Friday, July 31, 2009

Fridley Fields

I love toads, salamanders, dragonflies, butterflies, turtles, fish...all the fluttering and crawly critters I spent so many hours with when I was a kid wandering the fields and lake by our house in Fridley. I didn't like the green frogs we had by the lake. But I do love tree frogs--saw them later elsewhere. We didn't have any tree frogs. :(

We also had mallards, an owl I could never get a good look at, flickers, red-winged blackbirds, blue jays, sparrows, killdeer, a couple of crows, and a bluish black bird--maybe starlings? Garter snakes, rabbits, skinks, thirteen striped ground squirrels--all the critters of the Midwestern plains, the grass fields. Probably a lot more I can't think of anymore off the top of my head.

Things I wasn't quite as fond of--loved to observe but didn't want them too near me--shudder! Little black and white jumping house spiders, daddy long-legs, various other spiders, wood ticks, bats, snapping turtles, shrews, moles, and something that may have been a woodchuck?

Don't know what got me to thinking about Moore Lake and the fields this morning? It is only 19 degrees--but it is sunny out.

I loved being outside when I was a kid. I spent entire summers wandering about by myself--laying in the tall grass fields and watching dragonflies gather on the tips of the wild grass above my head. Laying silently on my stomach next to a ground squirrel hole waiting for it to pop its head out--sometimes I fell asleep there in the sun. After a rain storm, collecting the yellow spotted salamanders from people's new window wells and carrying them in metal coffee cans back down to the lake. Sitting quietly for hours watching a mama mallard on her nest.

I climbed the rough oak tree. Balance walked around the top of the dusty ice rink fence in the heat of summer. Ran through the fields of wild flowers and spun with arms wide. I love wildflowers!!! Even if some of them smell bad--the stems--and the flowers are very small. People think of a lot of them as weeds. But I think of stickers and those thorny green clumps as weeds! Hard on the bare feet, I tell you.
Tumbleweeds! When we first moved there and all the houses were brand new--there were tumbleweeds and sand dunes!

I was so blessed to have lived where I did. Most all of these memories were when I was from 5-10 years old. We moved to Fridley when I was five. When I was ten they were digging up the higher field to build a senior high school--killing so many animals--most of the wildflowers grew there, too. Broke my heart.

After that--it was softball fields and more housing. Nothing is left of the Minnesota grass fields of my youth. The lake--they built a walkway along the "wild" side of the lake--so people can look from a dry wooden planked footpath. There must still be children who touch the earth--that walk barefoot through the mud...push aside the grasses to peer at mallards mumbling contentedly and smacking goodies from the slimy bottom...smell the damp water's edge covered in algae and dancing water bugs...hear the red-winged blackbirds call...frighten leaping frogs back into the hot shallow water...???

May dragonflies follow you and feel safe enough to perch upon your body. May you hear the meadowlarks song and allow a killdeer to fool you. May you notice whatever is outside your door.

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