The big breakout

The season is coming on like gangbusters. You can almost hear the grass grow. At night, the fireflies are throwing off sparks as if in protest against the din of peepers. And I had been kind of missing the show–keeping my nose to the grindstone, driving back and forth to work on Rt. 11–and not doing much else. Too busy to walk the river trail, too intent to look up at the sky. Kind of obsessed, really.

Last thing seen by a mouse on the Parmenter Road. Photo: Pat Gaines, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Last thing seen by a mouse on the Parmenter Road. Photo: Pat Gaines, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Then just the other day I took the long way home, tootling along the maze of back roads between Canton and Hannawa Falls, nothing on the radio, air conditioner off and windows rolled down. A few miles out of Canton a great blue heron rose up out of a marshy pond and paced me for a quarter mile just above my windshield. I could almost feel the downdraft of big wing beats. I almost drove off the road to keep him in view.

A couple of miles farther on a dun-colored streak stooped across the road right in front of me and a red-tailed hawk rose from the shoulder with a mouse in its talons.

Then less than a mile from home, a snapping turtle was on the move–judging by size, he could have been as old as I am–trundling over the road in the blind s-curve. Five minutes of idling with the hazard flashers on and he vanished into the blackberry brambles. At that pace, he’ll make the riverbank sometime next week.

Pulling into the drive the car flushed out a rabbit and a chipmunk, and walking up to the door upset the robin couple who thought our right-hand porch light was a great neighborhood in which to bring up children.

Somehow this breakout of fauna has broken me out of my funk, too. What is it about abundance–“the force that through the green fuse drives”–that lifts up the low down and wakes up the half-asleep? Why does what is wild thrill so? You could bottle the stuff for tonic.


4 Comments on “The big breakout”

  1. Chuck Goolden says:

    The “North Country” is a great place to appreciate wild life as well as lots of natural beauty.

  2. Jim Benvenuto says:


    It’s obvious that you’re an observer–It will do your soul good to get out more!


  3. wonderful post of ‘ordinary’ amazements and abundance, dale.

  4. Ellen Butz says:

    Nice. Thank you for reminding me to look around.

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