(I dedicate this blog to my twiiter-pal, bermudaonion, who has a neighborhood bullfrog they call Jeremiah.

You know the joke they tell un us in Illinois? "It makes you ill and it annoys you." Of course, you'd better be an insider to tell it--Chicagoans at least will give you a good trimmin' for cracking wise about their region. Sometimes, Illinois makes me ill--but not right now. Spring. It's a big green festival on Cinco de Mayo. Nature is bustin' loose.

I've been out there for two days, pulling weeds. Stocking up on my vitamin D and reasserting those ab-crunches. Mostly, it's quiet time for me to ponder things. Any gardener in Illinois knows the secret of the place: our rich black earth longs to become prairie and forest again, and it tries every chance it gets. That prairie, man--it's sneaky. It'll come into your back yard while you sleep and start an insurrection. The prairie can't figure out when we moved in, and it can't figure out how soon we're going to leave. We put all these boxes in its way, and run our metal buffaloes around on the black roads and just mess up the big bluestem and the thistle's day.

My lawn is pocked with hundreds of dandelions. Neighbors stop by to announce that they have lawn services that squirt "natural" and "green" pesticides and herbicides on their yards. I say to the finger-length earthworm I just woke up, "Can you believe that happy crappy?" Natural herbicides? The truth is, the lawn is what's unnatural. Let's face it--Illinois wasn't designed to be covered in green pool table felt. What's natural is those bright yellow dandelions. And here I am, grunting and pulling, removing the festive flowers so my lawn will look like it farted out of a machine. Any child knows that dandelions beat grass, but we adults like ORDER.

Now, I do not live in the woords. I no longer live in my beloved Rockies; I have left the mystical Sonoran desert; I no longer wander among drowsing gators in the Lousiaiana swamps. Yet...and still...we are inundated in nature right here. My trees have a seasonal woodpecker that gives them a serious workout. Sounds like a kid's machine-guy: ratta-ratta-ratta-ratta. We have the world's fattest possum and a quarrelsome Manos Family of coons that maraud at night. Our owl hangs in the tree outside my upstairs bathroom and whoots when I'm peeing--voyeur. The street has a redtail hawk that moves in around May and starts to remove squirrels and rabbits. I thought chipmunks were cool before I had tulip bulbs for them to detsroy.

We live about three miles from 75th St., with its prairie paths and open space--deer. About five miles from us in another direction is the semi-pristine forest owned by the Girl Scouts--deer. A mile from us is a golf course, forest preserve, and railroad right of way--deer. My old neighbors in Boulder would laugh at deer enthusiasm; how many gardens vanished overnight thanks to those damned mulies? When I first moved to Boulder, I was awakened by the sound of prowlers coming in my bedroom window--it was only deer, eating plums off the bush. Deer! Plums! I was up all night scribbling about it. I didn't know the real world was so...real.

According to the tracks, we have foxes and coyotes that sneal through on certain evenings. I keep the cat on my bed at night. All that, and dendelions. But long-time readers of my blog will know that I am most in love with our semi-wild, deeply paranoid, neighborhood turkey. It's weirdly love-lorn: it sits for long moments with its beak touching the front of our Honda, asking it, "Gurk? Gurk? Gurk?" It screams for me to come outsoide, and when I do, it hides behind our van and frets, "Whug? Whuuug?" Sometimes, it sees me coming, runs full sped to me, hits the brakes, and runs away. In good weather, I am always gratified that it shows deep interest in what we're watching on our TV. It pauses at our glass door and peers inside and seems to be insulting our chihuahua.

I write poems about the turkey, though it doesn't care:
hello wild turkey
you wander the neighborhood
talking to yourself

wild turkey in yard
was never deeply impressed
the provost called me

I put the turkey in my new novel! (Into the Beautiful North, out May 19--MAKES A GREAT GIFT, ahem.) When you see a post-card with a deeply paranoid turkey mentioned, that's him!

Ah, blessings, blessings everywhere. It's all writing. All of it. Writing is dandelions, waiting for that puff of air to spread the blossoming. My butt is muddy and my fingers black, my back hurts and my abs are achin'.

And I write.

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]