• Dale Bowman

Squirrels on wire, D-Linemen geese, dueling woodpeckers: Ramble with the Lady

How do you say why squirrels run down wires?

That thought that came again this morning when Lady began tracking not one but two gray squirrels running on the wires along the alley behind the bus barn downtown and behind the yard with the feeders across the street from the bus barn.

"Straight Dope" gives a rather detailed explanation why squirrels or birds generally do not get electrocuted.

Click here for the explanation from "Straight Dope."

(I say generally because there are some rather famous instances where squirrels get fried on wires.)

I was fascinated enough to grab a decent photo. (Hello, Charles Demuth, in a different spot.)

The two squirrels were chasing each other until they realized that Lady, our family's mutt, and I were giving them the eye from the ground.

The image of the squirrel at the confluence of wires I think captures much of my interest in the intersection of the wild and modern worlds, the crux of morning mind matters.

Basically, the Rambles are leaving the modern world, going into the wild, and returning to the modern world.

Boy, that sounds profound.

I digress, oh, but it is a good one.

At least for me, the sight of squirrels running on electric or telephone wires always takes me to the stunning documentary, "Man on Wire."

If you take nothing else from this Ramble, take that: "Man on Wire" is a must-see.

It is a gripping deconstruction of Philippe Petit's illegal high-wire act between the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

I am drawn to people drawn to compulsions.

Always have been. Not sure what that says about me. Or if it even says anything.

As we crossed the side rail separating the town from the wildness of the town pond, I saw all kinds of geese, mostly standing guard over the couple dozen goslings, which were being taught how to graze and crap all over grassy areas.

Such a good morning that I decided to stretch out an extended Ramble. Lady was up for the longer run.

Near my second best morel spot, I apparently now have another morel spot. I found somebody had picked and discarded a big, but dried out, morel.

That goes along with a lot of what other people are saying: that morels already appear to be heading into the dried out phase. Considering how cold April was that seems odd.

Again, I digress.

The usual red-winged blackbirds trilled around the north old clay pit.A lone wood duck whistled off from around the south pit.

When Lady and I came off the extended Ramble, I watched the adult geese and they reminded me of defensive football players, told to stay in their lanes.

I did another count on goslings and found a new family, so now I am up to 29 goslings on the town pond by my count.

Back on the edge of town, two doves and four barn pigeons flew around the grit area below all the wires by the grain elevators.

A fresh line of rail cars waited on the side rail. None of them had any interesting or arty graffiti.

Back downtown, a desperate-looking young man turned around on Station Street and pulled in front of all the plants spread in front of the flower shop. Mother's Day.

Two woodpeckers hammered away on trees separated by blocks. I swear the woodpeckers were going back and forth like dueling drummers.

Oh, of course I am going to that classic scene in "Deliverance." Well, one of the classic scenes in "Deliverance," at any rate.

On a side note, James Dickey was the author of the book, which the movie is based on.

Most people only know it as a movie. It was a helluva book, too. I knew Dickey through his poetry. At first I thought the movie diminished him as an artist, but more and more I come to think that is elitist thinking I need to get away from. It was a helluva movie too.

A block from home, Lady strained to get at a black squirrel loping down the sidewalk across from the decorative fruit trees. Between there and home, I counted seven squirrels. It is that time of year, settling into true May.

While watching the couple down the street walk their Labradoodle, or at least I think that is what it is, and at the same time keep an eye and leash on Lady, I heard the unmistakable sound of flying wood ducks.

Sure enough, a pair of woodies came flying east on our street, right at tree-top level.

There is no explaining some things.

So I ramble on, looking to sort out meaning.

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