Life at the Lake

a diary of living at a small lowland lake


Early moonrise over Lake Ketchum

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Male blackbird in a field of cattails


The old brown cattails have been replaced by fresh green shoots, and the blackbirds have been nested among them for, oh, a couple of months now. The females are brown and mottled; the males, however, are jet black, with brilliant red and yellow bands on each shoulder, which produce an orange glow in flight that seems fluorescent, it is so bright.

The baby birds are fledglings. Since their parents have been feeding at our feeders, it only natural that the parents bring the babies to the feeder to eat. Already, though, the babies are able to find it all by themselves, thank you.

The babies all have female coloration; this is true of most species. So male and female juveniles look alike and are growing fast. They are smaller, thinner, than their adult maternal counterparts, however. And they have peculiar, youngish characteristics, such as not knowing what to do with their feathers, and are often found fluffing them up and laying them back down again, meaninglessly. And they tend to contest each other at the feeders. The adults don't seem to do this and feed separately and selectively.

The adults are still protecting the nest and the young. Usually it is the male that does the guard duty, and I remember just a short time ago, when the females were on the nest, and the males would chase away all intruders, even the crows (especially the crows) that were about four times the size of the fierce blackbird.

They still manifest this attitude when I come to my dock in order to fish. But I am larger than a crow and they are unsuccessful in chasing me away.

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I'm in love with the tattooed lady!


I found this, or rather her, somewhere while surfing around on the Web. Not quite a porn site. Imagine having this done to yourself. OK, I'm old, and can't imagine it. But it is happened everywhere in the world today, and we'd better get used to it.

Of course she is quite young and lovely. And look how complex and gothic the tattoo is. I should imagine she picked the picture out of a book and the tattoo artist executed the picture, the design.

I am trying (unsuccessfully, I must add) to imagine her mindset when she set about getting the tattoo, which occupies an entire upper arm, shoulder to elbow bend, and pre-visualizing what it would look like, and what her friends would think and say. And her boy friend. Would it turn him on or off? Like a faucet? Or would he know ahead of time? Or would she even bother to consult him

Boy friends come and go. (No pun intended.) But a tattoo—it remains with you, long after the pain has faded.

A tattoo is eternal. Someday this young woman will be old. Will she have the tattoo still, or will she have had it surgically removed when the novelty has passed, or when gothic is out of style? Or when a boy friend or husband strenuously objects? And then there will be pain again.

Maybe pain is what it is all about.

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