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Naturally rambling

In to the Wind

April 24, 2013
By Mike Gilchrist , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Here is a rerun of one of my columns from a few years back. Enjoy.

Many writers take notes; little threads of thoughts that might be one day used in some way. My column this week will contain a sprinkling of those thoughts, and perhaps desires.

Have you heard all the crows lately? I don't remember this many crows around here. In the morning, they are raucous, belligerent and taunting.

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Some might find this odd; others entertaining. Sometimes I go to the timber and use my crow call to get the crows going, and my coyote call to get the coyotes going! What a symphony! Crows are loud in the morning, but can be enticed to caw at all hours.

And perhaps as a reflection on yet another rainy day (or is it?)

Despite the clouds the sun is making its entrance. The crows caw, and taunt the other birds. "We are not afraid of a little rain, we are crows," they tease.

And since crows seem to be the topic of the moment, I pulled this from my notes.

And the crows, loud and boisterous declare they will be heard. "You keep nothing from us," they bluster. "The other birds just aren't as observant as us. We see it all. Your desire can't be hidden from us!"

We have been building a few zip lines in a secluded part of the timber. The birds and other animals seem to take note of our actions. My youngest son is visiting this summer from Florida. We had our rigs in hand and were ready to ride the lines.

"Ha ha, caw caw, taunted the crow." His alarm raised the attention of two other carrion.

"They're hooking themselves to lines and are going across the ravine! Oh my!" crowed the smallest of the birds.

"It's ok, the man has his son with him," the wisest of the crows cawed in reply.

Have I told you a Great Blue Heron frequents our timber? It frequents the water close to a cascade we have on one of the springs which turns into a waterfall.

The little spring babbles, pushed by summer rain. "There is more water coming," it thinks as it pushes yet more water over the waterfall to make room for what is coming.

The great blue heron which has taken up residence in the timber looks in vain to the spring to give up fish it does not have. Too centered in life, the heron does not give up, but continues the search, hoping, dreaming the place it loves will give up a fish.

What might at first seem simplistic might be a trick used by the writer to explain something greater.

The spring is somehow not able to rise to the demands it feels. It dispenses with the present (the water going over the falls) and prepares for that it knows is coming but for which it has no control.

The heron is comfortable in her environment. Most things are fine, solid and defined. She sees the water rising and instinctively looks for a fish. But alas, there is no fish in the spring. The spring and the surroundings can only soothe the physical needs of the heron. She keeps looking, longing to find that fish in the spring. After much searching, she realizes the spring is not going to give up a fish. It makes her sad, but also steels her to the possibilities that another spring, another stream, another lake will hold that fish for which she longs.

Yes dear reader, the writer can be different things to different people at different times.

Many times allegory is instantly recognized and sometimes the writer disguises his words so they may not be apparent until the writer wishes them to unfold and the story told.

At least one little green humming bird has been floating around here. There may well be more than one, but they look the same to me. If inspiration can come from nature, then too can a reason for lack of words.

A little green humming bird pokes her beak up inside the purple hostas. She looks for nectar, essence, that life sustaining dew she craves and desires. But alas, the hostas have little to give this morning. There is a fog, a veil over the land which keeps nature, this day from offering up its nectar. But tomorrow will be a better day.

I was in the garage making sure the puppies had food and water. A swallow flew in and then in circles around me for half a minute before flying back out the side door. When I stepped back out the door there were 20 of them circling, catching bugs. It was an awesome sight.

I think the abundance of rain has caused a serious crop of mosquitoes this year. As a result, there are way more swallows; like the cows, way more than I have seen before!

Two barn swallows have built nests in our garage. They are such graceful fliers and a joy to watch as they swoop close to the ground eating bugs. Because they eat lots of mosquitoes, my inclination is to leave them be. Is cleaning up a minor amount of droppings a fair trade for their grace? They don't seem to be bothered by our menagerie of animals, or by me. They are beautiful birds. Your thoughts?

When one looks for the silver lining that is in every cloud, the wonders of the universe are available and free to those who discipline themselves in their use. Simple problems, even seemingly insurmountable problems can be solved through logic, understanding and preparation. If an experience leaves a positive balance on that slate which documents your life, those wonders of the universe can be used to allow the experience again.

Until next time-

You can read past columns by visiting and clicking on the "Local Columns" button.

In to the Wind and this column are copyright 2005 - 2013 Mike Gilchrist. Readers, feel free to contact me at via email, or write to me at P.O. Box 255, Toledo, IA 52342.



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