Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS


In to the Wind

October 30, 2013
By Mike Gilchrist ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald


It was early in 2009 that Wink, the one eyed cat came to live with us. Late last night, Wink returned from a full 24 hour sortie. I was worried. I kept going outside and calling her. My fear was a coyote or some wild dogs had gotten her. Rare is the time she stays gone this long. She finally showed up well after dark, and demanded to be fed.

As a tribute to Wink, and because I am busy with seasonal things, I offer these words, which were written the spring after her arrival here.

Article Photos

I'm soft. Rural Iowa living has softened my hard-bitten cynicism so carefully cultivated over the years. Some who know my style will undoubtedly know I'm about to make an admission.

One of our neighbors sold their acreage recently. Actually, they sold it a lot faster and for a lot more than I thought they would. Now that's encouraging for our community. Anyway, once again I digress.

I was never able to sell this particular neighbor Internet access. No computer Mike, and no interest. That was always their answer to my queries. When I saw a small trailer at the place after they moved, I knew the buyers were making the move. I pounded on the door. Nobody was home. A skinny white cat came running towards me at high speed. She ran up to me and demanded I pick her up. I did. Her ribs were showing, and she only had one eye. I loaded her up in the Jeep and brought her home.

You've never seen an animal that small eat as much as she does. It was very apparent she had a rather rough start in life. Not only is her eye missing, but one of her nostrils is ripped and missing making her nose somewhat deformed. I imagine, since she was the only cat around there, her siblings and mother were eaten by the ferocious beast which defaced her.

I called her Cy, which is NOT an errant Hawkeye fan's attempt to slander Moo U, but is short for Cyclops. When I took her to the vet, (yes I did) I even told them her name was Cy. My daughter pitched a fit, telling me I was cruel. She came up with a better name, Wink. She does sort of look like she is winking. The name is creative, less cruel than my moniker, and has stuck.

My favorite small animal doctor, Dr. Downs told me she is in remarkably good shape considering what she has been through. She also told me the pink ears were a result of being severely frostbitten. Darwin was right in this case, and now she is going to be able to live a normal cat life, deformities and all.

Just for the record, I DO NOT want your stray cats and will restrain myself from adopting any more. Also for the record, the one eyed cat fits in quite well here at Gilly Hollow with the three legged dog Paris, Frankie the chocolate lab (the only normal one) and Holly, the grossly overweight yellow Labrador retriever. What we have here gentle reader is a hodge-podge menagerie, and I love all my animals.

Rumor has it the morels are beginning to pop in the area. Recent rain, if we get some warmer days will likely make for a bountiful season; at least that is my hope. Once I get a few things done today I need to get done, I plan to trudge down into the timber and see what I see. Hopefully it will be at least a few little grays. Last year the season was late and short. The kids did spot some of the largest big yellow morels I've ever seen. I have that location all mapped out in my minds eye.

Another sign of the season, and what will be old news by the time you read this, is the Farmers Market will have begun. I can't wait to finally see some old friends I haven't seen for a while. Living in such rural isolation, I don't get to see many of them except at market. I will be (will have been) there at the opening whistle. Carpe momento!

Several people stopped me in my travels this week and told me they were glad to see my column in the paper. A few even said they enjoyed reading my article. You know what they say, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks!" Thank-you to all of you; it means a lot that these efforts are appreciated. Even banality can have its rewards. Trite and true, I hope I can keep it up. Metaphorically speaking, it's time to get on with the column.

I could get started on how all the liberal happenings all of a sudden are causing me pause. I'm not quite sure what to make of the apparent power grabs going on. Perhaps it is more making up for lost time since it has been a number of years since the Clinton administration was in power. Or has it? With a Clinton making foreign policy and a democratically controlled Congress spending our children's inheritance, perhaps what we are seeing is a continuation of the Clinton years, with an eight year lapse.

Do you have a plan if the current strain of influenza turns into a pandemic? Recent events conjure up images of city dwellers wearing surgical masks as they attempt to go about their daily routines. Remember Sars? Scares me a bit. Could it be that nature is gearing up to counter a global overpopulation threat? I've long viewed nature and the earth as a self regulating mechanism. Do things to upset the balance and nature takes action.

It reminds me of an old biology experiment in which I participated. We had a large fish aquarium in which we built some little cubbies. We placed a few rats in that environment. In a few weeks the population reached equilibrium, and the rats quit reproducing! Next, we decreased the size of the environment by a third. Same number of rats, but in a smaller space. All war broke out. The stronger, dominant rats actually killed the weaker ones. Once again they reached equilibrium and things got back to normal.

As sort of a microcosm, this experiment showed that nature will deal with overpopulation in nature's own way. In the middle ages when some of the world cities became overpopulated and living conditions were too tight and too squalid, plaques surfaced and decimated a portion of the population until equilibrium was one again reached. During other eras wars broke out when the resources of the world were not able to deal with the number of inhabitants. Could we be on the cusp of nature making another population correction? It makes you wonder, doesn't it?

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.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web