Welcoming the city-withered...
Notes on the natural.
|The weather was dramatic today. At 10 A.M., the thermometer beside the back door registered 65 degrees; it was sunny, and I toyed with the idea of short sleeves. Within 2 hours, it poured, and the temperature plummeted. Then the sun came out again, and then it sleeted. Now it's raw, and ice is redeveloping.
Later- It's 10:30 PM now, and the temperature outside the back door is 15. That's a 50 degree drop in 12 hours. The wind has picked up, and standing outside one hears the eerie sound of water freezing everywhere. The eaves are cracking, some copper implements I have hanging are tinging, the branches on the trees are snapping horribly in the cold wind. It's distinctly eerie, the night alive, crackling with brittle sound. It's clear again, the stars shining sharply, too.
|My wild kitty has disappeared, and I fear the worst..coyote snack, fox meal, succumbed to the numbing snows of winter. I feel responsible for it; should have, could have...well, couldn't have, really, or I would have snatched him up, gotten him neutered and vaccinated, and given him a cozy warm home. But alas, I didn't have the scratch (har har). Poor lil guy, my heart clenches when I think of his furry grey self. Maybe someone else took him in. I hope so; it would make me happy to walk down the street and see his round face staring, unblinking and faintly baleful, from a window. Poor little volunteer kitty. I feel so mean. And all this emotion on an animal who wouldn't let me pat him!
|The forest behind our house is a wonderland. With each successive foray I have ventured further into it, using as my landmark a giant, moss crowned tree whose wide spread branches can be seen through the straight trunks of the white pines. There is an old granite quarry, floored with thick ice in the bitter cold. The snow, frozen, melted, and frozen again, reflects the setting sun in golden sparkles. The meandering main path, demarcated by nature conservancy trail markers, makes me wonder who established it. It could be an ancient Indian trail. The tracks of the wild things have lost definition in the old crust of snow. Beyond the giant tree, which consistently defies my attempt to capture it in a photograph, lies an eerie badland of tumbled granite boulders, moss crowned and black footed, full of dark angular holes and crevices. Deadfalls have tumbled to create even more black holes, large, gaping. Beyond these badlands (shot through on one flank by a fieldstone wall in spookily good condition) towers a granite wedge. Easily forty feet high, it rises like Moby Dick's forehead from the land. I will scale it on my next expedition. I couldn't bring myself to negotiate the Badlands today, as they truly resemble something from Lord of the RIngs, with their bright green slimy tops and rotting leaves squelching around their feet. I know where there's a spring, now, though, because the dog was drinking just beyond an especially frightening dead tree, black and thick, wrenched and twisted to reveal the tortured red heart, roots hoisted like a drunkard's skirts for the Wild Things to hide beneath.
|Despite the weather being deliciously frigid, and my overwhelming urge to hibernate, I hope I see a sparkle streak through the icy sky... I'm in 'the Met', a charming seaside backwater, shivering in the great dining room of a decrepit Victorian mansion. I used to live here, so I know that the stars sparkle hard over the mansion during the winter, and I'm looking forward to stepping out onto the Captain's porch for a breath of stardust.
After I've spent some more quality time hiding in bed with the heating pad and my crappy novel.
|Today, I saw a very strange cat in the yard, large but lanky, dark charcoal grey, large ears on a triangular head with great big slanted yellow eyes. He wouldn't stop to talk.
On Christmas Day, I had occasion to go driving through Myles Standish State Forest and parts of Carver. It was sunny, and calm; the cranberry bogs glowed russet and gold, and the roads were blessedly devoid of traffic. We saw little white country churches shining beside the road. It was a perfectly picturesque and peaceful day.
I'm not home by my hushed, haunted forest right now, but puppysitting in a development. There runs a narrow tract of undeveloped land between the houses on this street and a horse farm behind. (The Golden Retriever, Digger, is desperate to befriend the horse, but alas, his electric fence prevents him.) The other morning, bleary eyed and caffeine free, I let my dogs out. Shutting the door, I noticed two men walking through the tract, one dressed in hunter orange and toting a rifle. With my characteristic impulsive lack of common sense, I marched out into the snow in my bare toes and enquired, was there something I could help the gentlemen with? Turns out, they're tracking a big buck they shot and wounded. The day before.(Ah, well, good thing I have little respect for hunters already, huh? You better have the safety on that thing, Fudd...) He came through here. See, look, his tracks are here, by this corn you put out? (Ah, I don't live here, chum, so what now?!) There's a ton of blood! (Ooo, thanks for the visual of red blood on white snow, think I'll wait til later on that...) No, we don't need your help, we'll find him...(this after I said they could leave their phone number and I would call if I saw anything...)
It's the strangest thing I think I've ever had happen at a dog's house. It beats the time the Shetland Sheepdog went leaping through the sliding screen door, it trumps piggysitting the geriartric pig who I know hated me, it even tops critter sitting at the House of Paranoia, where your blood pressure is elevated the whole time as you nervously study the menagerie for symptoms of their assorted illnesses. I had a bird die the day after its parents got home at the House of Paranoia, and from then on it was petsitting hell.
But hunters stalking wounded prey through a residential neighborhood has all of them whacked.
I was torn between feeling bad for the buck if he was badly injured and rooting for him if he could reasonably survive. I'm not an expert tracker (although I was interested to note I got a very strong visual image of him from the size of his hoofs and the distance of his gait...I've always enjoyed reading the wild things in the snow, so maybe I AM a good amateur tracker!) but I didn't see any limbs dragging or tracks staggered wrong, nor any blood, but he did wander through the yard. Most heartening, he stopped in at least two places to snuffle up something to eat, a good sign with any injury. I hope he's ok; he must be beautiful.
Man, those hunters, huh? Let me add, finally, that they originally shot him (the day before...really, I can't emphasize that enough...) across a busy, narrow, fast and dangerous road. Man, those hunters.
Also, yesterday (Christmas day), I saw 3 large shiny black crows perched at the very tippy top of some bare trees. Spooky!!
|Two significant snowstorms in three days have shrouded the world in a white blanket. The familiar yard has been transformed into unfamiliar terrain. Reminiscent of a wave upon the ocean, frozen by Nature's artifice in midbillow. The stars shine clean and clear, crisp chips of diamond sparking in the black velvet of the sky.
|There are moths that emerge in the winter months, at night. I'm more familar with a smaller variety that likes a still, moist, warmer evening, but tonight there are a few of a larger sort, with handsome double wings. It is raw, cold and moist, with no breeze and a few stars.