Every Good Morning

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Hedgerows does not seem accurate enough, and I am unaware of another name for them, so this one will do: wildways, a derivation of highways and wild, the strands of hedges, vines, trees, brambles, and old rock fences that skirt and sometimes divide fields. They are the paths for all creatures wild to go from point a to b. They are habitat, food source, hunting arena, nesting spot, shelter, sanctuary, a 6 or 8 or 10 foot wide thread of  ‘waste ground’ that birds and insects and many animals use to their advantage. When you next drive area highways and roads, look for them now. They are streams of life.

wildwaysThe fields have hundreds of yards of wildways. They enclose them and divide them. They are routes from the deep woods of the ridgeline to backyards and parks. They bring fox and birds to my feeders. Owls hunt from them, their calls coming through the darkened windows of bedrooms. The Cooper sweeps upon birds from them. Squirrels, jays, catbirds, cardinals, indigo buntings, song sparrows, woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice and finches nest in them. Deer bed down there. Big red-tails and crows sit exposed atop dead trees like deities. Resident groundhogs and fox have dens in the tumbled rocks thrown there by farmers long dead. I glimpsed a fox climbing a tree once, agile as smoke. Milk snakes and garter, insect species by the score, spiders and praying mantis and hornets all call them home.

A cause for a local optimism — give life a strip of cover, and it will multiply. It will find a way.

© Mike Wall

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