Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Furthest Thing From My Mind

Tuesday was a busy day in the yard. We had out of town guests over the weekend, not to mention a serious downpour on Sunday, so we didn't get back into garden or yard clean up until Tuesday. I spent most of the day out on the orchard side of the yard in one small area, pulling tansy, yanking volunteer coreopsis and lavender. Roger was working on the other side of the yard in the garden. He screened the compost and made beautiful rich soil for planting beet and carrot seeds.
It was quite a productive day. I found this snakeskin while I was weeding the coreopsis. I pulled a small bush from the ground and found these papery remains snaked throughout the small branches, as if the snake had slithered through the tight space allowing the stems to help it out of its skin. I thought first of Pablo, who had also recently found a snakeskin in an entirely different setting. I thought how great it is to read blogs from all over the country to get an idea of what people and snakes are doing out there in the woods. I also thought of Dick Cheney, although I felt bad for maligning the snake with such a connection. I've been reading three days of the Washington Post's expose on the man, it's hard not to think of Dick after finding the cast off husk of creepy, slithering, belly-crawling critters.

I came in the house wanting to write a post about the snakeskin, but I sat at the computer and just couldn't come up with the right metaphors. I gave up and decided to go out to see Roger and how things were coming along on the garden side of the yard. I walked out the door in his direction, but that's when I heard the crows making a blasted racket on the side of the yard where I had just pulled all those weeds and flowers. I thought, Oh shit, I must have exposed a nest. The crows have been raiding the song bird nests all over our yard. Damn. I ran over there shouting my fool head off at them. I heard the juncos making their click clicking sound. They're just like a neon sign pointing to their nests, so I took it as confirmation that their nest was in trouble. One crow was on the shed roof, two were in the fruit trees in the orchard.

"Get out of here. Go on. Shut your mouths and get out of here." Oh yeah, I was yelling and running straight into the orchard, and the crows were still cawing and cawing. That's when I saw it, a bobcat not more than 50 feet from me. It was standing still in the orchard next to the fence watching me. It nonchalantly tried to slip through a 3" x 6" part of the fencing, but chose a space that it couldn't quite fit through, so it backed out and tried a bit higher where the spaces are larger. I stood there with my mouth in mid-yell. It stopped on the other side of the fence, turned around and looked at me. I looked right back, and waved "Oh hi." It opened its mouth and said something back, but I was too far away to hear. Then it disappeared into the trees.

I ran into the house to get the camera, and then straight out the front door to the road. I thought I might catch it crossing the road, heading up to the hill on the other side, but it didn't go that way. I ran further up the road past our neighbor's house to where two new houses are being built. I stood there with a view of both roads. Sure enough, the bobcat came out of the trees far down the road where the new houses are. I clicked this one photo before it disappeared again.

The bobcat is obviously still spending more time in the yard than we're aware. If the crows hadn't alerted me, I would have never known. That's what I get for being lost in thought about Dick Cheney and really bad Supreme Court decisions. A bobcat was the furthest thing from my mind.

Do you have any really good metaphors for snakeskins and Dick Cheney?

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