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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: It's a Winter day in the Country

© Another Day in the Country

The birds are hungry this morning after a cold and snowy night. Their constant search for food seems so daunting to me, the one with a cupboard full of supplies. What if all my waking hours were consumed with thoughts of food? What if all my energy was used up planning for survival? For sure, I wouldn’t be writing a column.

Having run out of commercial birdseed, I shared the chicken’s scratch grain in the bird feeder. While “get sunflower seeds” is on my To Do List, the weather kept me sealed in the house this past weekend. Whenever we venture forth to Salina we call it “hunting and gathering.” There was no gathering in of supplies this time. We just snuggled into the warm house and stayed put.

Because the birds cleaned out the feeder yesterday, I took them what I had this morning: crumpled up corn chips, left over from super bowl fare, and oatmeal. My little chicks always loved oatmeal, so why not the birds?

Even though the pond is frozen over again, the stream is still running ragged through the ice chunks forming in its path. All the birds in my neighborhood are grateful to find running water and not just frozen snow on this cold winter morning. The starlings come in flocks, settling in with fluttering wings, drinking their fill and swooping off to dance again in the sky. I wish I had a milo field, full of left over seed, to offer them.

There’s a heating pad, turned to “low” on the lounge chair in the sun porch and the cats snuggle down against the warmth. There’s a heat lamp over the water in the chicken house so their water doesn’t freeze and they scratch and peck nearby enjoying a warmth and a measure of comfort they don’t understand. When they are cooped up inside, their days are long and uneventful. Somewhat like mine; but they don’t have TV or books to occupy their time. They just scratch around. It’s their instinct to keep busy. Mine, too.

I’m not a football fan, don’t understand the fascination for the game, and had no plans to watch it this weekend. Friends in Idaho texted me on my still relatively new smart phone, told me about all the goodies they had lined up on the coffee table for just the two of them to eat as they watched the big game and jokingly invited me “come on over” — so long as I cheered for the Seahawks.

After an afternoon of playing games with local friends, my sister said, “I’m curious — let’s check the football scores, just for the fun of it.” As it turned out, we tuned in just a couple of minutes before halftime, which was a pretty exciting point in the game and we were hooked, even though we usually never give the games a nod.

Being such a novice, I couldn’t help being jarred by the violence of the game. So much piling on, brute force, and fierce emotions. At one point there was a free-for-all. And here we all sat, even me, watching. Human nature has always been this way, evidently. Even though I’ve cringed, reading history books about gladiators and humans pitted against wild animals in the arenas of Rome, we evidently aren’t all that different. We seem to revel in conflict and fierce, even cruel, competition. We find it entertaining. I’m not sure I understand, and still I watched.

It’s another day in the country, and the guys at the health club will have plenty to talk about. I’ve come to the end of my column, so I asked my miraculous computer to check my spelling. These machines are such a wonder! We were on the same page, so to speak, having spelled things correctly until it came to the word “texted,” several paragraphs back. Even though this old computer doesn’t actually talk to me, by what it brings up on the screen, the conversation is implied.

“What is this word texted?” it said. “I’m sure you must have meant some other word. May I suggest: tested, tented, taxed, or tasted?” I had to laugh. This Mac is old and somewhat outdated — just like me. It’s programming so obsolete, it doesn’t even know what it is to “text.” No wonder I love it so much!

Last modified Feb. 4, 2015

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