Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Seagulls in Suburbia

I have been pondering a minor mystery: Why are there seagulls in the middle of a suburb more than an hour away from the sea? I have seen them gathering at the local ShopRite and in the mall parking lot. They hang out at McDonald’s, scattering when cars pull up to the drive-in window. They sit atop lampposts as they do at the shore and strut near Dunkin’ Donuts right by a busy street. Are they turning into mallgulls? What intrigues them about this non-ocean community? They fly in, their distinctive wing shape signaling their arrival. I admit that I enjoy seeing them. They bring a touch of summer to whatever season it is. But why are they here?

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Poe Moment

I was driving down my street the other day and came upon a bunch of crows smack in the middle between my house and my across-the-street neighbor’s. I have seen lots of different kinds of birds around here but this was the first time I saw crows. It was a Poe moment. They looked at me as I inched forward but took their sweet time getting out of the way. One of them perched on my neighbor’s roof and aww-awwed at me. It was pretty persistent before it flew to a nearby tree and was joined by more crows, all aww-ing in the branches. Then they took off, leaving me to wonder where they came from, where they were headed, and would I ever see them here again. It was an unusual occurence so perhaps nevermore.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Question of Geese

There is a love/hate relationship going on with geese in these parts. We are on a flyway so we get to see a lot of them. One road has a Geese Crossing sign to help drivers be aware of their presence and be careful, while another has a Do Not Feed the Geese sign to encourage people to dissuade them from staying. Geese are beautiful birds with a heft and dignity to them but then they are also rather messy in their bathroom habits. They are incredible to see migrating in their V formation but pretty noisy when they gather on ponds, in parks, and occasionally at a housing development. They are family oriented but not for human families; it is risky to get too close, as they will charge. So do we nurture, ignore, or discourage geese? I guess it depends on how much face-to-face contact with nature a community desires.

Monday, January 4, 2010

More Snow Coming

We had a winter storm two weeks ago. Twenty-three inches of pristine, sparkling snow blanketed everything. Now the weather gurus are predicting more snow. So far we have been lucky and snow only seems to fall on the weekends. Very considerate of Mother Nature. Even so, there is a downside to all this beauty. Snow must be shoveled. It gets piled up in lumpy mounds, cars get blocked in by township snowplows, and eventually it all turns dirty as it slowly melts. Would I prefer not to have any? Not for anything. How would my neighbor’s children make snow angels without it? How else would time stop to be replaced by the briefest feeling of wonder?