The Good, The Bad, and I Am Ugly

April 17, 2016

It was heron and egret moving day. On the River Road trail, I saw countless snowy egrets standing in mud, fishing. Three blue herons were high stepping in Piasa Creek. I could see the carp from the bridge. And a great egret was holed up in a small stream below the bluff cut.

There were mockingbirds everywhere. I stopped at the top of Stroke Hill and dueled with one. My crow was as good as its crow, and my whippoorwill and bobwhite were outstanding. But the bird’s repertoire included bluejays, Carolina wrens and towhees. I was soundly defeated.

I met up with Hummingbird Man. A friend told him that a hummer had been sighted, and he was cleaning a single feeder and filling it. He said he used up fifty pounds of sugar last year. Ten more feeders will go up before May. Vance loves his rubythroated hummingbirds.

Even early morning, mufflerless motorcycles roared in packs up and down the highway. The riders play loud radios—really loud radios that be heard over the din of the engines. What is the point? Why ride along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and not look? And then there are the newer, tricycle-type vehicles that just look old kiddies on the playground.

I stopped at Admire’s Bench, the carved granite furniture by the creek, with the poem written by Carol Admire (who was killed on her bike last year by an impaired car driver), etched into the bench back. And on the ground below the bench was homage to Carol’s passion for ecology: a yellow plastic bag with Dollar General inked on it. Some jackass had sat on that bench and left his or her garbage.

I am against capital punishment (my mother was murdered, remember; I have some experience with this) but I would gladly smother any littering douche bag with his/her own Dollar General plastic garbage.

It was eighty-four degrees by afternoon. The house was slightly cooler. The cat lay asleep in the wingback chair and kneaded her front paws in the air. This is the time of year when we all come from the State of Dreams.

I went outside and flung wildflower seed all over my front yard. There is a lot of seeding going on, judging from all the frenzied male birds singing and dancing and preening for the girls.

And now it is naptime. And now I close my eyes, rehearsing for death, the last thing I saw, the image I will dream: the buttery dogwood flowers and the pink redbuds.

I am quite good-looking, in sleep.









About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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