Under the Weather

In the night we keep the windows open, and I can hear a train chuffing along, preceded by a ruckus of coyotes, and I’m hot and sweaty, my head filled with words and no sense. I wish I could either sleep or form coherent thoughts, but it’s the usual ghosts that haunt me. They’ll never let me off. And I imagine it will be this way as long as I live.

Meanwhile, the air has been thick as butter, and we’re all slogging through. Animals are coming down from the backcountry and loitering by the creek crossing, hot and thirsty and not particularly inclined to flee when I approach. Yesterday I saw a scraggly coyote as I drove out, and a mule deer as I returned, and in both cases, they looked at me straight on and barely nodded, having staked their rightful claims at the oasis. A neighbor said she saw a mother bobcat and two kittens at the same place a little earlier. Birds have been landing on the deck to dip their beaks into the saucers beneath the planting pots, and along the main road, there’s an ominous gathering of vultures on a telephone wire, waiting.

Things are not looking so good out there in the wider world either, but as Lily Tomlin put it: “Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it.” Sometimes you need to take a break. So I drove to town and ducked into a movie with my girlfriends. The theater was deliciously cool, and we were literally the only three in it. My favorite part of the film was where I fell asleep.

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