Seen this week while walking the dog in our strange neighborhood, where completely urban developments give way rather abruptly to a strip of wetlands and a weed-choked river most popularly known locally as an ideal spot for the disposal of dead bodies:
- A single horse, pastured in a field right next to a baseball diamond, very intently watching the game in progress with a look on his face that implied a certain nostalgia. It was as if he was thinking of the long-ago days of his foalhood, when he’d believed he truly could do anything, be anything, before he’d realized that it is, in fact, impossible to play baseball if you are a horse.
- A beaver swimming in the river. The water was a milky blue and every time the beaver dived it disappeared almost instantly. (Our third beaver sighting, but the second one was dead, so the dog and I argue about whether that one counts. Trudeau likes dead things and wants to eat and/or roll around in them, so I’m sure you can figure out which side of the argument he’s on.)
- A mother duck and sizable collection of ducklings, who couldn’t decide whether to be more scared of me and my dog or the horse rider coming from the opposite direction. If they hadn’t moved in the first place, we wouldn’t have ever known they were there, but ducks are apparently very loud when alarmed. Everybody stopped for a moment, just to see what the ducks were going to do, because it’s an unspoken rule of the wetlands path that waterfowl have the right of way. Thankfully, the ducks realized they were ducks and therefore didn’t have to actually linger right next to the paved pathway when there were quite a few acres of wetlands at their disposal instead. You couldn’t have thought of that earlier, ducks? Come on.
- A stately doe, walking unhurriedly down from the parking lot of a performing arts center, as if she was just leaving the evening’s show, beating the crowds on her way back into the woods. She was there and then abruptly gone, and if the dog had not enthusiastically indicated his desire to chase her, I might have thought I’d imagined her completely.
- A small snake, sunning itself in the middle of a walkway in the middle of the night, apparently unfazed by the lack of actual sun. The darkness also made it impossible to tell whether this was, in fact, a common garter snake as its size and location implied, or some other more exotic form of highly venomous but unknown-because-I’m-just-not-into-herpetology species. I suspect that might be why it goes out at night, that it gets a rush from watching larger, more deadly life forms walk slowly and carefully around it, giving it the space and respect it deserves, because they just aren’t sure whether it’s actually deadly or not. I’m onto you, snake.
- A very happy dog, who seems to think that all the world is a back-scratcher, and everything looks more interesting when it’s upside down.