Thursday, January 29, 2015
A mouse, a mole, a shrew, and a vole walk in a bar. I actually haven't seen a shrew out there in the yard yet, but I'm figuring it's only a matter of time. I can see the trails mapped out on top of the ground of the tunnels that run underground. Probably there are drug lords under there, maybe prostitution rings, illegal gambling, stockpiles of guns and ammunition.
There's plenty of grass, roots and mossy stuff with a surplus of insects and worms for these little critters. And then these little critters are the surplus for the owls, hawks, snakes, coyotes and... cats.
Every now and again, one of the cats will bring such a critter onto the back porch. Usually by the time I see them they are already dead and being tossed about proudly until I dispose of it. And my cats look at me like, Hey. We caught that. It's ours. But this little one, this little vole, I think it's a vole, was found by Jolie and her friend just as the cats discovered him, and so this was his lucky day.
We put him in a tall glass and brought him inside. I loosened some dirt near one of the tunnels outside near where they found him, brought the cats in, and took this little guy back out. I slid him out of the glass and he just sat there. I mounded some dirt around him then covered him with leaves and wished him well. The next morning there was no sign of the vole, and the leaves were still piled, so I took it as a good sign.
It's a weird thing to be happy for my cats to kill mice, or not be upset when they kill their furry cousins or whatever, but when I find 'em first... then I have to save them. Weird. I probably saved the kingpin.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
When I wake up each morning, I wake with a wave of excitement. What I'm excited about I'm not sure, but it's there, every single morning. Probably I've got an anxiety disorder.
It's a good feeling rather than bad so I'm going with excitement and not anxiety. Although, I do have plenty of anxiety, it just comes later in the day when I have to be around people. Any people.
I went outside for a smoke, and rounded the corner to the view of dead grass, bare branches and a sky lit on fire. Yeah, I would rather hang out with my dog. My dog and this sky. Mother Nature is pretty exciting.
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
When I get ready to go on a hike on my own there is always anticipation. The allure of the actual steps I'll take; sometimes climbing and sometimes sliding. There's the quiet thrill of what I'll see, hear, and smell. I love the way my heartbeat quickens as I grab hold of a root and pull myself up a steep embankment. I love the sweat.
I usually don't go far distances since I like to wander and wonder. I stop and look at trees, maps engraved in the side of a creek bed that will show new routes with the next rain, tracks, sometimes a treasure from someone that hiked the hike before me. The sky. A short hike in distance can turn into miles on the clock. I usually pack no more than my camera case that holds the camera and my knife. Sometimes a bag is slung over my back that carries water, maybe an apple, a notebook and a pen.
When Tyler was younger, and now it's Jolie going with me at times, it's all intensified somewhat. There's a more tender excitement for the day. I can see things through their eyes. I can pass my love of these things to them.
We set out for the day to find the lake through the woods behind our house. We started at and followed a washed out gully. We climbed in and out of it and drifted a ways beside it, navigating our way carefully through thickets and briers, then coming to clearings again. We stood on the sides and at the base of the hills that surrounded us. The wind through the tops of pines was the only sound except for the twigs snapping beneath our feet. Hey Sis, you can say you've been somewhere today that you've never been before.
It was a warm day for January, but with the snakes and ticks still sleeping in for winter we were carefree. On the other hand, there are packs of coyotes and the possibility of a cougar out there. Which honestly, I didn't even really think about until later - Later the next night when I heard the pack singing to each other in those woods, maybe checking out the tracks that we had laid.
Then there's the possibility of coming up on someone in the woods. We heard gunshots in the distance and we heard the bark of a big dog pretty close. We turned back, making our way back up the gully and home.
Every instinct I've got goes into overdrive when something like that happens. I wish it didn't, but c'mon, I've seen movies like Wrong Turn, and I've also seen real news stories. Thus the mild feeling of dread that inevitably turns to a sort of muffled panic. I keep it to myself, but it's there. I think - What if that dog jumps on my Middy Girl. What if that bullet carries its way to one of us. What if we suddenly wake up and find ourselves locked in a basement somewhere.
Several years ago Tyler went into the woods and came across an old, mean, grouchy sonofabitch that waved some kind of a metal bar in his direction with threats. When he told me about it, and we talked about it, he said to me... What do you think... I'm gonna wake up in a basement somewhere? My Gawd. My toes still curl at the thought. But it is a thought. It lingers.
So me and my kids talk about that inner voice that we've all got. Intuition. A sixth sense. We have to listen to that even on a glorious hike. As much as we can we have to be prepared, from something as simple as packing water to quench a thirst for the longer trails, to being seriously prepared for what may be unknown. It was a downer not being able to make it to the lake that day, but I wasn't ready for that dog in the woods, or whoever was shooting the gun. If we had wondered into the pack of coyote's backyard (and really, it's all their backyard), where they are perhaps staying alert over their own young, I wouldn't have been ready for that.
Next time I'll be more prepared for those vast woods, and there will be a next time. There always is because it's beautiful and exciting and rejuvenating and it's lessons and it's life. We can't not do things because of unknowns, we just prepare and listen and do them anyway.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Friday, January 16, 2015
Pickle. Sweet Pickle. I usually don't like sweet pickles. I'm a dill pickle kind of girl, but this guy is the exception. Sometimes he'll jump up and hug my leg as I'm walking by. He's never clawed my leg. It always feels more like a quick, friendly hug with soft paws. He comes bouncing and pouncing outta nowhere. Gotcha!
He's super sweet and way mellow. I love him.
When I looked closer at these pics though, I wondered about his expressions. I wondered about the snake from last summer, and about the nearly sliced in half rabbit, the lizards and who knows what else is getting hunted out there. Which I hate. Look at his face...
He is smiling, is he not? He's got dimples. He's like The Joker. If you were a little mole in the yard would that not creep your shit out?
And he's got a raised eyebrow here. Come to me little animals... We'll be frieeennds... You can practically hear each claw as he pulls them out. Ding. PING. POW!! I could put a striped sweater on him and call him Krueger.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Here in Western Kentucky we get to witness the four seasons. Each one is really, really beautiful in its own way. You can dance with flowers in the Spring, eat food from your own dirt in the Summer, tumble in leaves in the Fall, and in the Winter... in the Winter you hope for snow.
We don't get much snow here and when we do it's a delight. Flakes bring hopes of snow days filled with snowmen and sledding and snow cream. And sometimes we get enough to do those things, and it's so much fun followed by thawing toes and hot cups of cocoa with marshmellows.
Yes, I spell marshmellow with an E. What? That's how it's said here, and should be said and spelled like that everywhere. Right?
The other thing that happens with the promise of snow is second only to a zombie apocalypse, if not a tie... hell, it takes the lead. It just takes the lead. People go ape shit for some bread and milk when they know snow is coming. Stores for miles will be sold out of bread and milk. When it's all gone you'll see people wondering the aisles aimlessly in circles in search of bread crumbs.
Do people already have supplies of something to go on the bread? Are they already stocked up on cereal that they need all the milk? I mean, you don't see bags of chips disappear from store shelves. Or pop-tarts. What about pop-tarts? Granola bars? We won't even have enough snow to cover the streets, but by Frosty's balls people are going to get their bread and milk.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
This happened today.
Twelve years ago my labor was induced and you came into this world hard and fast. Then you looked at me, soft and quiet, with those chocolate river eyes. These things are much like today and I would not have you any other way.
Happy Birthday to my twelve year old. Spirited and smart and sweet and lovely.
You are so loved and always make my reality unimaginably good.
I'm the luckiest momma there is.
I hope all of your wishes come true, my love.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Every once in a while I feel not much of anything. Cares are not mine. Shielded by a bitter numbness, I trudge from one day to the next. No tears and no smiles. Just existence. When faced with conversation, another personality steps up to mask the existing one. Hello, I'm so-n-so, and I'll be helping you today. No one is much the wiser.
It's an odd thing to barely feel a sadness, a despair. Just barely. No awareness of any real emotion. The dullness in my eyes is visible. My eyes see things from a safe distance and still long for more miles of space. My face is set. Heavy and hardened. I see that.
I'm so optimistic. I really am. I'm optimistic. I'm optimistic. I'm optimistic, and then that optimism yells, Welcome to reality, IDIOT! And not only yells, but smacks the hell out of me and knocks me down. I can't find my bearings.
Just a few days ago there were laughs, but they seem a lifetime ago. I think I'm a mental case and I can already hear the voices of some telling me to just get over it. Too bad. I'm a failure and knowing that sends me into a deep sleep. I have failed at a lot of things. That truth is kicking my ass today.
It's the usual business of the usual problems. Sometimes they are so magnified though. I'm the cowering bug under a ray of sunlight coming through that glass by way of some little shit.
I stand at one of the very best times of my life now. Things fell and are falling into place when I didn't think they would, or when time wouldn't move fast enough. It's now marching toward things that are right.
I'm pretty good at picking myself up and getting on with it. Some of those times are harder than others. Things will turn around and everything won't seem so dark. I'm very aware that everyone faces something everyday, but that doesn't mean that it's not ok for me to call out when I'm in the dark. Today would be that day that I feel not much of anything.
Tomorrow is another day, and the day after that, and the next day after that, and then the next one - they will all be new. I'm going to take a hot shower, go to sleep, and start over tomorrow. One foot in front of the other. Breathing in and out. I'll fake it til I make it, and I'll do it until I succeed. I'll do it until the feeling comes back. And it will.