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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March Bullies its Way Out…

Tualco V. March

On this penultimate day of March the Valley has reverted to February. No tiptoeing out for 3/10, that’s for sure. It’s back to the wool cap and gloves. Two feet of snow predicted for the mountain passes; frost forecast for the Valley tonight. The gloves are a blessing for two reasons: warmth, for one, and in this flood-prone Valley, flood control. My nose flows freely in the cold, breezy air and I wipe my right  glove across it often. I feel like Michael J. Pollard, the runty little airplane mechanic in the film The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming, who appears to have a case of congenital sniffles.

Tony Broer must have read yesterday’s post. Today he has lifted the center bay door, exposing the nose of  the RV he wishes to sell. He has taped a “For Sale” sign to the hood, a slight improvement in salesmanship but not all that effective. Tony, you need to wheel ‘er out in the driveway for display. Passersby will note the sign but then will be long past the prize.Sneak peekOn the walk home, a bit of irony on this atavistic day: I see my first Turkey buzzard (Cathartes aura) of the year, another sign of spring in the Valley.  Spring’s harbinger to me is the violet-green swallow; however, in Hinckley, Ohio, the spring omen is the Turkey buzzard. I’m not sure what this event implies about Ohio. Draw your own conclusions, but spring is officially ushered in by the buzzards’ appearance in Hinckley. The buzzard is a carcass feeder. Its bald head and neck are evolution’s prophylatic protection against disease, for a feathered neck and head would be a haven for bacteria for a bird who buries its head into the decomp of a carcass. (Note: Katharsis, to cleanse or purge, in Greek is the Genus designation for the buzzard. ) Disregard the vulture as a “filthy bird.” It is one of Mother Nature’s recyclers, turning death into life once again, purging or cleansing the earth of dead flesh. Cathartes aura is a marvel to watch in flight. I dare you to observe a single wing beat: the bird is the king of air currents, its feathered wingtips seek the Valley updrafts, and ever upwards the bird soars, effortless and graceful. I must admit, though, when a buzzard’s shadow passes over, you  shudder and step up your pace.

Years ago a little child disappeared from a Werkhoven family reunion. For two or three days sheriffs’ helicopters flew low over the river, searching for the little girl. Gladys and I were out in the Valley the next day. I noticed a half dozen grounded buzzards in Deck’s field behind their dairy complex, intent on something. Dark thoughts crossed my mind, “filthy thoughts,” thoughts I didn’t want to think. They turned out to be unfounded; the river claimed the little girl and the buzzards were denied. Another sad Valley chapter concluded.

Further up the road I find a four-leaf clover bonanza and come away with a half dozen—24—leaves worth of luck, so much Valley bounty I have to share it. I stop at Beebes’ corner greenhouse. Denise, cup of coffee in hand, and Deb Kyle are happy to see me. Deb Kyle, Gardener One nice four-leafer I give to Deb, who hurries to press it. Another I leave for you. Can you find it?One more is four

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  1. You honor me!

    Does the fact that the clover was pressed in my checkbook have any significance, as opposed to, say, a book of poetry? Alas, I had just removed a poetry anthology a few days ago! Perhaps, I'll take that clover now and find a more suitable location...