If I know your sect, I anticipate your argument.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance.” Pretty much the last word on “shibboleths” — a word Emerson would certainly have used.

Yesterday the wind came up and I took out Bear and Teddy. It was a pretty OK walk, but the wind died down before we were finished and the deer flies were very very very obnoxious. Still, it was nice to be out.

99% of the time NO one is at the Refuge. Yesterday, for the first time, I tried to take a short cut by just turning around and heading back out the way I came in. It’s a one way road and that meant that, for 1/2 mile, I was going to go the wrong way. I NEVER did that before. And HERE came a Ranger. The FIRST REAL RANGER with a ranger car and lights and badge I’VE EVER SEEN out there. He flashed his lights. I pulled over. He told me (which I knew) that I was going the wrong way on a one way road. He was a young guy and pretty stern. I was sure I was in for a ticket.

The whole thing was weird because normally I park in the parking lot by the refuge headquarters so road direction isn’t an issue, but, to let Bob (my former neighbor) and his dog, Roscoe, have their walks undisturbed, I decided to park down the road 1/2 mile.

“Which way did you come in?” I lied, which was a mistake. “You didn’t see those two big signs saying ONE WAY ROAD?”

I’m not Irish for nothing. Charm IS charm; blarney is blarney. I said, “Damned illiteracy,” and grinned. He laughed. He knew I lied but not what about. I’d actually come in the right way, parked a bit up the road then headed back out the way I came in. “Are your dogs leashed?”

“Of course,” I said, not feigning outrage. I love that Refuge, and I would never ever ever let my dogs run there (though farm dogs sometimes do).

“And they’re dry?” The REASON for the refuge is the ponds and ditches. Correlative to keeping my dogs leashed is NOT letting them swim.

“Yes.” Now I was truly (quietly) outraged. I might be an anarchist but I’m also a conservationist.

“OK,” he said, smiling, and kept going. I turned around and went out the right way. He parked where we’d parked.

I wonder why he was out there. I wonder if stuff has been going on. I would hate that to be the case. That place is, well, my refuge. ❤

Saw a large, long-necked, mostly black waterbird with nesting material. I suppose he was a grebe but he was more cormorant colored. Same size.

I’ve been thinking a lot about words. Around here there are ‘wildlife areas” and “wildlife refuges.” In both cases these are places where people can hunt. I don’t have any objection to hunting, but I think the euphemistic quality of these terms is creepy. The wildlife areas are closed part of the year to allow birds to nest and later in the year, those same birds are hunted. The wild life refuge is MOSTLY an area where animals are hunted.

I admit that I don’t know much about wildlife “management” — a bizarre sounding term anyway, kind of like “pain management” — who manages WHAT in both those cases? That ranger’s main job is to “…prevent poaching, engage local communities in conservation, help communities resolve human-wildlife conflicts, and assist with tourism.” I guess that includes yelling at little old ladies for driving the wrong way for 1/2 mile at 15 mph (I’m not and wasn’t upset — it was just absurd since I KNOW I’m out there probably more than anyone who doesn’t live on the premises).

So, I don’t know. I don’t know much, actually. 😀

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