Galwegians Octover 2021

For the first time since the Kinmount and District Bursary Committee’s fundraiser dinner back in early February 2020, the Galway Hall had the general public enter its doors again. The Galway Hall was a polling station for the Federal election on Monday, September 20th. Kudos goes out to all the poll workers across Canada that signed up to work at this election and for following all the COVID-19 protocols to keep everyone safe during this global pandemic. Also, a ‘shout-out’ goes to our polling team at the Galway Hall. All five poll workers are residents of Galway Township.

It is a good time for some reflections as the summer of 2021 ended on September 21st. On September 16th, I heard my first bullfrog of the season do a couple of choruses of “jug o’ rum” and it finished with a couple of “knee-deep”. Some observers have noted many sightings of numerous types of snakes of all sizes this year. The list includes water snakes, garter snakes, hognose snake, and milk snake. I had an ‘up close and personal’ encounter with a small hognose, not once, but twice on West Clear Bay Road. This little snake was sunning itself in the tire track of the road. I ‘encouraged’ it to move to the side of the road. The next day, same place, the hognose was back in the tire track. So, once again, I ‘persuaded’ it to get away from the road. This little hognose has not been seen by me since. Have you ever had an experience with a hognose snake? They start with a fierce front. Its mouth is wide open as it attempts to repeatedly strike at your shoe. If you persist, the hognose rolls over and plays dead. I’m not totally convinced that this is the best plan, but, large or small, every hognose snake uses this instinctive tactic.

On one of my late summer, early morning jogs, a raven took an unusual interest in me, as I plodded along the Galway Road. It flew from behind me and landed in a tree ahead of me where it started a raspy series of calls. As I got near the tree, it flew ahead of me, landing in another tree and continued its gurgling banter. This routine happened once more before it flew away across a swamp. Out of curiosity, and after doing some research, apparently ravens actually can talk. Since I am not fluent in ‘raven’, I believe it was encouraging me to keep on jogging! Or, it was laughing at me for my lack of speed.

A raven’s lifespan is between 25 and 30 years but have been known to live for up to 45 years! In comparison, the lifespan of a crow is usually about 8 years. Did you know that ravens are acrobats in the sky? They surf updrafts, fly upside down, and even turn somersaults, just because they can. In most Indigenous North American cultures, the raven is seen as the creator of light and also as a trickster figure. As the maker of light, the raven symbolizes the ultimate creator of all things that existed before the beginning.

According to the groups that help to protect and conserve turtles, be aware of turtle hatchlings this fall. If you find one of these little critters, when safe, assist it in the direction it was headed. If it is near water, try to locate the hatchling in the shallows, amongst weeds.

For the sky watchers this October, the Zodiacal Light is in the east (before dawn), from October 4th until October 17th. The Hunter’s Full Moon occurs on October 20th. The Orionid Meteor Showers peaks on November 4th and 5th.

The funniest word added to the dictionary in 2020 chosen for October is ‘Man Hug’. It is a noun and refers to a friendly embrace between two men, often accompanied by a handshake, a clap on the back, etc. 

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