• Dale Bowman

Iniquity of squirrels, redemption of pumpkins: Ramble with the Lady

A month or so ago, my wife said there was a pumpkin growing by her rose bush in the front flower garden.

I asked if maybe it was a watermelon. The kids and their friends sometimes sit on the front steps and do what kids have done for centuries: spit watermelon seeds.

But no, it was a pumkin plant, soon a big sprawling plant taking over the east side of the garden and much of the front yard.

It was an impressive plant with mini white pumpkins.

One of the mothers in town, who walks her kids to school, shared in the bounty with her kids, much to the delight of her youngest.

And I remembered why the pumpkin was growing there.

Those backyard bastards, yes, I am talking gray squirrels, mauraded some small white pumpkins last fall. Our daughter had added them to her regular pumpkins, which she grows in the backyard as a 4H project, on the rail of the front porch for a fall decoration.

Apparently, some seeds fell into my wife's flower garden and took root.

In my mind, I converted (like that verb?) it to the redemption of white pumpkins from the iniquity of squirrels.

At least in my mind, it is a short trip to Iniquity of Symmetry, a local band, which has had some big time appearances around Chicago and points south.

Iniquity of Symmetry is a turn of phrase I wish I had come up with. And it is a great rock band name.

Setting out with Lady, our family's mutt this morning, I had some fun when she began stalking a squirrel down the alley behind the bus barn. And completely missed the rabbit frozen and trying to hide in the lawn with the evergreens. Lady walked past the rabbit within four feet and never saw it.

It made me smile.

I like my wilds sprawling and wild.

I think symmetry is akin to iniquity or even sin, in the natural world.

But that has changed in town.

Crossing the side rail, I noticed again how tame the town pond seems now that the south end of the north old clay pit and the west side of the south pit have been clear-cut and look like they will soon be falling into symmetrical formations rather than the sprawling mess of wild brush and trees that used to be along the edges of the water.

A few fish splashed out of the shallows as we passed.

Only two young doves sat on the wires as we came back to the edge of town by the grit area by the grain elevators.

More doves sat on wires behind the bus barn.

Lady stalked and nearly caught, when she leaped up a maple, a gray squirrel near the bur oaks a block from home.

Dawn had arrived by the time we reached the porch.

Fall walks near with its dulling of the light.

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