|the "grand passage" can bring skies full of ducks|
Photo by J. Harrington
Minnesota's duck season opens tomorrow. We've sat in duck blinds on openers in unseasonably warm weather that was much cooler than we're experiencing today. It's a very strange feeling, especially for those of us who've sometimes watched ice freeze around our decoys late in the season. We'll be very curious to see if tomorrow morning sounds as if a latest world war is being fought a little behind the house, or if today's duck hunters will wait for more traditional duck hunting conditions, when the skies in our neighborhood may look more like the photo above. If you're interested in discovering more of what we mean by traditional, see if you can lay your hands on a copy of any of the volumes of Gordon MacQuarrie's Stories of the Old Duck Hunters. Actually, see if you can find and read all of those volumes. The Superior WI area and the St. Croix Valley are the settings for most of those tales so you should feel pretty much at home.
Since tomorrow is supposed to have about the same weather conditions as today, we think we'll use it for some trout fishing scouting (unless the Better Half has other plans for us). It's been too many years since we've visited what once were very familiar haunts and hour or so's drive south of where we're currently living. This weather could make it be a good weekend to see if those haunts are still there and how much they may have changed. If this "global warming" weather pattern continues, we may even seriously consider exploring some of the waters open to Winter trout season later in the year or early next.
We sincerely hope that each and every one of you have a wonderful Autumn pursuing whatever local, outdoor activities are closest to your hearts and compatible with the weather, no matter how unseasonable, or seasonable, it may be.
By Sydney Lea
Why not write something for thosewho scratched out improbable livings here?Someone has managed to sowThis broken field with stones, it appears,
So someone’s scratching it still,Although that Japanese knotweed has edgedThe tilth. Two wasps in the childAttempt to catch sun on a rail of the bridge.
The old local doctor has passedAt almost a full decade past ninety.He never seemed depressed.Seventy now, if barely,
I consider the field again:Someone will drag these rocks awayBut they’ll be back. The air smells like rain,Which is fine, the summer’s been much too dry.
Nothing is left of the barnBut some rusty steel straps in some nasty red osier.The stone fence still looks sound,But even there the knotweed steps over.
Hadn’t I pledged an elegyTo the old ones who worked here? You couldn’t claimThey thrived, exactly, but maybeThey likewise scented good wind full of rain,
Lifted eyes above this old orchardTo the cloud-darkened hills and found their supportSomehow, somewhere. No matter,They kept going until they could go no more.
The trees’ puckered apples have gatheredA flock of birds, and as they alight,They’re full of unseasonable chatter,As if to say that all will be right.
The old ones I promised a poemMust have said it too. It’ll be all right.I never knew them. They’re gone.I say it out loud, It’ll be all right.
—Caledonia County, Vermont
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