Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Ramble with Storm: Death on the top path

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

storm3x Mulling things on my morning ramble

with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.

Graying slop under a gray sky greeted us as we came down the front steps.

A perfect day to consider the dead animals on the upper path above the town pond the past couple weeks.

Greeted may be a cruel word.

In my world, forget April as the cruelest month, the cruelest times are these winter thaws or half thaws.

Every imperfection in the accumulated snow is accented with each hour of melt down.

I had not expected this kind of melting until tomorrow. But here it is already.

This kind of weather wears on me, even though the warmth makes for a more comfortable ramble.

A perfect morning to consider death.

Natural death.

A couple weeks ago on back to back days, I noticed dove feathers scattered below the same tree on the converted rail trail above the town pond.

My first thought was an owl or hawk.

Or feral cat or free-ranging house cat, those most destructive intrusions on the natural world.

Then when the snow really piled up the week before Christmas the three dozen doves that had been hanging near the town pond disappeared.

So that mystery remained unsolved. Though maybe not unsolved for long. With the meltdown, the doves were back on the wires this morning. Like magic, there they were.

But there are other dead mysteries to consider.

Earlier this week, a dried muskrat husk appeared in the middle of the path. I kicked it into the brush so the meathead would not gnaw on it.

The next morning, there it was again. In the middle of the path, just a dried husk of a dead muskrat.

I kicked it off again.

Then yesterday, it was dragged off to the edge of one set of train tracks.

Apparently something or somebody got really hungry. Today it was eviscerated, guts spilling out. That kind of surprised me. I thought it was too dry to have anything worth eating, a sort of jerky of death.

There was a surprising amount of slop on top of the town pond. Which surprised me, too. Tomorrow morning, I expected to see slop. Not already this morning.

I wasn't as surprised to find the remains of a fresh killed rabbit scattered around the upper path this morning. That happens fairly regularly.

It is a thick enough area that rabbits survive and breed there well. And predators know that even better than I do.

My thought is an owl fed overnight.

I don't know for sure.

But I do know how to pull out of the spiral of a death discussion.

Find the Captain & Tennille doing "Muskrat Love" on YouTube.

Or course, I did.

I prefer the inane to extended death considerations.


No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://blogs.suntimes.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/38074

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on December 30, 2010 9:54 AM.

Ramble with Storm: December of hoarfrost was the previous entry in this blog.

WWW Chicago outdoors: Polar bears, winter paddling & other strangeness is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.