to catch a couple. The season opened on Monday in Illinois.


Sure enough, there was a cartopper and a father and daughter just beginning to set up to fish off the boat launch. He said they just started.

Then the vulture flew over.

As we came out of the wilds around the town pond, only one barn pigeon circled as we passed the grain elevators on the edge of town. (Hello, Charles Demuth.)

The chef/cook, who runs the food truck for migrant and nursery workers, had his truck backed up to the door of his kitchen/restaurant.

It looks like they are redoing the restaurant part, so I peered in the window this morning. It looks like they moved the bar toward the front. That would be cool. Some morning I need to ask him if they are going to reopen the restaurant for good.

A rabbit tried the old sit-still-and-nobody-will-see-me trick in the yard across from the bur oaks a street over. It did not work. Lady spotted her. I have a theory that with all the rains in the past two weeks, vegetation is so thick that rabbits have more hiding places and have been more protected from predators, so, at least for now, we have more rabbits.

A blue jay squawked in the neighbor's yard two houses east. A mourning dove whistle-fluttered off our front porch below the feeders.

It felt like normal routines settling back in.

Normalcy has its own sanity, its own righteousness.

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