My Onion Pi

If you can figure out the name, you'll know what it's about. Fortunately, I'm literate. I'm also funny on occasion. Just beware of the flying PMS.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

I had the most amazing morning. I had to take the old girl into the dealer to be looked at. (She's not really old,'s a long story) The brakes are doing funny things and the oil needs changing anyway. I usually wait for the car to be finished, and just take something to read with me, but I had come from the gym and forgot to bring something to do. So, I took the shuttle car offered by the service manager, and was driven home by the same guy that shuttled me the last couple of times I had the car in for service. He is a retired chemical engineer from Columbia, and we always manage to have great conversations. This time, as we were leaving the car lot I noticed a bird perched on the wire high above us. I pointed it out to him and he asked me if I knew what it was ( I suspected it was a hawk of some kind, but it looked too small) turns out I was right, he said it was a red-tailed hawk. That got us on the conversation of birds, which is great because I have always harbored a secret desire to become one of those goony, binocular laden, guide book carrying bird watchers. I described some of the birds I have noticed around my house and he knew the names and characteristics of most of them. (I usually get red winged blackbirds, blue jays, morning doves, hummingbirds and geese - that I can easily identify). He asked me if I thought it was strange that a chemical engineer would be interested in nature. I said no, because the chemical world had so much to do with nature and natural elements - even if it just meant maipulating those elements - with good or bad results. The subject kind of segued into the environment as he told me about a trip he had made to inspect an aluminum producing plant that had caused the tops of the nearby trees surrounding it to become burnt by the by-products of the aluminum production. He said as he walked around he thought to himself, something is wrong, something is missing. And then he realized it was the loons. There weren't any. When the tops of the trees broke off and fell into the water, the acid created killed the minnows in the lake. The frogs, who fed off the minnows went next and then the loons and other birds. He said that even though the water was clear - you could see right down to the bottom of the lake - there wasn't a sign of life in it at all. The lake was "dead". He said that from the mid-1980's they had passed legislation that has now helped turn the area around. And some of the life has started to come back into the lake. It's amazing how much damage we can cause. One little tiny break in the chain has such a domino effect. It's easy to think of nature as being hearty, and resiliant, because it is. But it's also a lot more delicate than we realize. Oops, now I'm talking like one of those dreaded "environmentalists"! Anyway, what I find so cool, is everyone has a story if your willing to listen. Everyone has something to say that makes you think or teaches you something - about the world around you, or yourself in some cases. I once read a syndicated columnist from the Orlando Review (? can't recall) write a column stating that anyone who wasn't a person of note (like a lawyer, a journalist, or a university professor) had no business having a blog, and should be ignored. I almost cut out that column to save. She was an idiot. Everyone can teach you something. Buddha's are everywhere - thank God! My favorite bird story he told me, was the one about the "Engineer bird". The male builds a nest by crossing two shafts of a tall plant together and padding the bottom with colorful feathers and objects. Then if a female walks through the nest (that is - she approves) she's his.
The red-tail hawk apparently offers a fresh kill to a female he has his eye on. If she takes it from him, then their a pair. Kind of cool, huh? What a fun morning. I hope the old girl is doing just as well. And I hope the bill (and I don't mean a bird bill) isn't a hair-raiser.

Pensive Ham


At Mon Jan 09, 11:34:00 AM, Blogger Jeff Vachon said...

If the female does not take the fresh kill the male bird says, "she wa a bitch anyway" and moves on.

At Mon Jan 09, 03:38:00 PM, Blogger Hamrose said...

Ha! Yeah, probably...saves his ego that way ;)

At Mon Jan 09, 06:02:00 PM, Blogger kimmyk said...

I've always said that-"everyone has a story to tell" sometimes they're so fascinating-and you'd never know unless ya took the time to listen.

good luck with the car.

At Tue Jan 10, 09:05:00 AM, Blogger Queen Snarfetta said...

Sounds like a hillbilly ritual. You bring the girl a dead squirrel, her dad lets her take it and she's yor'n, good thing she's already your half-sister...


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