Topic: "I Could Cry" (2)
A cold day in the Shire is a very lonely day. The smallest of birds flit from tree-to-tree, and an occasional squirrel hangs upside down from a bird feeder stuffed with sunflower seeds. Beyond that the endless blue skies are silent, and nothing moves against the icy backdrop of shriveled vines and drooping plants.
Nothing, however, deters Fiona and Mick, the Wonder Dog, from their romp in pursuit of tennis balls and alien sniffs in the Shire. They tire quickly this morning and do not complain when Frodo turns and heads back to the warmth of the morning hearth. On the trail there is a pile of feathers, and Frodo is drawn to the point of recognition. One of the many songbirds which populate the Shire has met its' end, either from a feral feline or from the predatory avian skies. The coloration of the feathers tells Frodo that a towhee ended its days on this spot. There is no blood, nor any bone, simply feathers scattered in a circle almost as large as a basketball. There is nothing by which the perpetrator could be identified. There is only silence.
Frodo scans the skies for movement, but there is none. Although Frodo will miss the thrashing among the leaves which characterizes the towhee's search for food, and the characteristic "the tea" call, hawks and other predatory birds are part of the natural balance. On the other hand, feral cats are the result of the utter stupidity of human beings, and Frodo has little tolerance for the presence of either. If the assault on the towhee did emanate from this source, then Frodo has a right to grieve.
The balance, as Frodo calls it, is amazing. There seem to be fewer feral cats these days, so notes Frodo, in the areas around the Shire. Frodo suspects that it does not relate to the intellectual growth of mankind, but to his assault on the environment. As houses replace wooded lands, there are fewer natural habitats. Displaced are deer, bear, raccoons, among others and, most certainly, coyotes. Coyotes, once totally invisible, seem to be everywhere in the darkness, and small mammals, like cats, are easy picking. Nature it seems, has a new tool at her disposal to reduce the number of former human pets loosed on her preserve.
The towhee fell, opines Frodo, to meet the need. Either the predator who balances the natural order did as was intended, or the towhee attracted the aberrant who will be the discovery of the displaced predator.
It is a cold, and quiet, morning in the Shire. Every day is a lesson. Frodo has feeders to fill, dear reader. There is a hungry towhee somewhere near who can find space available amongst the fallen leaves of the Shire.