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Ramble with Storm: James Dickey, woodpeckers & Dueling Banjos

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Mulling things on my morning ramble with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.


A pair of woodpeckers hammered trees as we crossed over the side rail toward the town pond. I swear it sounded like they were doing a call and response, an avian version of ``Dueling Banjos.''

One woodpecker was in the brush and small trees by the side rail above the south old clay pit; the other was by the ditch on the east side of the town pond.

The connection to ``Dueling Banjos'' reminded me of James Dickey, who wrote Deliverance. His novel ended up being made into a great movie, in which Burt Reynolds turned in a stunning performance from a guy more noted for his frivolous roles.

But Dickey was even better as a poet, especially for those of us who think words and the outdoors are linked together in profound ways.

Here's a taste of his phrasing from For the Last Wolverine, which captures his poetry writing at its best:


Surrounding himself with the silence

Of whitening snarls


More spring than anything white this morning.

As usual, the town was surround sound of cooing mourning doves and the racket of robins.

It had been too long since I did an extended ramble with the meathead, so it was time.

Because it was so long, I forgot just how loud the racket of the red-winged blackbirds trilling along the north pit really was. Good Lord.

Canada geese honked on the lake to the west. Seven unknown ducks swam on the north end of the north pit. I really should bring binoculars.

A great blue heron flapped off the south end of the south pit. A goose was on the nest on the island there. Two lone geese floated on the south pit near one wood duck.

Storm took advantage of the spring feel and had himself a wade a couple times.

Back in town, I remembered to skirt the polling place on voting day.

Near the turn toward home, Storm chased an unobservant gray squirrel up and around a neighbor's red maples. He was close enough to nearly nip the tail.

Voting day seems like a good time to remember Dickey.


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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on April 9, 2013 8:26 AM.

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