Thursday, July 12, 2012

Life and death in Nature

I had two distinct encounters with Nature in the past couple of days that seemed completely incongruous on one level and yet completely harmonious on another.  Yesterday morning, since I couldn't sleep, I decided to just get up and let Professor out for his morning wee.  I always check before letting him out because squirrels, dogs, people walking a block away and that rat-bastard chipmunk from next door send him into hysterics. 

It's a good thing I looked first because the above mentioned rat bastard chipmunk was playing in the recycling bin, which was lying on its side after having been emptied by the sanitation engineers.  I decided to watch him for a bit first to see if he would leave so I could let Professor out.  But he had other plans, which included stalking a robin that was hopping on the sidewalk next to him.  The robin turned and chased him back to the bin and the cycle repeated itself several times.  They played together for about 5 minutes after which time I had to chase them both off because Professor was crossing his legs and his eyes were watering from needing a wee.

I love watching interspecies play but avoiding a puddle in my kitchen takes precedence.

On the other hand, today I let Professor out back and he went right for the water bowl I had set out for the critters during this drought.  When he got to the bowl, he jumped straight up and back and then edged toward it again.  Thinking something had come out of the tall weeds, I took off outside because it occurred to me in this heat and drought, snakes could be about.  But it wasn't a snake.  Instead a mole had apparently crawled into the bowl to get water, fallen in and drowned.  I thought about how desperate he must have been to have made the effort.

Realizing my mistake at putting too deep a container out there, I added a more shallow bowl and put another big one out as well.  The one that had the dead mole in it went into the recycling bag.  No amount of washing will make me ever use that bowl again for anything.

I don't normally get sad when a mole dies and my cat and dog both have been known to kill them in the yard, but a quick kill doesn't bother me as much as thinking of that creature struggling for survival only to fail.  I am learning to accept that death is just a part of life but I still have a ways to go.

Incidentally, Professor managed to kill one of the rat bastard chipmunks in the back yard last week.  I didn't shed a single tear because Professor kills quickly and cleanly.  Hannibal, on the other hand, plays with them until they die of old age.

I don't normally fill the bird feeder in the summer, encouraging the birds to find their own supplies, but in this drought I thought I would fill one of the feeders.  It was empty this morning so I filled it again.  They're not devouring it but enough of them are using it, I need to fill it every third day or so.  I have water in the bird bath but it's a ways from the feeder so I don't think any of them are using it.  Besides, there is a pond a block away that is probably more suited to their needs.  And the marsh is about 5 blocks away.

There is a rabbit nest behind the mattress frames that I intend to use as trellises for my morning glories once I get them planted.  If I ever do.  Professor can't get to it which I'm glad about.  One summer he got into a next and killed all the babies in a few minutes' time.  And left the mess for me to clean up.  I couldn't be mad at him because it's his nature to do that.  Doesn't mean I have to make it easy for him. and death.  I'm learning.

1 comment:

  1. Rather than add this to the post, I'm putting it here in case someone has already read the above.

    One of the Decorah Eagles from this year's hatching was found dead at the bottom of a power pole from which it had been electrocuted. The power company was notified and immediately fixed the shielding on the pole. It was just a fledgling. Life...and death. sigh