Saturday, September 1, 2012

On August 31, 2012, I saw a mouse scatter into ground cover along the Lake Muskegon bike trail. On the day of the mouse and a blue moon, think about enjoy the 19 remaining days of summer as a rare occurrence.


I saw a mouse taken by the talons of a red tail hawk earlier this
season. The hawk had awaited in a tree top for my car to drive by,
making road noise that the field mouse had been grown tired of
hearing. He sailed downward on his extended wings and nabbed the
mouse, catching the furry body on his second try. The red tail had to
fall left a few inches to make the second grab in the corn stubble. It
was like watching a good short stop bobble and then secure a line
drive. That action unfolded before my eyes in the spring, when the
season was fresh and trees were unfolding leaves from buds.

At least, that's the way it plays out in my mind as I review the
story. I have often, unintentionally, invented story elements. I had
invented a tree on the edge of Glenside, south of Sherman, that had
plenty of dead limbs which would rot into holes where wood ducks could
live. I see now that tree has no dead limbs at all. My mind played a
trick on me so I could write my image. I can admit this as an example
where I go back to see again, trying to improve my vision. I should
just put an HD Pro on a helmet. That will make me wear a helmet as I

I was riding on the Lake Muskegon bike trail and a pair of young boys
just stopped in front of me. I hit my brakes and, riding on a new
bike, toppled off my frame. I rolled on my back but I did not hit my
head. A woman in a helmet and a racing jersey and lycra pants stopped
to inquire after my condition. She might have been fifty, sixty or
even seventy and she had the figure of twenty-year old model. Sorry if
that's the way I remember her. I could have just said that she was
exceptionally fit. She had taken a tumble with a helmet on her head,
and she had hit her head. Diagnostic imaging at Mercy Hospital
revealed the slightest leak of blood on her brain. Apparently, it
didn't require surgery. She told me she doesn't ride with anyone who
doesn't ride wearing a helmet, and her cycling entourage includes two
young men just entering college. I've been warned.

Every cycling season, a number of tragic crashes take good men away
from us, men who lately haven't been wearing helmets. In a miracle, a
man who rides with the Moose Lodge in Fremont, Michigan has returned
from a month long coma. He has expressed frustration as he searches
his mind for his faculties. But he's back among the conscious. I heard
this story outside a poker room in Muskegon, Michigan. The cyclist's
mother had been furious. She had learned that he only wore his helmet
when he rode over to see her. Many of the people from the poker room
had plans to see a drag show at Moz's, Muskegon's home of gender free
sexuality. The drag show was organized to raise funds to assist with
his medical bills by his boss, who has lived with a partner for twelve
happy years.

Lately, I have progressed in my summer bestiary by telling about
animals I have heard or animals related to me in story. I was
desperately scanning the lakeshore trail of south Lake Muskegon and
was relieved when a mouse ducked into the weedy margin. Nature is rich
on the West Michigan shore of Lake Michigan. However, I am often faced
with a day when I don't see a new animal. In the past week, I had to
make due with three taxidermy bears. I had even searched the lily pads
of a shallow marl bottomed lake, walking along a shoreline promenade.
I saw the rock nests of blue gills, but since I hadn't spotted visible
fish at all, I didn't declare a day of the blue gill. I might order it
off the menu tomorrow, but blue gill has as high a price as yellow
belly perch!

I have used the picture of the day old mice for illustration because I
took apart a nest once and showed it to my mother, who explained that
they were baby mice. I had probably doomed the infants by tainting
them with my human smell. We are talking 1969 to 1972, when I was
lower to the ground and could see these kinds of objects in the weeds.
I have noticed these pink infants used as ice fishing bait before, but
not recently and never in bait shops.

Photo credit to John Bessa, who was probably was studying empathy as a
neurological phenomena

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