Environment Writing

Snow Fell


Snow fell as I drove home on Mehaffey Bridge Road through the lakes—a crystalline, sparkling snow. The wind blew as the sky darkened with imminent nightfall. I had turned the radio off.

I passed a frozen pond where a herd of deer and a flock of wild turkeys browsed—for what I couldn’t discern. A bald eagle flew overhead while entering the lane to our house. What other wildlife existed in the winter landscape went unnoticed, obscured by three historic species.

It is a time of change. This morning there is no Iowa City Press Citizen as the newspaper returned to a Monday through Saturday issue. They had been doing a brief cover, then inserting another Gannett Company paper, Des Moines Register, inside. Today the county seat is again without a daily newspaper.

That’s not to say there isn’t news. It’s just that people get news from a lot of other sources, including talking with neighbors and friends in person and over electronic media. Since I began writing for newspapers, I have read ours more. Despite the informative stories found inside each issue, news and news writing are not what they were, and the Monday issue is frequently quite thin. I predict newspapers will survive, but they compete for eyeballs in a way that has changed and continues to change. The economics of competition has led to less news coverage in newspapers and everywhere as we focus on the obvious.

I arrived home and turned the radio on to A Prairie Home Companion. That has changed too. One wonders how long it will continue once Garrison Keillor moves on.

Thinking about the mango-orange spread I bought last week, I put two tablespoons in a dish, added four tablespoons of home made salsa, mixed them together, and opened a bag of organic tortilla chips for a welcome home snack. Jacque was at work and not expected for a couple of hours.

The sweet taste of the mango came first, then the heat of capsaicin. It was crunchy, sweet, salty and spicy all at once. A perfect example of what living in these times means. We want it all at once.

We don’t often linger in falling snow to see what else is there. I’m certain it’s more than deer, turkeys and eagles.

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