Monday, April 27, 2009
I met a deadline today and the next one is on hold until Wednesday, so suddenly, surprisingly, it looks like I might have time to think about a linocut tomorrow. No promises, but fingers are crossed.
This morning's walk was cold and windy, but I never regret getting out. I saw my first Wilson's warbler of the season, I was entertained by the antics of swallows, AND I walked in to the middle of one of those dodgy human-caused wildlife messes.
Story goes like this:
Next to one of the lakes I frequent is a house. In this house is a woman who no doubt has a kind but misguided heart. Years ago someone dumped domestic ducks and geese at this lake. It's possible they would have succumbed to fate had it not been for this woman and others like her who insist on feeding these interlopers. Now, instead, the domestic geese are the most prolific breeders... fat and happy and noisy and aggressive. At this point I don't think any wild waterfowl species breed on this lake anymore, except a few mallards and maybe a pair of Canada geese.
I met this goose-feeding woman one morning. Caught her in the act of tossing corn, actually. She beamed at me and happily prattled on about how much she loves birds. Bird Loving Woman is also, apparently, Cat Indulging Woman. Her cats were skulking around the periphery. "They never bother the birds," she told me, with utter confidence. ("Right," I thought. "They don't bother the geese that are four times their size, but what happens when you're not around?")
It's probably a good thing I haven't seen her since, because by now I have a thing or two I'd like to point out to her, in addition to the excess of Chinese geese on the lake.
Last year, for example, I discovered downy woodpeckers nesting in a tree between this woman's house and the lake. (This is a distance of MAYBE 10 yards.) A few days later I saw her cat with a paw in the hole. I never saw woodpeckers there again.
This morning? Not birds. A fox. And a cat. And a potential for disaster that I did not stick around to see. (Although I'm fixin' to put a bug in the ear of my local wildlife officers.) I was on the trail, just about to come even with the house, when a ruckus came out of the bushes. Fox, pursued by cat.
I am sure that the fox was after food at the house. The cat was having none of it. The cat chased the fox, the fox ran, but then stopped and tried to go back to the house. My appearance slowed the action, but did not stop it. Cat would approach, fox would back off. Cat would stop, fox would try to head back to the house. Both looked at me, but neither was intimidated enough to break off the skirmish.
My sympathies, I admit, were with the fox. Not the fox's fault that the lure of free food would be so strong. It infuriates me to no end that "problem wildlife" have to be killed when the problem is not the animal in the first place. But you KNOW that if something happens to that cat, the fox will take the rap. And what if the "friendliness" of this fox turns to aggression when it's hungry? What if it bites Bird Loving, Cat Indulging, Wildlife Baiting Woman?
Oh, golly. I seem to have gone on a rant about Humans Behaving Badly when my intention was to relate the furtive behavior of a fox snatching treats to my goal of snatching some unexpected time for linos tomorrow.
I'm not taking it back. But I am taking time. Tomorrow. For linos. Really. Even if I have to be sneaky about it.
Maybe I'll do a fox.