I am digging up a patch of earth. It is thick with wire grass. Wire grass invades. Wire grass will go from one tiny buried scrap of rootling to full-fledged Borg in the space of two weeks. It spreads underground with its burrowing clinging fingers of root. I delight in pulling it up, obsessively tracking each narrow leaf to its obstinate origin, often unearthing other tracks of wiry malice as I go. I do this, thinking of how green my greens will be. How our cat and the cats of our neighbors will somehow not prowl through the patch of earth when the seedlings are nigh to sprouting. How this time we will surely remember to water. How this time the thick white bodies of larvae that I grub with my digging paws will not eat the new shoots.
I am running through the woods. A rabbit crosses my path. That's it. A
warm, brown, breathing rabbit quick as lightning and delightful in its
automatic bounding stride. It is gone. I feel thrilled. I wonder how
along the line of its evolution it learned the trick of noiseless speed.
It's morning. The streetlights are on. Occasionally a lit window announces that an early bird is awake. Through an open window, I can see that someone's screen saver is set on "Stellate." It is the end of a night shift for me and I am jogging, feeling exhilarated to be so wide awake at this dim hour. I jog and jog, obeying my body to the extent that I run slowly, defying it by ignoring the left ankle that hurts with every shuffling step, the cramping gas in my large bowel, and the odd weariness of having slept two hours in the past 24. That's when I hear it: HOO. HOO. Ah, there you are friend; I know you. I have met your cousins, brothers and sisters - you are my friend. I stop jogging and walk. An acorn crunches under my foot. There's that barely-there low moan and then HOO. HOO. I strain to hear an answering "hooo," but it never comes. Just one more HOO and our paths diverge again. I thank my lucky stars that the owl is not picky about screen savers.
We take our bats for granted. They catch our attention and we say: Bat. Our family pauses, looks up at the dimming dusk, and watches the jagged path of the bat. Vivian says: it's catching mosquitos.
I get into my burning hot Subaru at midday. I start the engine and
inhale the dusty automotive odor of an overhot car that will surely not
pass emissions this year. I drive through a horrible hot intersection
then roll to a stop outside Sunrise Senior Living. Something catches my
eye - something inside the car. I glance down to follow the motion my
brain barely perceived amid the visual din. It's a bright green
wisp-thin new grasshopper, obviously young. Its eyes stand up on front
of its squared-off head. No sooner can I take note of its unlikely
presence than it has jumpflown out the window. I am going Right to
Grady. It goes straight to Decatur Square.
I am driving out of Grady way before dawn. I cut beneath the unlit
underpass where the freeway flies overhead unseen. Down here, live
horizontal bodies lie wrapped in coverings along a wide sidewalk. The
shapes of sleeping men and women form long lumps perpendicular to the
road, evenly spaced, colorful in my headlights. I try to imagine this as
bad - homelessness. Surely it is bad. But here under this bridge
everyone seems to have their space. Sometimes I see someone sit up or
roll over. Nobody's making trouble. As I pass out the other side again
into the purview of the streetlights, I look up out of my open window at
the blueblack sky beyond. I see the dark black shape of some smaller
predatory nightbird against the sky. For an instant its underside is lit
up - white and buff against the streetlight, darker wingtips. Then it