We feed the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and other visiting animals such as foxes and possums and raccoons on occasion. We try to provide special nourishment during snows and blizzards, such as we have been having lately. Our usual birds are the doves, blue jays, various woodpeckers, cardinals, sparrows, finches, grackles, and others. But for the last few days we have had gangs of crows, sometimes numbering in the dozens. They sit in the distant trees and swoop in when the coast is clear. They are beautifully black against the white snow. When Dylan Thomas described night time in his mythical town of Milkwood as “crow-black,” he was using an apt image.
Most mornings I go early to the pool and swim a mile. Where I go this means 36 laps, a lap meaning down to the far end and back. It isn’t a very social activity, and some people consider it boring. But a person whose Myers-Briggs type is INFJ can easily enjoy the solitude. This writing actually began while swimming laps. I had noticed a new sign at the entrance to the locker rooms. It warned of the wet floor.
Despite the Pennsylvania trends, Bedford PA is not a left-leaning area. One clue is the big “Jesus Is Lord” sign (with photograph of Jesus) that preaches to the Pennsylvania Turnpike as it angles through town. People support the NRA here, and disapprove the ACLU. Christian values are promoted in the local paper alongside church suppers, county fairs, and yard sales. Compared to where I live and work in the Washington, D.C. area, this is a safe and peaceful place. The crime report tells of of a bicycle stolen from a garage, or a coin box pilfered at the laundromat.
I knew a man in Tennessee whose real name was John Smith. I point out that this was his real name because otherwise you would think I was disguising it. John lived in Tellico Plains and he’d been taught to trout fish by a forest ranger who was the best in the region. John became an expert himself and one day I went fishing with him because we were friends. I was no expert when it came to trout fishing.