Thursday, September 20, 2012

White Lines in the Sky over Woodsong

 As Gerald and I lunched one day this week, we were looking out over the lake and observing two aircraft contrails cutting through the blue sky in opposite directions. This is not uncommon because we seem to be under the path to the Williamson County Airport.

It caused me to reminisce about the first time my sister Rosemary and I saw such a white line across the sky.  I was a college freshman at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Rosemary and her husband Phil were also there working and going to school. Then Phil joined the Air Force and started basic training.  Instead of staying in my dorm that second quarter, I lived with Rosemary in their apartment until she was able to join Phil.

She was greatly saddened being apart from Phil, and she liked visiting his parents on the weekend because they would enjoy talking with her about her absent husband.  Because she had told me about it, I wanted to see their interesting big home, a former small hospital building which had been moved to their farm and was heated by fireplaces. Also I had heard about Mrs. Parks’ good cooking—including making her own chocolate-covered cherries, which I thought was remarkable. So Rosie invited me to go with her.

As we drove from Carbondale to the rural Stonefort-Carrier Mills area for a weekend with the Parks, we suddenly noticed this unusual bright white line crossing the sky.  We watched it for miles and were filled with curiosity and even awe.  Having never seen such a sight before, we thought it looked like an opening in the sky with this white light shining through. 

As we puzzled on what we were seeing, we wondered with great wonder if it could be the end of the world with an opening crack into Heaven.  I can’t remember how we learned the cause of these clouds left behind from the planes’ exhaust and the resulting condensation. I suppose someone in the Parks’ household explained it to us.  Because of this first experience with the trails, I always rather enjoy seeing them.

The next day as Gerald and I again looked across our kitchen table and out the glass doors to the deck and to the blue water of the lake beyond, there were two white herons flying parallel to one another through the blue sky.  Fluffy white clouds made the blue and white color scheme complete.  I frequently see both blue herons and white ones standing on the edge of the water or walking near the shore.  I like this vision even better than the contrails.  Gerald says that he has heard that many try to get rid of the heron because they eat the fish, but to me, their beauty deserves a good fish meal the same as the rest of us.

Tonight beside our lane, there were two deer grazing in neighbor Scott’s harvested field. I hadn’t seen deer for a few weeks; and though they eat our crops, I was sort of missing them.  They certainly were not afraid of me and the car.  They stood perfectly still and stared at me. Then I saw Jake running and barking beside our driveway to chase those predators away.  By then I was past, so I did not see the end of his efforts, but I assume he was successful since he was quickly back to the garage asking for a handout.

With squirrel season in, Gerald and Jake got their first squirrel together. Of course, Gerald had to brag about it to our son Gerry.  As competitive as Gerry is, he was soon lamenting the 1-0 score with Gerald ahead of him and his grandson Aidan and their squirrel dog.

As we drove home from church Sunday, Gerald got a photo on his phone from Gerry with their squirrel dog and a squirrel.  Then Gerry’s text explained the photo.  When they got home from church, their dog on a chain in their backyard was with the squirrel that he had caught!  Gerry soon sent word that he and Aidan had unanimously voted that the score was now tied at 1-1. 


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