The ‘the outside’ category

The Reckoning Week 57: Groodles

April 15th, 2021


I have inadvertently tamed a ruffed grouse. He was standing in our driveway one day when we pulled in for the evening. He didn’t flinch at the car driving by him or the three raucous humans that emerged. He followed me around for a while that evening, pecking at the ground around my feet. 

I thought, perhaps someone spilled a snack — not unlikely. I also thought, perhaps he’s daft?

He seems like he has a good head on his little grouse shoulders, though. He’s not frothing at the mouth or acting otherwise rabid. But he is simply not afraid of people. 

Sometimes, when I step out the front door, he’ll come running from the woods to see me, then pace back and forth in front of me, cooing like a fancy little pigeon in love. I know what you’re thinking: I’ve fed him.* But I have not. Honestly, I have not tried to charm, coax, or otherwise emotionally entrap this grouse one bit.


My friend Josh pointed out that there’s a little bit of an Aesop’s Fables vibe here and I should tread carefully, and indeed, I am wary of my new grouse friend. I give him space (more space than he gives me, actually). I held off on naming him until his severalith appearance. His name, now is Groodles. 

Groodles acts like a cross between a chicken and a pigeon with some strong pheasant vibes. He pecks, he purrs, he whirrs, and he cocks his head to the side dashingly. He’s going to be a great catch for some lady grouse out there; perhaps he already is. Maybe he’s a philandering bastard grouse, who knows.


Last night at twilight, while I lingered on a school board Zoom call by the sliding glass door, Groodles paced back and forth loyally, waiting for me to come out and play. 

Sadly, we have finally found a new home, and will be moving in a few weeks, and will have to leave Groodles behind. I am pretty sure it’s illegal to relocate a wild animal, although I have no doubt Groodles would jump right in the car with us. I will miss his companionship.

* Update: since I wrote this draft, my kids did feed Groodles. They fed him some of the shelled acorns from my last post. It has come full circle. 

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What I’m reading:

Beheld, by TaraShea Nesbit — I can never get enough historical fiction about fucked up Pilgrims and Puritans

COVID-19 Vaccines Will Fully Protect Tens of Millions People. Thousands Will Still Get Infected. — If, like me, you get rattled by headlines and statistics that seem to render vaccines beside the point, read this. Grounded science. Works every time.

Been getting daily emails from Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American newsletter that I find so interesting. She’s a history professor who takes current events and puts them in the perspective of history in a really articulate, short-form way.

What I’m watching:

This stop-motion ad called Let’s Stop the Motherhood Penalty is wonderful.

What I’m listening to:

My brother, Elia, being interviewed on the podcast The Blade Dive about his impressive career as an iconoclast in the ski industry

What I’m working on:

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