There are some things that you just can’t un-see. A big rooster perched on a large branch of an oak tree is one of those things. Now, I’m no chicken expert, but I’m pretty sure that large oak trees next to highways in northern Minnesota are not normal resting places for boy chickens.
I have just shared everything I know about roosters in that first paragraph, in case you were wondering.
Through the years, I’ve seen a lot of things in trees. Bald eagles, smaller birds, raccoons, even a couple of woodchucks. Not all at the same time, thank goodness. Anyway, here’s what happened. I was cruising up 169 just north of Garrison when I spotted the bright red comb and large, plump, brown body about seventy-five feet off the ground. I didn’t dawn on me until I passed that what I’d seen was an honest-to-goodness rooster in an oak tree. I thought of going back to take a picture so people wouldn’t think I was just making stuff up. Then I decided that the only thing more ridiculous than seeing a rooster in an oak tree would be the image of a scrawny, gray-haired woman in a raincoat standing outside her tiny car on a rainy Sunday in May taking a cell phone picture of a rooster in an oak tree.
The rest of the way home, I thought about that darn rooster. How had he gotten up there? What if he was stuck like a cat? Can roosters climb trees? Had he been raised by eagles and didn’t know he was a rooster? Was he bored with chickens and hoping to find a grouse hen to court?
So many questions with no answers.
Someone is going to tell me that it was a big woodpecker and not a rooster that I spied high in that tree. They will smile sadly and think I’ve finally gone ’round the bend or need to get my eyes checked. I just know it.
But here’s the deal.
When a woman of a certain age tells you she’s seen a rooster in an oak tree, you best believe her. And if you happen to be traveling to the Twin Cities on Highway 169, look for a big oak on the east side of the road right before you get to Lake Mille Lacs. I bet he’ll still be there acting like an eagle. Or maybe just trying to figure out how to get down.
Looking as regal as it is possible for any rooster in an oak tree to look.