Back in Red Fork

I got back from my mom and dad’s about an hour ago. The stars were gorgeous on the way home. It had been cloudy all morning, and then as I was leaving Southern Illinois this afternoon, the sun broke through the clouds, and I had a pretty drive home (although I spent a lot of time squinting and trying to leave extra space between my car and the one in front of me as I drove into a Missouri sunset between St. James and Rolla).

By the time I got to St. Robert, it was pretty well dark, and somewhere between Vinita and Tulsa, I glanced up and noticed Orion above me. It made me think of a song we used to sing in sixth grade that went: “Orion is a-rising; you can see his stars a-blazing/In the middle of a clear-eyed country sky.” It was a good song. It was about the environment. We used to sing that and Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” all the time … which is probably another reason I grew up to be a hippie. 🙂

(NOTE: If you surfed in here while searching for “Orion,” please click here to find a recording of the song.)

Somewhere west of St. Louis, I saw a seagull — my second on this trip. I think it had been fishing in a retention pond on the north side of I-44. It came gliding across the highway.

Speaking of seagulls, I saw something interesting a few weeks ago while I was interviewing a guy for an article I was writing. I was talking to the guy who runs the big sewer plant here in Tulsa, and he was showing me the different parts of the system and how they all work. One piece of equipment is a sort of giant paddle submerged in a huge vat of blackwater. The paddle turns, very slowly, to help separate the sediment from the water, or something like that. I don’t remember exactly how it works, but it’s very popular with seagulls. There had to be 50 of them perching on the top of the paddle, riding it around in circles, and scavenging stuff to eat out of the water.

The guy said the gulls mostly eat bits of grease that get in there from people’s dishwater and bits of food floating around from garbage disposals. I always felt vaguely guilty when I used the garbage disposal, like I was depriving my compost pile. But I like seagulls, so if I feed them instead of the compost pile now and then, I think that’s OK. Especially right now, while I am waiting to have a fence installed to keep the dogs out of the garden and the compost pile. They seem to think the compost pile is their personal buffet, and no amount of yelling will convince them otherwise.

I didn’t find much going on in the yard tonight, aside from a dandelion growing next to the house. (No blossoms yet — just leaves.) I expect our honeybees will be out tomorrow. Ron says it is supposed to be 70 degrees. It was warm enough tonight that I didn’t need a coat to go out and putter around the yard.

Hope you’re warm wherever you are.