Both Sides Now*

One of my favorite things about getting old (besides not dropping dead) is that I get to experience the things that I bitched about as a younger man.  For example, I went to Amarillo today to get some parts to repair our toilet and on the way back I decided, suddenly, to drive down a road that branches off of the highway to my home.  I have driven by this intersection countless times in the nearly 30 years I have lived in Fritch and have never deviated from the homeward route.  My brilliant mind instantly formulated an excuse in case anyone wanted to know why I was driving down this “Farm-to-Market,” as we call them around here-I wanted to drive by the playa lake north of Panhandle (a town in the Texas panhandle) to see if the Sandhill Cranes and White-faced Ibis were still there.  But the real reason was that I just couldn’t tolerate this unexplored road any longer.

I drove down the narrow 2-lane road at a sight-seer’s pace and soon became quite annoyed at the number of people zooming past me, honking their horns and saluting me with bizarre gestures involving single, raised digits of one hand.  I guess they travel this road regularly and the sights were old hat to them, but I was quite impressed by the scores of windmills (the new super-sized, gleaming, white, Don Quixote crushing behemoths that have sprung up everywhere around here in the last decade,) and the  Cat’s Cradle of  power lines that support them.  There were several occasions that I wanted to stop and take photos of birds or fields or (and I think I’ll return to this) of an old, pumping-water from-the-Ogallala-300-ft-below-the-prairie windmill in the middle of a dozen of the new electricity producing giants, but the traffic was so fast and the road was so narrow that I didn’t think it was safe.  I’ll try to find a time when the traffic is light and the light is right so I can get the photo.

A few years ago I would have been the one cursing the goofy old bastard in the orange Dodge driving 35 mph down the road looking at everything except the highway, blocking traffic and doesn’t he have anything better to do than drive around rubber-necking, the sorry SOB!

No, I don’t, not today, anyway.  Slow down, for chrissake.  Look around-how can you not be amazed at spacious skies, at fields of amber wheat ready for harvest and newly planted corn fields that are also sprouting colossal, three-armed giants, slowly turning in the the wind they call Mariah?**

And birds.  Enough of the silly similes and merry metaphors***, awful alliterations and arcane allusions that rely on fake footnotes to be understood–on to the birds.

Here is a Red-winged Blackbird that was very offended by my presence.  He kept flying back and forth across a small pond at Spring Canyon, displaying and singing



This Northern Mockingbird northern-mockingbird-30-1280x926and this Blue Grosbeak blue-grosbeak-36-1280x864were not impressed by his tantrum at all.

BTW, the Sandhills were still at the playa lake north of Panhandle, but the Ibises were gone.sandhill-crane-23-1280x867


*Wow, I referenced a Joni Mitchell song.  How sad.

**Even worse, I referenced a stupid song sung by Lee Marvin (Lee Marvin sang!?) in a musical he made with Clint Eastwood (Clint sang “I Talk to the Trees.”  It was horrible) about a menage a trois during the California gold rush called “Paint Your Wagon”.  A musical, you say? California, you say?  Well, there ya go.

*** Remember tyhe Silly Symphonies and Merry Melodies animated shorts that showed before the movie when you went to the theater?

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