High floating cumulus clouds cause the sunlight to fade, recede and come back in an early morning razor sharp flash. The recent morning fog is replaced by sparkling dew on bushes and grass. The dog is stretched out quietly on the couch. I wish she'd do the same when she comes up at five to lick my face, nuzzle my hand in a game of squirrely fun. The cat last appeared in the back forty along the dog pen fence poking at something in the grass. Then he bops over to the woodshed to continue hunting. If I were making a cartoon of his movements in the wet grass, a single piano note would sound for each high stepping bounce he makes while closing the distance between grass and shed.
Our free entertainment always involves the animal spectrum. I can visualize winds whipping rain, hail and sleet against the rear portion of the breezeway on a dark November night. The concrete slab poured over the well components is separated from the house foundation by asphalt expansion board. Elements and the space of time wore away at the board allow heavy rain to seep into the basement. Vowing to clean up my act and fix the little things, I grab a leftover tube of construction adhesive and caulk all the cracks between concrete and foundation. Minutes later Dawn is outside staring at something on the slab behind the breezeway.
A ten inch baby snake wormed its way out from the space between house and slab. The snake is covered with construction adhesive which emits a noxious order and by the looks of the writhing snake, is quite toxic. Shoot. Dawn points to the snake's emergence hole while I scurry to the garage for an old dustpan. There's nothing I can do to save the snake. Walking to the fence line, I have a chance to study its color banding but the goo on his head obscures the shape. My vivid imagination works overtime seeing baby rattlesnakes nesting along the house. Perhaps, that's why the cat is so jumpy of late.
Dawn and I sit on lawn chairs in the garage. Mandy leaps at the cat playing her instinctual game of harass the sheep. The cat is startled and launches into a full fledged fury of flailing paws and claws. I get up in a rush to separate the two. The dog finds the cat's behavior a ripe challenge. She goes back for more. I see vet bills and sutures in the encounter and take a swipe at the cat who's in a furious, determined effort to maim. Wow. Psycho kitty. Is this the same cat who rolls on his back when Mandy drapes a paw over him and nibbles at his ears?
Johann reports coyotes snooping around his cabin at midnight. They repeat visits at 2 and 4 am hoping for a chicken finger snack. He doesn't sleep much that night. Like wolves at the door, a flashlight beam illuminating hungry coyotes around your place will keep you up at night.
There's always something to fill a void with worry. Folks around here are upset over a proposed high power transmission line, 300 foot towers up and over ridge tops near Viola. The power company says it'll make for cheaper power transmission from the Dakotas and wind farms out there. The power will feed the state Capitol's lust for more energy and keeping the white domed capitol building, a replica of the Washington capitol, brightly illuminated.
"The Week" magazine features a book list (www.theweek.com, 8/27/2010. p.21"arts") and one author-Jane Brox who writes Brilliant, a history of our relationship with "flames, lamps and bulbs. The short segment about the book tells us that she writes about each new invention which separates, "not just light from dark, but rich from poor." The last portion of the enlightening excerpt about Brox and her new book says, "Until the 1930's, only well-off Americans had domestic lighting; even today, richer countries can be distinguished in satellite images because they shine more brightly."
A dyed-in-the-wool criminal
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