We were hiking in Sebago, Maine when this Ruffed Grouse, Bonasa umbellus, came thrashing out onto the trail and faked a broken wing, dragging it on the ground and squealing and running up and down the trail ahead of us. She must have had babies in the woods nearby that she was trying to lead us away from. She came out of nowhere and we never saw the babies. Such a display!
When I was a kid I went to visit my older sister at the house she shared with a boyfriend. Giving me a tour of the property, he showed me around his old barn. I found this sweet vintage Polish doll in a corner and he said it must have belonged to the previous owners, and that I could keep it. I’ve always treasured her, and she sits prettily on a shelf in my living room.
Years later, long after they had broken up, the boyfriend I had visited hanged himself in that very barn. I’d seen him a few times over the years and it was apparent to all that he had a terrible drug addiction, but I really don’t know why he chose to kill himself. He was young, around 30 years old or so when he died. I think of him and his kindness towards me every time I look at the doll. And I still remember just how she looked when I found her in the dusty, slanted, peaceful light of that old barn.