Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Autumn Leaves

A noisy gust of wind passed through the neighborhood a few minutes ago, reminding me that autumn is here and getting serious about it. The leaves are beautiful, but they are falling fast, which is what I understand they tend to do at this time of year.
A couple of nights ago, I watched the ducks swimming in circles on the river. When they do that, a change in the weather is imminent, according to those Old Farmer's Almanac prognosticators.
Here, at least, many of the ducks and geese who graze on the grass in the park nearby are in no hurry to fly south, because they have it good here. And whatever else happens around Halloween (The season actually started Oct. 5 this year.), geese seem to know that this is not a good time to be flying very close to shotgun range.
Other critters are targets at this time of the year, too, including deer and elk, bighorn sheep, bears and wolves. So it's a good time to stay indoors and drink eggnog.
One auto dealership in the Boise area is promoting a "Buy a truck, get a gun" sales offer. The purchase of a pickup or larger truck from this dealer entitles the buyer to a new rifle, shotgun or, as the ad puts it, "Whatever else you can dream up." The radio spot also seems to tie this together with the notion that buying a truck and getting a gun have something to do with "our American heritage." I know the right to bear arms (meaning have guns) is guaranteed in the Constitution for members of a militia, and that has been accepted by the Supreme Court to mean "anybody." But I am not sure that the right to own a pickup truck is similarly assured.
Speaking of geese (nice segue), I notice that the more or less permanent-resident geese in the park like exercise. I say this because they arrive early for grass-grazing around the lake, flying in over my apartment, then touch down on the river, swim to shore, then struggle up the embankment and waddle across the grass and the Green Belt and street pavement to get to their favorite meal venue. Since there is a big lake right there, I wonder why they don't simply fly over to the lake, touch down there and start eating much sooner.
So, we may have hit upon two notions about waterfowl at this time of the year. One is that ducks swim in circles because they are forecasting a change in the weather. The other is that gees are silly.