By Dale Bowman
Mulling things on my morning ramble with Lady, our family's mutt.
A small black cat bolted from a tree in the yard across from the ballfield on the edge of town. Tempted to loose Lady to let her have a go at it. There is nothing worse, except perhaps humans, in the wilds then a free-ranging housecat or feral cat.
Seeing a cat, tame or feral, roaming free just frosts me.
Even before crossing the side rail separating the town from the wildness of the town pond, I could hear not one but two woodpeckers hammering away on the east side of the south old clay pit. I could not find either.
Then when we crossed the side rail, I saw that vehicles had churned up the mud and snow where the dirt roads split to go the town pond or to the yard refuse in the far back.
I could not decide if it was guys being jackasses and spinning in circles just for the hell of it or people who were genuinely stuck and had to spin to get out of the mud and snow. My money would be on guys being jackasses.
Yes, I am a bit crotchety this morning.
But I was soothed some when I witnessed the beauty of the sun literally rising as we crossed the bridge over the neckdown between the two pits. And as we turned down the east side of the south pit, I saw it fully rise above the horizon or at least over the rail tracks to the east.
The photo at the top the red reflection from the sun looks like the man in the noon if you look close. Well, at least that is what I see.
As far as I could tell, no one had drilled any fresh ice-fishing holes.
It was an odd morning for walking, though at least mild enough, relatively speaking, to stretch out a full ramble.
We are at that point of winter where the sun is higher in the sky (7 1/2 weeks after the winter solstice), so melting occurs even when the air temperature is below freezing. Then it is cold enough at night that everything freezes solid.
I was able to walk on top of the snow in most spots, it was frozen that hard.
Of course I went to ``Meditation on Steps in Winter,'' by St. Crus T. Sno.
I sometimes crunched through the snow in weaker spots, but Lady stayed atop all the time. And she was just giddy and flying around. But she could not figure out why she could not eat a mouthful of snow.
Ah, the joys of a perplexed dog.
Back on the edge of town, an odd sound, not the dryers, rattled around the grain elevators. (Hello, ghost of Charles Demuth.)
Not a single bird was at our feeders. I could only guess that a free-ranging cat or a Cooper's hawk was around. My money would be on the free-ranging cat looking for songbirds to slaughter.
Yes, a bit crotchety.