Crashing through the Snow

Few things are as visibly expressive of joy as a dog bounding excitedly through deep snow. Except, possibly, a whole bunch of dogs, plus a whole cadre of little kids, leaping, tunneling, floundering, grinning, and generally exploding their way through the same drifts.
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The problem with being an adult human is that we become so conscious of our creakiness and increasingly inflexible bodies, so obsessed with the dangers of having an infarction while shoveling or being speared in the forehead by a forty-pound icicle from the eaves, so hung up on our supposed decorum and dignity, that we stop risking not only true dangers but the possibility of gleefully tipping arse-over-teakettle into a billowing heap of powdery snow. It’s really too bad, because an occasional tumble from the pedestals we prop ourselves on, a momentary reminder of our own foolish frailty, and a smart whack on the overly fixed sense of reality is well worth a little bruising on ego and elbow. It might just teach us a renewed appreciation for the beauties of snow and nature. Why, if one were to be exceedingly incautious in the event, it might even turn out to be fun.

Persistent Admirers

digital illustrationLeave the Help at Home

Off she went to see the market, basket full of goods and greens,

And the fond companions with her came to see the market’s scenes,

Prancing, dancing, baying, barking, nipping at her head and heels;

By the time they neared the city, all beset by crowds and wheels,

She her petticoats beribboned had all stained and soiled and torn;

Hat askew and heels unbuckled, basket broken, cob and corn

Strewn, her lettuces and flowers flung amain, and so she sat

In the rutted road’s dry scours, in the dust, and that was that–

No point now to going onward to the market if she would,

Dog and pony show now ended (at the least, that part was good)–

Then the animals felt sorry for the chaos and the mess,

Made a show to make her cheery, give her back her happiness.

Nothing mended for the market, recompense for not a sou,

But she smiled at how they capered, no more anger and to-do,

And they picked up, swift and swishing, tails and coattails all a-sway,

Backward home, though she was wishing it had gone another way;

To the market back, tomorrow, she would go to sell her wares,

But avoid her current sorrow,

Locking up those pranks of theirs!

Way Out Here in Texas

photoOld Hands

Been out in weeds, in the way-back forty,

Tumbling along by the dry mesquite,

Rambling and ambling the afternoon by

With nary a stop to rest or eat

This is the way the daytime passes,

Angus at left, longhorns to the right,

A couple of dogs at our heels to steer them

Until we whistle them in at night

Some things change on the range with passing

Time and tide and the phase of moon,

With years and advances and techno-wonders,

But none of this here’s like to change so soon,

And why should it do? We still will mosey

And saunter our way through the rolling plain

As long as the longhorns and the Angus

And we need to too, we’ll all remainphoto

Question: What are Saturdays?

My answer: Saturdays are for both horsing around and embracing my dogged pursuits. Laziness and productivity. Rambling and re-energizing. Drawing on my strengths and, well, just drawing.

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Some of Saturday should be for just horsing around . . .

So I’ll try to get a few useful things done (chores: Check! exercise: Check! planning for the week ahead: Checkmate!) and I’ll also relax and indulge in those forays into the fantastic that make all of the useful things possible. What is Saturday to you?

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. . . and some should be for showing my dogged devotion.

 

Not All My Animal Companions Live Indoors

While I’m channeling the warmth and fuzziness of friendly fauna from last week’s travels, I will clarify for you that I’m attracted to all sorts of critters, not just household dogs and cats. Like you’re surprised by that. Anyway, seems like a good time to share some of the other photos I took on the trip so you can all enjoy them too. Because I know, of course, that if you’re spending time hanging around here it just proves you also have excellent taste, so you’re bound to like my little borrowed menagerie of friends too. Just remember not to feed the wildlife.photophoto

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photoAnother small point to clarify: the title of today’s post was not a reference to my spouse. Though he is my favorite companion and my pet.

Wordless Wednesday with Wiggles, Wags & Warmth*

*(Dog & cat friends from the last week)

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The venerable Tyree

 

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Puppy Milo, a.k.a. Milo Minute

 

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Ruffian, doing what she does best–lounging languidly

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Mercer, ruling from on high (where he can be both imperious and safely out of reach of all scary things)

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Fly by Night

graphite drawingBeguiling Moonlight

Every autumn evening, at the end of day,

The moon’s pale eminence sends out a silver-shining ray

A-glinting through the branches and glimmering on leaves

And shimmering on spiderwebs tucked underneath the eaves

And calling all the kitty-cats from shadowed alleys out

To torment all the night-birds still fluttering about,

And drawing from their houses the dogs behind the slats

Of shuttered sleepy windows to torment all the cats,

And pulling on the heart-strings of every sleepy child

To call each one to play out in the moonlight, in the wild,

To dance among the cat-kins and soar among the birds

And leap among the moon-mad dogs and sing the magic words

That cast a spell of loveliness on creatures so, and soon,

We’ll fall asleep, each one of us, under the autumn moon.

Hot Flash Fiction 1: Pedigreed

I know it’s been around, arguably, for generations, but the extreme short story seems to have undergone quite the revival in recent times, being popularly called in the English-speaking and -writing world Flash Fiction. Me, I’m an old lady and slow to keep up with any sort of trend. Or, to give myself partial credit, I am so old that I was already around the first time half this stuff was popular.

Never mind all of that. In the way of condensed arts, I’ve always been particularly enamored of short forms, miniatures and compact performances that have rich enough content to hold up under speedy scrutiny yet continue to beckon one for a second and third and thirtieth look, or at the very least, to get one’s nose a whole lot closer to the subject before waving farewell. That applies to works by others (short stories, small photos and drawings, children’s books, one-act plays, songs comprising one or two brief movements, and snappy quatrains), and very much to my own productions. Since you lovely people already know full well that I have the attention span of an end-of-season Mayfly, you can easily surmise that this obsession with tiny-tude is merely a natural outgrowth of my laziness and tangential, caroming path through life.

Which is, of course, partly true. But I’ve also been known to commit to larger-scale projects and yes, in real life, honest-to-goodness fact, to complete them, too. Sometimes, I’ll readily admit, this happens at a very, verrrrrrrrrrry slow pace. But though I have made murals twenty feet wide, rebuilt gardens from the bulldozer up, written and/or drawn every single day for years at a time, my heart does retain its deep affection for the minute, yea verily for that minutiae that can happen in a minute. But only if it’s worth the effort. There are still those larger goals to be achieved and metaphorical mountains to be climbed that require my continuing attentions between spurts of compact acting. And it’s the very change from the massive to the mini that makes those idiosyncratic idioms of iota-size such excellent crevice fillers and so appealing as a respite from larger concerns.

So, old though I may be, I’m trailing in the dust of your every trend–unless you’ll allow that I am only lapping myself in circles, having written couplets, sketched 3-second figures and made one-bite desserts since I was hardly bigger than a molecule myself. I like to think that I’m gradually getting better than I was back then, at least. Practice, practice.digital collage

They were justifiably proud of their daughter’s pedigree, but it was precisely this family resemblance that first drew the unkind attentions of those catty girls in the sorority.

Competitive Edginess

Who really wins or loses when there’s a competition of sorts in hand? Seems there’s usually ample opportunity for both sides to get the better of each other, and even more so, for both to end up battered and belittled by the ordeal. I’m all for battling against one’s own failings and worst characteristics, but by George, I’d rather not have anyone else taking advantage of my myriad weaknesses. I feel a certain–possibly smug–contentment right here on the sidelines, watching all of the other snarling and smirking dupes work themselves into a froth by attempting to best each other all the time, knowing as I do that as long as it is a competition, somebody’s bound to come out on the bottom of the stack.

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Join Me for Dinner

The beast that ate the hunting dogs

Was fatter than a hundred hogs

But oddly still was hungry when

The hunters chased him down again

So dinnertime—you’ll be delighted—

Found dogs and masters reunited.

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Whistle a Happy Tune & Sit in the Catbird Seat

About six million starlings

Roosting on the overpass

May pass the evening pleasantly

By dumping on the grass

While singing chirpy little tunes

Of evening’s charming cheer,

But just remember their first task

If you should drive too near.

Their cat companions lie in wait,

Meanwhile, beneath your couch;

When you come home, they like to roam

Right in your path, then crouch,

Paws up, complaining with a scream

If you should chance to trip

Upon their fine reclining place;

They’ll fly right off to rip

That couch to ribbons, smithereens,

On this remote pretext,

And if you scold or turn them cold,

They’ll turn and rip you next.

A Visitation from Gotcha and You-Know-Who

Ha! Just when the 100°F+  (38°C) weather has dragged on long enough for me to start whining about the lack of lively things happening in my garden and haul out the photo albums of earlier spring and summer shots to moon and maunder over, This. We came driving down to the end of our driveway last night after a concert and I saw something shining in the farthest reaches of our headlights. Then a twitch of movement. Saw a flash of pinkish color in the dim illumination.

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Halt! Who goes there?

After three years of living in Texas and only one sighting of an armadillo other than the variety occasionally spotted in a sort of worn-area-rug likeness on desolate stretches of highway, there in my own backyard were a pair of waddling ‘dillos searching the perimeter of the house for tasty bugs and grubs. I’ve known, of course, that living on a property that shares its back border with a little greenbelt ravine, we have all sorts of creatures–possums, raccoons, birds, insects, squirrels, wild rabbits, and the assortment of neighborhood cats and dogs that keep an eye on them all–there were likely armadillos too. I’ve heard from various locals of such residents as wild turkeys and coyotes, as well, and heard from a bobcat itself that it at least formerly inhabited our little slice of the semi-wildness. But other than the one unfortunate flat armadillo that I once found run over on a neighboring street, I’d not seen any hard evidence of their inhabiting this spot.

So it was a delight to see these funny, eccentric looking and shy nocturnal visitors not only in the neighborhood but in our own yard. They were remarkably unmoved by us, even when my chauffeuring spouse stopped the car, rolled up the automatic garage door and let me clamber out with my little camera to try to catch a glimpse of them to keep. They were already rounding the corner of the house almost immediately after we spotted them, so I crept indoors and out the front door. Our porch lights are meant only to light the porch, so there was no real way to see the critters in that dark, but as soon as I stepped out into the black I could hear bits of rustling off to my right. Yes, they’d come out to investigate the front flowerbeds and rummage in the buffet at the foot of the oak trees.

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You don’t scare us, we’re just deeply disinterested in your measly (and inedible) humanity when there’s an all-you-can-eat bug fest here.

Lacking any fabulous infrared spy camera or night vision goggles for the occasion, I simply took my little point-and-shoot in hand and, well, pointed and shot. Aimed for the scuffling and shuffling sounds as best I could. Caught a couple of quick little glimpses as the flash went off in its nearly random way. And rejoiced that these delightfully surreal animals had decided for once to pay me a visit when I could actually be on hand to appreciate it. Life does go on, no matter the weather, the season or the condition of my plants. After all, if the plants had continued to be too vigorous, the insects wouldn’t find such rich dining on them and there would be little fascinating forage for my miniature garden-zeppelin friends. And I do thank them for helping with the insect-control efforts here. And probably, for some free fertilizer in the bargain, especially if I startled anyone with my camera flash.

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Two long-tailed blimps bumbling around in the dirt by night . . . what could be better!