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  • Dale Bowman

Water & connections: Ramble with the Lady


Oh, trust me, I will eventually get back to the jackasses that left the bait box.

But let's start off more righteously on a Sunday morning.

Heard the first cardinal I have heard in a while when Lady, our family's mutt, and I rambled off into the dawn.

Not that you could much tell dawn from not dawn very well. It was yet another gray post-rain overcast.

It was nice to hear a cardinal again, even if I could not find and see one of my favorite birds in the lush growth of this summer.

At the ball field on the edge of town, the sprinklers were going.

Well, that took me to water and our connectivity. I think somebody just made a mistake and left it on automatic timer. We had a good soaking half inch of rain last night, which puts us somewhere over 25 inches since June 1. I don't think the sprinklers were necessary.

Water connects use like few other things, except maybe air.

Thought of that yesterday as I drove a carload of kids to a graduation party south in Watseka. The kids were up for a wilder ride, so I took a long drive down the east side of Irquois County through some of my favorite country.

Well, that area happens to be just about the epicenter for flooding in Illinois. There were still roads closed and many fields still had lakes puddled big enough to hold ducks and geese. And this was before that area were hammered by yet another round of heavy rains and more flooding last night.

Well, the party was held at a park by Sugar Creek, a major tributary of the Iroquois River, which in turn is the major tributary of the Kankakee River, which ends joining the Des Plaines River to form the Illinois River.

I connect all these dots because what has happened along the Iroquois River and Sugar Creek in Iroquois County and nearby counties in Illinois and Indiana is part of the reason there is a near-record flood going on the Illinois River all the way down at Havanna.

The Iroquois River near the state line is forecast, according to the National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, to reach a major flood status (above), just a foot or two below the record flood. Is there a connection why the Illinois River at Havana remains in major flood stage (below) and will again crest just short of the record?

Of course there is. That was just a rhetorical question.

What makes this all truly odd is that it is summer time. More typically this is spring type of flooding. And it just keeps going on and on.

As we crossed the side rail separating the town from the wildness of the town pond, Canada geese families scurried off into the water.

I had a good chance to eyeball them and counted 73 swimming on the north old clay pit. The goslings are so big it was nearly impossible to tell the adults from the goslings.

To my surprise, another nine geese were swimming on the south pit. That makes 82 for the town pond. That is a high count by my memories.

Now back to the top photo.

As we crossed the bridge over the neckdown between the two pits, I saw a white container for night crawlers.

That's fishermen, virtually nobody else buys and carts around those containers.

When I call them jackasses let me show just how much I mean that.

I picked up the litter of the bait container and its lid, took three and a half strides, that's 1-2-3-1/2 steps, and dropped it in a trash can.

That crap just goads me.

Near the south end of the south pit, I heard a woodpecker hammering away, but I could not find it. That gave me a bit of peace back.

Back on the edge of town, the grain elevators stood metalic against the gray overcast. It felt heavy.

At least throughout out the town, the cooing of mourning doves thickened the damp air. A young dove sat on the wires in the alley behind the bus barn downtown. With the bus barn radio tower behind, it I had my Hello-Charles-Demuth moment for the day.

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