View from Lykins Gulch

Silence of the Elms

Our power-mad HOA slaughtered several trees this week. I was home to hear the last of them fall to the fearsome teeth of the chainsaw.

I heard the roar of the chipper shredding life itself into mulch.

Now all is quiet.

Homo sapiens in nature

Nature doesn’t exist
apart from us, Rabbit Mountain mule deerand we do not live
apart from nature.
It surrounds us, permeates us.
We are in it, and of it.

We are no less a part of nature than
chattering wrens and howling wolves,
flitting butterflies and buzzing bees,
mountain forests and lakes and raging
rivers and meadows alive with wildflowers.

Squirrels outside a window,
birds at the neighbor’s feeder,
mule deer grazing on a hillside
take what they need to live
while we claim to be wise.

Imagine there are mountains

Imagine a bull moose, shy and alone, just out of sight to the left, the east. There is no fog to the south, just pine-covered rock piles, gap-toothed hills blocking your view in the near distance beyond the meadows. More distant, through the gaps and barely visible, untold miles away in the sunshine, there are mountains.

Near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. August 2017

Paint the sunrise

Wake up and look out the window.

Orange leaves flutter on the branches of a doomed ash tree in the foreground.

Rising sun casts the same autumn color on clouds that float far off and high in the western sky. The foothills and distant, jagged peaks are golden wheat from the plains.

If only one could paint that sunrise.



I shot the piper

Out for a sunny Sunday morning bicycle ride, in search of good coffee and wildlife, I heard the reedy chant of the elusive Boulder County piper as I rolled into the little town of Lyons. I stopped at the corner, looked to my right, my left, ahead and behind, but could not find the source before it fell silent.

Thinking to press on to the Stone Cup and hoping to spot the wily creature on the way back home, I clicked into a pedal and pushed off only to stop again as the mournful drone and melody came right back to life.

Up. I looked up, and there it was.

God help me, I shot it. I bagged my first piper.

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On plumbing, omnivores and procrastination

It’s time to install the new garbage disposal* yet¬†here I am.

Its predecessor disposed of itself Monday night in a rattling, grinding paroxysm of destruction, brutally digesting its own entrails and leaking greasy drippings over the assorted spray cans and bottles of caustic chemicals that live in the dark just below the sink.

We put the old thing out of our misery and pulled the plug.

On the way home after a long day today, I picked up a¬†replacement and some plumber’s putty. Since it was Tuesday, I hauled the trash and recycling to the curb. Since it was well past dinner time, too, I grilled ham and cheese between slices of sourdough and sat down with a cold beer.

The laptop was sitting right there, with my free digital trial of High Country News reminding me of an impending threat to the omnivorous Ursus arctos horribilis, my second-favorite mammal.

Not three feet away on the countertop sat the new fixture, a 1/3-HP chicken-bone pulverizer looking harmless for the moment but cleverly named for another voracious omnivore, Taxidea taxus.

wisconsin-badgers-stencilAh, Bucky, I thought. How many times have you chewed up, swallowed and crapped out Hawkeye fantasies of glory, you bastard?

Awesome marching band, though.

Funny how one thing leads on to something else and the next thing you know it is too late to deal with a simple plumbing task.

That’s why we have tomorrow.

Why is it not a garbage disposer? Are we the disposers who feed the disposal?