July 23, 2014
My world has shrunk incrementally, as I heal from a broken foot; I haven’t walked for 40 days. Who’s counting?
More than a few people have commented that I should post pictures with the Chronicles. Pardon me, I feel I do exactly that—if a window may be said to be a camera and word clusters are photos. Windows, now, are the extent of my world. Until further notice, I travel in my mind. I write what I see, as well as write what I know, the oldest adage one hears about writers and their work.
This morning, in the photography studio, the lovely fawn sisters arrived for their shoot. Unfortunately, they are as disposable as cigarette lighters. Fortunately for them, they don’t know this. In the fall, if they don’t get run over by the Clifton Terrace Roadhogs, they will arrive for their shots—I don’t mean inoculations.
Today, the sisters were frisky and dancing in the lower meadow. They munched on thick green grass and wild violets and butted one another’s fuzzy heads and stood up on hind legs. Their protruding spines were tan-hued and flanked with long rows of white spots. Their tails whipped like Frankie Lane in a video, cracking a bullwhip as he sings “Rawhide.” I can tell one sister from the other, now. The bigger of the two has a white fur birthmark on the inside of her back right leg.
The sisters are in a curious phase. They approached me several days ago, stood a mere 20 feet from me. I made a conscious choice to yell and frighten them. Cozying up to humans has no good ending. They stood under the hummingbird feeder and waited, and the rubythroats arrived and buzzed them. The housefinches and chickadees serenaded them. (I now have a personal relationship with a chickadee; it flies to me when I’m filling the thistle feeder and we talk in its language.)
Scout the Cat leapt onto my desk and watched the sisters. Her tail flicked and their tails flicked. In my world are northern flickers and feline flickers and fawn flickers and a canine flicker.
Yesterday, a murder of crows erupted in danger calls. I assumed the intruder was a barred owl. Then into my camera’s view flew a golden eagle, swooping down from the east, like a jet landing at Lambert Field. Its wings were wider than I am long. It perched on my neighbor Irene’s back fence, perhaps mistaking my birdfeeders for a café featuring breast of songbird. A golden eagle could easily snatch a fawn.
A few months ago, one of last year’s fawns was murdered in my yard. It wasn’t hunting season, yet she was shot and left alive to suffer and die. There is a difference between hunting and murder. Ask the eagle.
A truck rumbled west on the road below me. The sisters knew they were exposed. They took off running for the woods.
The sky is about to weep. And cool breezes will push the crushing humidity away—for a brief respite. A character in one of my plays says, “The only difference between Alton and hell . . . is hell’s cooler in the summer.”
The songbirds and the cat and the dear deer don’t seem to mind. Me, I’ve got bath towels draped on the seat and back of my photographer’s chair, soaking up my ungodly sweat.
My subjects have left. The cat sleeps on her back and jabs her back paws in the air. I wait. Writing is not like fishing. There is no uncertainty of the, will they bite.
Something is coming—from the sky or woods or ground. If a tree falls in my forest, I will hear it.