Back the Way I’d Come


My absence from this space has little to do with much save the nature of the season, which this year has been accompanied by long stretches of sun-filled skies that have caused the streams to run low and quiet and dust to hang in the air behind the car as I drive down the mountain road.

I have been working the woods every day, skidding spruce and fir logs for projects pending and finishing the last cords of firewood. I like this work for pleasures great and small: The mounting pile of saw logs, the neat rows of stacked firewood, the day’s end fatigue, the strange intimacy of kneeling to wrap the choker chain around the butt log, almost an embrace, really. And yesterday, tractoring along an old logging road near the height of our property, a hawk (what kind, I do not know) swooped from the height of a sugar maple and flew low over the ground, then veered and was gone. Soon after, I came across a mother grouse and her chicks; the former on one side of the rutted road, the latter on the other, frantically seeking one another amidst the sudden chaos of the big, rumbling machine.

I shut down the tractor, let them come back together, scolding me all the while, then reversed and retreated slowly back the way I’d come.




11 thoughts on “Back the Way I’d Come”

  1. If only that mother grouse knew the whole truth! (Makes you wonder how different our own perspectives would be if only we too could know the whole truth.) HAPPY FATHER’S DAY BEN 😊

  2. That was a nice thing that you did for the grouse and her chicks. The raptor that you saw might even have been another wild mother looking for food, like grouse chicks, to feed to her own chicks. We have a resident redtail hawk in the neighborhood that helps to keep the field mouse and cottontail rabbit population down. I sincerely wish that it would eat more doves, ’cause we have more mourning and collared doves than we need.

  3. At dusk we go out to feed the horses and immediately one of the dogs takes off to chase a rabbit. The rabbit escapes because we have no climb all the way to the ground (have never figured out how they squeeze through). Just as the rabbit escapes through the fence a Cooper’s hawk comes swooping down. Rabbit escapes into the bushes. Trotting across the open field there’s a San Joaquin Kit fox headed to right where the rabbit went in. The kit fox sits underneath the bush and “barks” at us until we leave.

    1. We have jack rabbits on the high desert ranch in southeastern CO that must be among the toughest pray animals going, as there are predators coming after them from every direction 24 hours a day. Raptor from the sky hunting them during the day, hawks, and during the night, owls. Bobcats, coyotes, foxes, and the occasional poisonous snake hunting 24/7 from the ground. I almost feel sorry for them, then I remember that they serve no useful purpose other than to convert grass into muscle as a food source for predators, that circle of life thing.

      1. I just go ahead with abandon and feel sorry for them. But then I feel sorry for the predator that swoops in or jumps out or chases and comes up empty handed. Gotta have a grumbling in the pit of the stomach.

        Kind of weird thought “serves no useful purpose”. Maybe we could say that of all of us when you back waaaaaay out and look at the tiny little dot hanging in inky blackness of the universe.

  4. Speaking of raptors, I saw 2 hawks attacking a bald eagle today. The eagle had something hanging from its talons, probably a rabbit, and I wonder if the hawks were a male/female breeding pair that had caught the rabbit and were trying to get it back after the much larger bald eagle took it away from them. It is unusual to see a bald eagle far from water, as their primary pray is more likely to be fish or migratory water fowl than rabbits, but this bald eagle was flying across a corn field near 144th Street and Giles Road in suburban Sarpy County.

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