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All Hallows’ Eve

“Si da el cántaro en la piedra o la piedra en el cántaro, mal para el cántaro.”
– Sancho Panza

Windows open; no-one home

Farrar Pond and its environs teem with ghosts: Nipmuc displaced by settlers or cleared by imported disease and alcohol, native wolves and turkeys long extinct, departed forests of elm and chestnut, mile-high ice and perhaps woolly mammoth. More recently, trees well-rooted along Halfway Brook, cut before damming to make an open pond and still showing at low water—or even high, when used as foundations for muskrat push-ups:

On top of all this pre/history are new-minted shades, most in the natural way of life (and death); too many more due to human intervention, deliberate or incidental.

In the latter category, well behind habitat loss and feral cats but more visible than either, are the lethal effects of acres of suburban glass. We lure our favorite avians from high and far

—sometimes very—

to decorate our close yards,

Study in grey and brown

luring them in with food

or (here the illusion of) potable/bathable water:

A few species tire themselves out attacking their own reflections. More see an open cave where a cave is not, or (depending on interior and exterior lighting, pane reflectivity and other cues) a clear passage. Most impacts are simple knock-outs, from which recovery is variably rapid if victims do not first freeze

or make a meal for some raptor or earthbound carnivore:

The mourning dove is not only a devoted family bird, but good on the wing as well as the nest: “their flight is fast and bullet straight.” (Cornell, which also reports it to be “the most frequently hunted species in North America.”) Unlike the peppered moth beloved of biology teachers, or the rather more endangered elephant, it has apparently not yet adapted to this new threat. When the bullet is intercepted by a window,

it is not good for the bullet:

Nor is this the only such encounter, even at this one spot, even recently:

Perhaps a remorseful resident might be allowed the sentimental wish, in this season of respecting the departed, that—as with the Pharaohs of old—whatever plane these spirits have ascended is abundantly provisioned: