Ramble with Storm: The art of focus

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Mulling things on my morning ramble with Storm, the family’s mixed Lab.

Tuesday night, I was barreling up the Kennedy Expressway to a fishing meeting, yet I had to focus on the water tank that is famously tight to the road on the west side.

If you drive Chicago’s North Side, you know the one I mean.

One of the key strengths of art is to make us focus. The reason the water tank, something I have driven past hundreds or maybe thousands of times, is because of Larry Green’s artwork associated to the water tanks of Chicago.

Art can pick a piece of the every day out and bring a focus to it.

In some ways, that is what the morning rambles do for me in the best of times. And I would hope in some ways to others, a focus on the beauty and wonder of the very day.

Yesterday, I was so caught up in work and life worries that I could not focus enough to notice to put anything into a ramble. That’s a sure sign to me that I need to rethink some things.

Better this morning, though it was rather bland in terms of wildlife.

Kind of like fall: Blah.

A gray squirrel ran around the bur oaks a street over.

I noticed many more leaves had fallen in the last couple days and more trees are turning yellow already.

On the far end of the extended ramble, I had a bit of jolt. I thought I smelled somebody blowing a J. Then I realized it was just a sort of musty smell from the rain (.7 inches) overnight on the dying vegetation.

All the same, for a second, I thought I was not alone.

A gray squirrel ran around the path between the two old clay pits.

I heard a belted kingfisher on the south pit, but could not find it at first because a passing train on the east side distorted the sound.

But when I stopped to play with photographing this flower against the water, the kingfisher flew right across my field of vision.

Time to engage gives its own rewards. Sometimes.

Back on the edge of town, I only saw three mourning doves on the wires or picking grit by the grain elevator. But about 15 barn pigeons (rock doves?) wheeled around like fighter planes in a tight pattern.

Back at the bur oaks, a gray squirrel was so intent on an acorn that I walked within three steps of it. That was too much for the meathead, he charged and hustled the squirrel up the tree.

Sometimes, engaged in the moment has its dangers. 

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