I’d intended for this column to come to you from a balmy Southern shore as a gentle little lyric embellished with the whisper of waves, the croak of pelicans and the faint strains of calypso from the resort’s party room.
Alas, sometimes plans get scrapped.
So instead of basking in the sun, I’m rejoicing in the disappearance of the latest outrageous springtime snow — even while keeping my eye on an approaching cold front.
But there are hopeful signs of finer days to come. Frost-bitten daffodils have pushed up through what remains of that chilly shroud, determined to keep their promise of a bloom. And the Easter rabbit has left a cheering trail of paw prints across the yard to the shelter of the bushes.
An untimely medical episode — not dire enough to be called a crisis, but sufficient to prevent travel — meant canceling our customary spring holiday.
There’ll be other Aprils.
I’m home, indoors and warm, with books to read and food in the cupboard and freezer. And there’s been an almost morning-to-midnight TV schedule of basketball to watch.
The sparrows, juncos, flickers and finches crowding at the feeder remind me of my luck. And their world, besides the raw discomfort, can be dangerous.
Looking out from the kitchen one afternoon, we saw a rare visitor perched on the wooden fence.
It was a red-tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis, one of those magnificent raptors more often seen presiding from atop a utility pole, scanning the field or roadside for a likely meal.
Hawks’ prey of choice are small creatures — voles or rabbits or careless mice. But this one had caught a bird and spreading his broad wings sailed down to devour that feathered victim — likely one of those attracted to seeds in the feeder.
Thanks to good doctor friends, my poorly timed indisposition has been resolved.
Ahead now, there lies a period of necessary self-discipline. No breakfasts of biscuits and sausage gravy. No excuses to avoid the gym. No reckless intake of stimulating fluids.
In only a fortnight my turkey-hunting pals will be assembling at the cabin in the Ozark woods. One of them — the one driving up from Florida — sent word he’d be stopping along the way to lay in supplies for the first night’s reunion supper.
Steaks for four, he said it would be. The other four, that is.
For me, carrots.
Our usual drill calls for 4:30 or 5 a.m. risings, a quick gulp of coffee, then off to the woods before the barred owls have ended their morning conversations.
I’ll be keeping a different schedule. My hunts will be only a short walk away and will begin at 9 o’clock or so — the hour when the hens have had enough of courtship and returned to the nest and lonely gobblers respond more readily to the call.
After that there’ll be the morel mushrooms. And I can drive right to them.
So the best of the season is far from lost.
For more of C.W. Gusewelle, go to gusewelle.kansascity.com.