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  • Dale Bowman

Mortality, human frailty & life: Ramble with the Lady

The first rabbit bolted from the bur oaks a street over and into the parking lot of the bus barn downtown. As we turned down the alley behind the bus barn, two more young rabbits sat around hoping not to be seen.

I credit the weather with the plethora of rabbits. We have had something like 30 inches of rain since early June and vegetation just grows thick and lush in a manner that gives all kinds of cover and hiding places for rabbits, which are generally thinned rather quickly by predators--coyotes, free-ranging housecats (those slaughtering machines), foxes, owls, hawks--but not so quickly with this many hiding places.

Bigger questions of life pull at me this morning, big enough that I was somewhat surprised to be able to pay attention to the details of the ramble with Lady, our family's mutt.

The grandfather who Bobby Bergren, the big part of Stray Casts Media, is named for died last week. That eats at me.

My older sister, who did a lot of the raising of my younger brother and myself, started chemo last week and is dealing with the ass-whupping that puts on a person.

I want to put these things in their place, in their mental drawer, but some things spill around and over like gimmick gifts of eternal importance.

So I walk, past the rabbits and back into the routine of the ramble.

The wonderful smell of meat fillings for burritos and tacos cooking, being prepped downtown I am sure by the cook/chef who runs the food truck for migrant and nursery workers, wafted over me on the southeast breeze as we passed the fire house.

As we crossed the side rail separating the town from the wildness of the town pond, I noticed a crane with a digging bucket on it. (Hello, Charles Demuth.)

I thought at first it was there just because there was adequate space to park it.

Then I noticed the machinery had been clearing the brush and trees from the south side of the north old clay pit. It looks like the lone tree left standing is a young walnut.

My dad would love this stuff with his quarry background. Whenever I talk to him about stuff like this, he wants to know the brand name of the machine.

Unlike him, I am not a machine guy.

The wildness of the town pond is not as wild any more. Some would call that progress. I would not.

A lone bullfrog croaked from the north side, still wild, on the north pit.

The blackberries, the few there are, are coming in thick and juicy, as I expected with all the rain, on the east side of the south pit. I picked three and they were so big they made a handful. And they were quite tasty, too.

On the way home, I noticed the first undersized acorns on the sidewalk, fallen from the bur oaks a street over, as a pair of blue jays in the yards to the south squawked back and forth like gossiping neighbors.

As we came up the front steps, I could hear the family of Cooper's hawks, which nested in the church yard across the street, calling back and forth to each. The teaching of the two young ones has been something to watch and a subject for another day.

Life moves on.

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