If you go down to the woods today…

Wildlife is returning to this area in droves. It produces conflict, not just between animals and humans, but between people who grew up in cities and are uneasy with hunting and those who say it is the only way to prevent overpopulation that leads to a slow death from starvation.

Deer are everywhere, in the fields beside roads, in the forests and even in the heavily populated villages, a relatively new phenomenon.

Now black bears are moving into the same territory. There are bear droppings in fenced backyards. Once upon a time farmers would shoot a bear on sight. Not anymore.

One of the reasons for the proliferation of wildlife is that there are fewer farms; poor farmland is left to nature and there are bear droppings under the wild apple trees on fields that have reverted to forest.

Wild turkeys are recent additions to our fields; foxes and raccoons are always with us, ducks live on Coldbrook Stream and noisy geese announce their comings and goings.

Most people see this as a positive thing, as our homes, those high-tech hideaways, are surrounded by nature. Modern Europeans envy us. Busloads of Chinese tourists on foliage tours are awestruck by the beauty of it all.

Local gardeners curse the deer, and bee-keepers complain bears are ravaging their hives. Sentimental city folk generally don’t like hunters. But they do a job that nature can’t manage anymore: keeping the population down.

Most of us enjoy being in a living zoo.

The sun comes up too early

We are near the southern edge of the Eastern Time Zone. It is by far the widest time zone in southern Canada.

It is about 1,800 miles from here to the western limit of the eastern time zone just shy of the border with Manitoba. When the sun rises on November 15th here it will be 6:45 a.m.; when the sun pops up at the western end it will be 8:05 a.m., both EST.

Some people in Boston – which is just about straight south of us – don’t like the sun coming up so early and going down early. The State of Massachusetts is thinking about switching to Atlantic Time. This is not an early April Fool’s joke.

Would eastern Quebec follow suit? The sun would set at 5:20 mid November instead of 4:20. Maybe we should hold a referendum.

By the way, clocks go back November 6th.