Expired owl and graveyard onions

Harry Drabik

Halloween had to pass before I had a “spooky” experience. But not really that; I’d say more ironic and sad than spooky. In any case, when I passed the base of a large spruce the evening before there was nothing. In the morning an owl, on its back dead looked up with not yet glazed eyes. I wasn’t expecting that. Was it an omen, nevermore? Well at least, I avoided a superstitious plunge, a dead own cannot call one’s name as some native legends say owls call names to herald death. “Who,” if Who is your name the owl’s call holds deep trouble for you? I suspect any owl hooting “Harry-Harry” would be dunned out of business by the traditional straight laced owls. I feel I’m safe on that count.

But what does a citizen do with sixteen inches of expired white owl? There are laws or rules. In any case deceased wildlife is God’s (in the case State of Minnesota) property. I think this is so to prevent poaching else all a poacher would need do was say they heard shots, went to investigate, found a dead moose, butchered and took it home to prevent waste. The naysayer being the dead moose made a fairly tight story until repeated and repeated and so on. I ran on this question in the past when someone I knew hit a roadside carcass feasting eagle with his car. His explanation that he assumed it would fly off before he got to it was 100% OK except for not factoring in that an eagle does not do zero to sixty very well. In short eagle was not up to airborne speed before the car arrived to stamp it expired. Not being a poacher of owls and a normally honest citizen I wanted to be properly rid of an expired owl that was not my personal property to dispose of.

In charge of deceased owls was, I supposed, the DNR. Garbage canning it and keeping mum was an option ran through my mind. But what if there was disease or some other factor wildlife people would want to know of? The responsible thing to do seemed put on improvised mortician gloves (in case of disease or owl parasites infecting me) and turn my pickup into a funeral coach for a quick trip to Grand Marais where I might find interest and reception for a croaked critter. Two employees promptly responded to my bell ringing and as speedily looked suspicious of and disinterested in a visitor offering the prize of an “expired owl.” I felt like something in a Harry Potter movie, Dumbledore being old enough but alas expired like my burden owl. They got rid of me to a third party who (no fear of infection) accepted departed wildlife barehanded with the explanation it likely starved to death and was in good enough condition the body could go to a museum or library; as libraries are, I suppose, natural habitat for wise owls no longer with us in naught but spirit and taxidermy.

I left, and gladly judging by the speed of my leaving. Free of one mortuary burden I decided on another as the cemetery was nearby and the time of year right for bringing in the flower box. On periodic trips to tend and water the box I’d not paid particular attention to the central “fronds” with petunias on either side. But between frost nipping and the work of graveyard deer the flowers were thinned to stubble. In the middle was a nest of something looking oddly like a dozen small onions. Being no gardener, I asked. Well, onions they were. “But why,” I was queried, “did you grown onions in a cemetery box.” Simple, I didn’t know I had. The cemetery box is done on auto; flowers on the left, flowers on the right, something frondy in the middle. My best guess is that what I saw as a suitable frond was also cheap, as I put the box together rather late last time. People who know me will not be the least surprised I’d plant onions in a cemetery box and not know I’d done so. And, I didn’t. I knew not a thing until harvest time when there they were. I had a harvest of haunting onions. That may be a first.

One thing I hope is a last is a national election such as this one. I think we truly need do better than future rounds of power mad mud slingers. I think there has been too much yelling and no way near enough listening. Odious as she may find them, Hillary should have done much better than denigrate citizens with opposing views as deplorables. How disrespectful of the two party system to so despise the views of others you cast them into nothing. It’s an oligarch’s dream to behave with imperial dismissal. And Donald should know far, far better than spout off whatever triggers him at the moment like a non-vodka Boris Yeltsin. And gads, you can’t blame Mexico and Mexicans for the hiring practices of American employers. How Hillary believes employment is helped by bringing in more refugees or Donald thinks illegals more the issue than illegal hiring is beyond reason. That migrant workers come to Minnesota to plant trees in the spring is a fact that speaks louder of our situation than either candidate has come near addressing with anything but glib nonsense. Hillary is in love with power; Donald loves himself; what a choice!

The sole amusement I get from the situation comes in the predictions and attempts at stupid humor. Heaven forbid either side accept the others have a point to make and we’d have better government taking both sides into account when deciding. The lamest of the lame “I have nothing substantive to contribute” quips says that if Trump wins the Canadians will build a wall to keep all the Americans from flooding across illegally. There’s a thought of no more worth than what inspired it. The election will be over when you read this. What should follow is a commitment to better politics for tomorrow.