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Weird Critter Morning
Cascadia: January 31, 2022
Something strange gave this day.
The local weather reports are not useful, as micro-climates abound in this area.
Mount Rainier alone, has its own unique weather system, generates its own cloud banks and hides like a mythic island in the sky.
One often wakes here among misty fog, walks up over the shoulder of the mountain through gray rain, finds at the saddle of the next mountain a blue azure hole in the clouds admitting a blazing sun, then walks down over the mountain int the watershed into a snow-choked ice box, 20 degrees coldeer, all within 3.5 miles.
I’m restoring a washed out private road by hand, wanting to shovel on dry days and let the rain tamp down the old road base on wet days and the return with gravel on the next dry day.
The morning is shrouded in mist, the sky invisible.
Two humming birds buzz beyond the six foot glass pains at the foot of the cot here in the pump rum, tapping on the glass, hovering, taping on the glass, hovering.
Three cats prowl down from the woods, feral house cats 30 paces distant, beyond the birds, who roost tiny and flitting in the trees around the pump room. These humming birds have stayed through the snows and ice and are, apparently a retarded local subspecies of stoner humming birds from Seattle.
I leave the pump room, the sound of the door keying anials to action all about:
-Mamma Cat, crouched in menace under the humming bird feeder, uses my giant appearance as a cue to attack the three ferals, who give flight, imagining a human feline alliance.
-The humming birds are no clear to feed,
-Two hawks scree above tot he north as two ravens caw and bolt from a cedar to a fir under the hawkish no-fly zones,
-Toby seeing me, opens the door with his right forpaw and greets “Butch Scratch, my dog name, turning his rump for an itch of my hand,
-The black cat arches her back and head butt’s Toby’s chin,
-The owls who serenaded my slumber from the wood-line last night, give a final hoot before the sun rises invisibly behind the mist-cloaked trees…
It is a miserable drizzle and I only have one pair of mud pants clean enough to pull on without fowling the floor of the pump room. The pump room is where the well pump draws water, the freezer for the winter’s halibut and salmon sits and this hoodrat ditcher rests, the handle on the Ryobi table saw on the captain’s File cabinet next to the ct where I now write, serving to hand rosary, eye-patches, ear buds and hat, the base of the saw a shelf for books and flashdrives…
I need to check the drainage while it rains, to make certain I deepen any gutters before laying the 1.5 inch stone driveway surface. I can do this without lacing boots, just slipping the on bare feet and ambling a hundred and fifty yards to the low point in the road before the culvert, which I am making the high point with a series of retaining walls made of beams, old fence posts, re-bar, steel fence posts, boulders, rocks, scarp-cut stakes of old treated timber and 70-pound log rounds from last winter’s deadfall cedar.
As I near the culvert a great crashing comes from the creek below the road where the water is being diverted round-about through the pound above the road… is a great cedar falling and about to crush me?
No, I see, as I look down to the right, three great elk cows, leaping among the deadfalls, saplings and alder, crashing through two inch thick branches like I crush dry grass.
The rain pursisted and I stayed in the pump room and hauled wood to the back of the house from the woodshed, enough to last the next six days while I dig.
I checked the drainage again at noon and the mules, over in the field, regarded me with some curiosity, then went back to shier sheds, letting me now that they did not expect the rain to abate today.
All the day, from 7 A.M. to 5:30 P.M., this heard of 18 elk circled the four acre property, as tall as horses, able to bounce like deer, the great cows keeping an eye on this feral human, the cats and Toby fearful of patrolling the perimeter in their awesome shadow.
Finally, at 5:30, as The Captain returned from “The Colon” [of Seattle] he was obliged to wait his turn coming down the driveway as the heard of elk stood and watched him. A few years back on of them ploughed into his commuter sedan and almost killed him, putting him in the hospital—so they get the right away.
Ever time I went from the pump room to the kitchen, as the cats keep vigil on the porch, humming birds buzzed my ears, using me for cover to the feeder that the Captain’s darling wife warms when necessary so they can get their winter nectar.
This is a blessed winter quarters for a worn-out ivory asphalt ape.
Thank you.
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