Saturday, January 30, 2010
The Clean-up Crew
Those of you who've followed my scribbles for any time know that the goat barn is my thinking place...where my mind can go free-wheeling while I milk, and I can ponder the problems of the world and consider life in general. I sort through thoughts suitable for the blog, hold long conversations in which I play all roles, plan the rest of the day, and worry about crises in the lives of others. While the warm milk froths into the bucket, through the open dutch door I watch the weather, the goats outside in the pen, and the birds in the tops of the oaks. There is one tree where the local vultures congregate, warming themselves in the early morning sunlight or resting from their work. These are huge birds with a nearly five-foot wing span and, unlike other species of birds, these are totally silent. Vultures have a rather ominous reputation, and it was alarming to me the first time I walked toward the goat pen and saw a vulture on every single post around the pen, perfectly still and facing the barn. Ohmigosh, I was sure I'd find a dead goat, and these birds were waiting for breakfast to be served! (They were just sunning themselves.) The birds in this photo are on the fence to the front pasture, but it gives an idea of how many gather at a time, and the picture doesn't even show the ones up in the tree or on the fence going down the driveway. The thought occurred to me that the world would be a pretty stinky place in no time at all without this clean-up crew. Birds and varmits have a short life span, and they have no emergency rooms or burial grounds and up here we get a lot of road kill, too. Vultures are found all over the world, taking care of business, and we really owe them a debt of gratitude. And that's the thought for the day.