Saturday, March 22, 2008

5 Minutes in the Valley

I'm sitting here at my kitchen table with Fortunato curled up on my lap. He's snoozing so he's missing the big fat bumbling mourning dove sitting on our deck and the neighborhood bald eagle circling over our slice of the river valley. We have another foot of snow out there. I am as sick of winter as anyone, but I have to admit it's breathtakingly beautiful--the snow a stark contrast to the leafless apple tree branches. And now there's a cardinal at the feeder next to some sparrows, the one mourning dove, and some juncos, sticking out like a sore thumb.

I got out for a run a little while ago. Just 4 miles. I ran down my snowy street as it winds along the river. The only irritating thing was the speeding drivers. My street is windy and mildly hilly and not conducive to driving over 30 miles per hour, especially from a pedestrian's vantage point. When I reached the end of our road, about 1.75 miles from my house I turned around and spotted a huge darkly colored hawk sitting in a tree along the river bank. One of the benefits of not training is that I was able to take the time to stop and admire it. It didn't seem to mind my gawking. I could hear nearby song birds squawking, probably about the big bird danger lurking nearby.

As I made my way back home I passed mrp on his way out and I tried to tell him about the hawk, but he just looked at me and said, "what?!" Heh. I forgot there was a headwind going in that direction. No matter. It would probably be gone by the time he gets there anyway.

I decided to add on a half mile loop of a sidestreet on my way back and I was having such a nice time I ran past home and over the single-lane bridge to check out the gas well to see if it was activated. For some reason I always get a kick out of seeing that thing humping. On the way back I watched the spring-time river rush by below me.

Fortunato is now awake and standing next to me and still oblivious to the scene outside. Mrp's here and complaining that despite all his attempts to attract them, there are no bluebirds among the avian throngs. They must be extinct, he says. The mourning dove is gone and the juncos have taken over, having weathered the brief appearance of an aggressive grackle. As much as I hate to admit it, the snow just might bring out the best in this place.

8 comments:

CJ said...

Hi! I hope you don't mind I've been reading your blog...as a runner, not as someone that works down the hall! It's a great blog, and your training and racing is impressive, even though you're scaling back on things now (good luck- I kind of wondered if that might be the case when we were talking last month!). Anyway, I finally started my blog, so feel free to stop by: http://cjrunbike.blogspot.com/

E-Speed said...

Hey I just bought a blue bird house but it sounds like maybe you and mrp could use it more than me (I'm guessing you'll have a better chance of attracting them) so if you want it let me know! It can be a belated wedding gift!

Glad the snow isn't hindering your plans!

Meghan said...

So, I'm sitting here, eating sweet potato stew for dinner, and reading your blog. Then I come across this part of your entry, and I nearly laughed stew onto the computer:

"For some reason I always get a kick out of seeing that thing humping."

Did you really mean to say humping? Do gas wells hump, or pump, or both? Or are your a little focused on this next baby-making stage of your life?

Alright, I'm going back to my dinner. ;)

Meghan

The Salty One said...

Mmm. Sweet potato stew. That sounds so good! But yeah, I call it the humper, so I meant humping. I've called it that since they put it in so it's not evidence of my obsessing, not that I'm not obsessing ;)

E--we have a blue bird house out there, but we can't tell if anything's in there yet. We also have a blue bird feeder and nothing's been in there yet :( Thanks for the offer but I'd feel bad taking another one when we can't get blue birds to use the one we have!

And CJ, of course I don't mind that you read my blog! I'm happy to add yours to my rotation. Thanks!

Mindi said...

OOOH birds. I cannot WAIT until they return to WI. We aren't quite there yet. It is that time when everything starts "waking up" again that makes spring so magical!

GP said...

Ahh, the upsides of winter. Whenever I get down about snow falling again, I pass through some tree-filled streets and sigh. It's cold, it's sludgey, but it looks pretty darn beautiful. Ahh.

But with the serene moment out of the way: don't you wish you could tazer the people who fly by pedestrians 25 mph over the speed limit? I live on a 25 mph street and plenty of people (particularly during rush hour, when I run the most) drive at least 40-50 mph down a narrow, winding street.

Be careful out there. And if you need help learning to palm a car hood, I have a really good technique!

Adeel said...

It sounds like you live in a very beautiful area. I live in a fairly poor area that's next to a river and, therefore, has a great path along the river, some hills and a lot of natural beauty. Otherwise there are just strip malls and housing projects. It's nice what nature can do for the ghetto.

At least Cleveland wasn't mentioned here.

Joseph P. Wood said...

Your post reminds me of one of my favorite stories: Rick Bass's "The Hermit's Story". Beautiful, beautiful story; very much about the beauty and desolation of winter.