Monday, November 21, 2016

Turkey time #phenology

It's Thanksgiving week. I'm suffering an immoderate burnout due to recent political events. The temperature is back above freezing, so the ice-covered, frozen gravel road is turning to mud before it refreezes. This, if the weather forecast is to be believed, will continue intermittently, with interruptions provided by additional winter mixes of rain, snow, sleet and/or ice pellets.

wild turkeys in the front yard
wild turkeys in the front yard
Photo by J. Harrington

Meanwhile, the stars continue to sparkle in clear skies like this morning's. The photo above is proof that not all the turkeys can be found in Washington, D.C. or the 50 state capitols, although there are some wild, feathered ones (without any tar) to be found very close to the capitol in St. Paul. A wildlife success story. The other day, I drove past a very large flock of hens on the edge of our township road. During the Winter, turkeys segregate themselves by gender. If the sparse acorn crop on our property is widespread locally, it may be a tough season to get through for these birds. I'll consider digging out, literally, the feeder we used to use for deer, before the pear tree matured, and see if the turkeys want some corn. A potential down side is feeding may concentrate them for the local coyotes. Some days it's harder than others to figure out the right thing to do, especially if you believe in the part of the Hippocratic Corpus about "First, do no harm."

Along those lines, when I consider the outcome of the November 8 elections, I'm constantly returning to the advice my mother and grandmother used to share with me "Be careful what you wish for, you may get it." I'm suspecting that both the electorate and the incoming adminstration will, before long if they haven't already, end up wishing they had listened to that adage.

Thanksgiving 

Amazement fills my heart to-night,
Amaze and awful fears;
I am a ship that sees no light,
But blindly onward steers.
Flung toward heaven’s toppling rage,
Sunk between steep and steep,
A lost and wondrous fight I wage
With the embattled deep.
I neither know nor care at length
Where drives the storm about;
Only I summon all my strength
And swear to ride it out.
Yet give I thanks; despite these wars.
My ship—though blindly blown,
Long lost to sun or moon or stars—
Still stands up alone.
I need no trust in borrowed spars;
My strength is yet my own.

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