Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A COLD MISERABLE DAY and just some thoughts about cranes

click on photos to enlarge
I had hoped to get the canoe on the water today but I feared rain.  The wind was up before I was this morning but, abated shortly after 7AM.  I didn't feel like struggling against the current so grabbed the dogs and headed to the old state park.  I believe it's getting colder out.  I got a chill on my neck that has traveled down my back and I can't get rid of it.  I feel as cold as that picture to the left appears.

It's always nice to come across an old wooden fence.  The one to the right is a new find.  This old park is full of surprises.  Old fences pull at my soul.  They are reminiscent of times past.  They have character.  They conjure up visions of perspiring field workers and men dressed in gray clambering over them.


The interesting thing about old, ancient fences is that they usually are standing alone, held up by shrubbery or low hanging tree limbs that have grown between the boards lending support to the fence's structure.  Rarely do I find a building associated with an old wooden fence.  In the case of the fence to the left and above;  there is remnants of a log building.  Only one course of rotten logs remains of the structure.  Interesting...

I decided to stay off the trail and the road that disappears into the lake.  We would bushwhack through the forest.   A single row of rotting logs form the substructure of a long departed building.  It just appeared out of nowhere.  It makes one wonder what else is out here.




A termite infested and woodpecker riddled tree is about to fall.  It is rotten through and through.  It's demise guarantees life to others.  There is a reason for death in nature.








The termites eat the rotting wood of the tree;  the woodpeckers eat the termites and raptors prey on the woodpeckers.  It's the circle of life.









We broke out of the woods and onto the old ruin grounds.  The air was definitely getting colder.  Why can't I stay warm.  It's just a dreary, cold, damp day.  We probably should have stayed home.  But, I owe it to the dogs to get them to the woods.  Dogs need to seek.  It's in their genes.  To not allow a dog to seek and explore is to torture it.  They need to exhaust themselves seeking and wandering.
Douglas is seeking below:  He's seeking a squirrel

I guess my disgust with this sandhill crane hunt coming up is working hand in hand with the cold to make me chilly.  The older I get, the less I seem to understand the thought process that revolves around protecting wildlife.  Do we as humans complicate the wildlife issues to a technological degree that supersedes common sense approaches to wildlife problems and issues?  Is the taking of wild lives with a gun always the answer when they incur some minor offense to humans?  Do we as, wildlife stewards, find the gun the most expedient way of dealing with a troublesome wildlife problem?  In some cases I understand.  In the case of the sandhill cranes;  their only sin has been to come back from near extinction in great enough numbers to guarantee their existence.  I think the sin is to penalize them for their success.

CONVERSATION WITH A SANDHILL CRANE

I saw him standing there alone in the bog as I walked  around the huge rotten tree stump that separated us.  He was very tall and old too.  His primary's were ruffled and some missing.  He must have come a long way yet, he stood tall and straight;  a proud representation of his species.


I said, "Old one, how do you fare today and why are you alone?"

He replied in a hoarse voice, "I've come here alone to think.  I can not think when in the company of so many."

I asked, "what is it you are contemplating?"


And this is what he said:

I am confused where I fit in.
Are my kind not wanted anymore?
We're persecuted every turn,
Will we prevail if we endure?

What sacrifice do humans ask,
How many of us have to die,
To satisfy the urge to kill,
And rid us from the sky?

Are we so foul to look upon,
Repulsive in your sight?
We can not change our habits now,
And, we know not how to fight.

At your mercy we remain,
Targets one and all.
We hope the urge to kill is short,
So few of us will fall.

We once were looked upon in awe,
Our wings across the sky.
Would warm the hearts of man and child
To see us soar on high.

Persecuted now we are;
On unholy soil we stand.
What used to be our habitat
Will soon be bloody sand.

Sir, how many of us must you kill,
To satiate your lust?
How many must be sacrificed,
Til we regain your trust?

We cranes are but one link of chain,
That encircles life on earth.
I beg of you don't break that link
And falsify our birth.

Then he said;  "What say you now, to that sir?"

I looked directly into his eyes and could not respond.  With tears streaming down my cheek I lowered my head in shame.  I felt the wind from his powerful wings fan across me as he disappeared into the sky.  A miserable sense of loss came over me and I felt shame....