Stick shadows in the moonlight

The moon the past few nights has been amazingly bright, like a humongous LED spotlight angling down through the trees, casting stick shadows on the grass and across my desk.

A couple hundred yards away, an owl hoots, perhaps celebrating his having found dinner scurrying among the shadows. Bats, as soon as the night air warms toward summer, will cling to the trees by day, to come among the shadows in the evening and feast on bugs that have been feasting on me. Payback is heck, I’ve heard said.Read more

Spring lives again on the pond

Red-winged blackbirdIt’s spring, and young men’s fancy turns to thoughts of attracting young women’s attention. One may be the best at what he does, but it’s of no consequence if first he doesn’t gain the attention of prospective suitors. Watching the spring show at the lake is all about the boys striving for attention.

I was reminded last weekend of a certain young man of my brood who exhibited much the same activity when spring called boys and girls to doff their furs and leggings in favor of more demonstrative attire. He did have a physique I had never enjoyed, and would daily go to the gym on Main Street to pump iron and build rivers of sweat. Girls, their hormones telling them to pay attention, stood at the plate glass window and admired his effort.Read more

The state will come up with it!

Capital dome reversed to form a funnel.Several years ago, when I was in the daily news game covering a school district near my home, came a discussion of the districts indebtedness and its need for a new elementary school. The district had undertaken a large number of improvements, and was about maxed out on what it could get its taxpayers to cough up.

“Never fear,” the superintendent told his Board of Directors. “According to state law, the new school won’t cost us anything.”

“With our debt load limited out, the state will pay for everything,” he said.Read more

Slipping the leash

Oldtown toll bridgeMy on-the-road navigator really is quite competent – as far as getting me to addresses I might not be able to find on my own. She is very accurate when she estimates my arrival time, even when the trip is several hundred miles.

Sometimes, though, the windshield-mounted GPS we named Sally G just doesn’t have a clue. Thus it was that she took me 30 minutes by the regular highway beyond my intended destination Sunday, landing me in Frostburg, Md., instead of tiny Oldtown.

On the other hand, I would not have driven around a particular curve on Md. 51, past the post office at Spring Gap, population 55 in the 2010 census. I don’t know where those 55 people were hiding, though some of them probably lived in the home beside the post office. The next closest sign of habitation – a Methodist church and a general store – lay some distance south.Read more

“Signs, signs, everywhere a sign…”

Trees – Not TrashSpringtime color is beginning to flow over the range. A Red-bellied Woodpecker just landed atop the swingset. It is a distinctive creature, its back a mosaic of black bands and white triangles. A bright red skullcap extends back to its shoulders. My books report there is some red on its belly, but rarely is it visible.

A few Northern Mockingbirds have dropped by, while overhead Snow and Canada geese head for their nesting grounds. These are welcome signs, dulling the sharp pain of cabin fever.Read more