Monday, March 1, 2010

The Call of the Wild

There’s an inner urging deep inside all of us for a return to the wild - to live off the land - to build a shelter with our own hands -to catch a fish or trap a rabbit or shoot a pheasant, and drink fresh water from a cool, clear stream… and then to sneak off to town for a hot shower, a burger and a shake!

My wife has made me promise for several years running now that I would take her camping. But between valid reasons and trifling excuses, our tent and cook-stove have continued to gather cobwebs. Perhaps this summer…

Had she not stepped out at just the right time, her little yapper may have been the victim of an unthinkable fate.

But in backing out the driveway the other morning I realized we don’t need to go camping to return to the wild. See, a couple of years ago we bought a new house on a cul-de-sac with empty lots around us. And with a church lot behind our house to the north and another to the west, we are surrounded on three sides by raw nature.

But what I noticed that morning is a bond with nature that exceeds the smell of a freshly brush-hogged church lot. There it was, perched majestically on the peak of our roof – an eagle! Or was that a falcon? Or a chicken-hawk? Or an osprey, a kite or an owl? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a buzzard or a vulture. Let’s just agree that it was a bird of prey, and leave it at that.

And this isn’t the first predatory avian that’s taken roost on our home. See, we attend one of those churches behind us, and sitting in our married folks class on any given Sunday I can look out the window and see our roof. And it’s quite often I see a bird, eyeing the fields around our house for his breakfast. Speaking of breakfast, we have coffee and donuts in married folks class (just thought I’d throw that in).

But this whole matter of predatory birds looking for breakfast brings a fresh concern with a warning issued yesterday by Cheryl; a friend of ours. Like us, Cheryl has a small dog that she lets outside for all the reasons you let dogs outside. And today she reported that hovering overhead was a chicken-hawk in search of prey. Had she not stepped out at just the right time, her little yapper may have been the victim of an unthinkable fate.

So now, every time we let our little mutt outside I'll feel like a parent sending his kindergartner off on the bus for the first day of school. I'll want to hide in the shadows and stand vigil. But parents don't really put a kindergartner on the bus on the first day - they drive her to school. So maybe, every time she barks to be let out, I'll just drive her out on my riding mower. I might even buy her one of those little mats to sleep on. You know - the kind that is blue on one side and red on the other.

Or maybe I'll just put out coffee and donuts for the hungry predator. Hey, it works for the married folks at the church!

Image courtesy of Liz Noffsinger /

1 comment:

  1. I love this little vignette, Reece, for several reasons. One is that I have a high appreciation for your free-association thought patterns: bird of prey-church-coffee and donuts-rooftop-back to the bird of and donuts. It makes for an entertaining read that this A.D.D.-addled mind can track with.

    The other reason---and my kids can attest to this, because they make light of it---is that I LOVE birds of prey. I don't know why, I just love 'em. Especially eagles. When we go to the zoo, I could stand and watch the birds of prey for what my companions would call an unreasonably long time.

    I keep threatening to have an eagle-themed office at home, but most of the eagle art out there is cheap-looking and far from befitting the majesty of the eagle.

    So, whenever you get a chance to snap a photo of that bird again, know that there's a Hoosier over here who will definitely appreciate it.

    Thanks for your witty and engaging writing, Reece. Keep going!