I walked through those clouds this morning, as I navigated the muddy path. No longer overflowing with water, which had drained off during the night, the path now was a mess of slippery and slimy mud.
I decided if I walked carefully and slowly, while holding onto my ski pole and the Bog Willows that grew on the sides of the path, I wouldn’t fall and get covered in mud.
That was the plan.
I really should have told Uriah the plan.
Halfway into the path and feeling proud I hadn’t kicked up any of the permanent staining mud, I stopped and looked back at Uriah. He stood at the edge of the mud, tongue hanging out and a big smile on his fury face. He wasn’t looking at me; I turned back and saw a grey squirrel nosing around the base of a tree. My eyes swept the ground from the squirrel, past me to Uriah. I took in all that mud.
Then watched, in slow motion as Uriah stood up, and charged at the squirrel, mud kicked up over his head, as he raced past.
What I said could not be printed here.
Uriah didn’t even notice. In his head, he was chasing the big bad squirrel.
On my head sat a clump of mud, with some moss mixed in…
Within the next second he took off into the trees, barking.
I ignored him while I called his name. I walked all the way around the path and he stayed where he was, in the trees barking.
The fog moved through the trees, giving everything a soft feel. Birds yelled at me, or maybe Uriah. Crows, Blackbirds, and Blue Jays flew to the tops of the trees screaming in irritation. Cardinals were on the lower branches, as they followed me around the path. They landed in the trees and bushes just ahead, or off to the side. As I passed they flew on ahead, waiting on the next branch.
I slipped through the mud, and I headed back towards the house.
Uriah stayed in the trees and continued to bark.
Finches and dark-eyed junco, and black-capped chickadees, flittered in-between the trees as I passed by.
I noticed this year’s over produced bird, the Sparrow. At least fifty of them were in the grass around the burn pile; they flew up into the blue spruce, and chattered away. I startled those Sparrows as I passed by, I stopped and watched; they took flight heading over the roof in perfect synchronization, turning to the left, then right as they maneuvered around trees, until they landed in my neighbor’s trees and bushes.
Last year the over abundant bird was the Common Grackle. The year before, Mourning Doves flourished.
It took only a moment for me to wonder, when the birds of prey will notice all those sparrows. Suddenly, a high pitch screech echoed above and around me. The Red-tailed hawk, had already seen them.
Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensi)