• Dale Bowman

Ice & party hats: Ramble with the Lady

As Lady and I looked at the ice forned overnight in the protected southeast corner of the south old clay pit, it occured to me that we might actually have enough ice by tomorrow morning to test walking on it.

I wasn't sure we would see that this winter here south of Chicago.

But it sure looks like a possibility. Of course, the rest of the south pit and all of the north pit were wide open.

And I sure think Lady, our family's mutt, looks adorable looking at the ice.

Another gray morning, so I pushed out an extended ramble, the full two miles. In part to make up for all the feasting yesterday and last night. And in part to fight against the depression that builds in this gray weather and lack of sun.

I have only ever made one real New Year's Eve resolution. And I kept it. Today makes the start of the 20th year since I smoked.

There is encouragement there.

Snow pellets sprinkled the ground like decorations on party cupcakes. Air was cold enough in the low 20s to step lively. And yes, we can.

As Lady and I came off the far portion of the extended ramble, 17 Canada geese flew in high from the north and cupped up ready to land on the north pit, but then they saw something and changed their mind and coasted south over the town, then turned back northwest and decisively landed on the lake to the west with the pile of geese already down and aggressively calling.

Not sure if I learned anything on goose behavior from that or not.

The goose with the bum right wing has drawn in a companion. The two of them waited by the bridge over the neckdown between the two pits. If Lady had not been on her leash, she would have caught the goose with a bum wing.

The leftover hedge apples on the east side of the south pit are rapidly deteriorating to a blackened mush.

The brightest part of the morning ramble with Lady came when a vivid red male cardinal hopped around the brushes on the south side of the trail, formerly a side rail, about the south end of the south pit.

It was close enough to photograph, but till I pulled my phone out and pulled off my gloves it was in thicker cover. So no photo.

Back on the edge of town, two dozen barn pigeons wheeled high above the grain elevators, then swooped low over the grit area by the main rail tracks. Nine mourning doves flew out to sit on the wires above the grit area.

In winter, it sure seems like a lot more wildlife and birds are moving well after sunrise. This morning was the latest I have rambled with any dog in a good long while.

I was up late last night with a New Year's Eve party and today is a rare free day for me, so I actually slept in (slept in by my standards to 7 a.m.)

A long line of rail cars sat on the side rail by the grain elevators.

The gray metallic elevators matched the gray sky. (Hello, Charles Demuth.)

Plastic party hats, crushed plastic cups and noisemakers littered the ground by the tavern on the corner on the edge of town.

Party on, Dudes.

Three women's vehicle were parked by the gym down the block from the tavern. Exercise on, Ladies. Music thumped from inside while they worked out.

Lady and I rambled off into the few flying snow pellets.

A new year.

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