Home Opinion Mine Creek Revelations: Nature Ain’t Purty

Mine Creek Revelations: Nature Ain’t Purty


YES, I AM STILL HERE looking out my window on Main Street, and I am mildly concerned about a news article which says there is some kind of mystery malady striking some species of pine trees in Arkansas.

One group thinks it is due to very wet periods followed very hot and dry periods, followed by very wet periods, etc. In other words, typical Arkansas weather.

One thing the pine specialists agree on is that when a tree is weakened all sorts of bad bugs and diseases are attracted to the tree and by then it is pretty well a goner.

If the spread of the mystery disease gets any bigger it will REALLY be concerning because we are nothing if not piney bottoms and piney hills and pine plantations. We’ve wiped out hardwoods and have taught the squirrels to gnaw on pinecones.

I don’t know what has happened since my trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota, but there was a mysterious disease there wiping out the Black of the Black Hills. Bare spots on the hills were terrifying.

A few years ago I was in a Mexican oceanside resort, and our tour host said that some mysterious malady was striking down the port’s famed palm trees. We’ve got to take better care of our Earth.

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ANIMAL CRACKERS. Nature ain’t purty. On my fine, fine Memorial Day walk in the neighborhood before just about anyone else was up I saw something that stopped me dead in my tracks.

Ahead of me by about 1/3rd of a block on N. 14th St. I saw some vague movement and some white stuff floating around the movement.

The movement made no noise — that my impaired ears could detect. The movement continued as I got closer, maybe 10 yards away (convert that to meters, smartypants).

The day was already light. After I closed the distance I was easily able to discern that I was seeing a hawk perched atop what looked to be a dove. The floating white stuff apparently was dove feathers plucked by the hawk from the unfortunate dove.

Mr. or Ms. Hawk just stared me down. “I dare you to interrupt my breakfast,” it seemed to say.

I gave the birds as much space as I could, and I passed them by. Stayed as far away as I could.

I was curious, and so I just stopped to watch for a few minutes. The dove never stopped struggling. Finally, the hawk took off — clutching its breakfast — into a nearby vacant lot where it resumed plucking the feathers from the poor dove.

Perhaps this hawk was the descendant of one I encountered in the neighborhood at least a decade ago. This event involved a lot of noise from a cardinal which I saw knocked down in mid-flight by a hawk.

I decided to intervene and perhaps save the cardinal, so I waddled toward them as swiftly as I could.

The redbird increased its frantic cheeping. “Hurry, hurry,” it seemed to say. But the hawk had had enough of my interference, and it flew off to enjoy its lunch in peace.

As I said, nature ain’t purty.

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A CLEAN TOWN. I have been noticing some early morning city crews picking up litter on Main Street. Looks good, thank you.

And recently saw some guys in orange jail coveralls picking up litter on rural roadsides. Looks good, thank you.

It would really be nice if debris wasn’t thrown from vehicles in the first place.

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ANOTHER REASON NOT TO FLY. Air New Zealand is going to weigh passengers before boarding the aircraft.

They promise — PROMISE — it’s not to embarass you about your weight, but to help load and balance the aircraft. And they promise — PROMISE — the information will be kept confidential. Chinese scammers and hackers will not be able to get the info and blackmail you.

Maybe Air New Zealand will subcontract the weighing-in process to Weight Watchers. After all, WW has got lots of experience dealing with people who lie about their weight even though they know they will be weighed in just a few minutes in front of all of the other lying Weight Watchers and Weight Watchees.

I shamefully admit that I am a Weight Watchers dropout. Multiple times. I know the whole routine — remove keys, phone and billfold from pockets; take off your shoes. Remove your belt if you dare (I had an embarassing accident once doing this in order to shave two ounces from the unreliable total on those lying digital scales). But that’s another story and I’m sure you wouldn’t be interested.

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THINGS I LEARNED by opening another email: The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow.

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WORD GAMES. Officers and Men. A distinction between commissioned and enlisted soldiers, sailors and airmen. I was an enlisted sailor.

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HE SAID: “We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Anglican theologian

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SHE SAID: “The worst thing that can happen in a democracy — as well as in an individual’s life — is to become cynical about the future and lose hope.” Hilary Clinton, First Lady, senator, Secretary of State

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