Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rodent Karma

Yesterday morning, driving to the office, I saw a squirrel get hit by the car in front of me. He had done that typical squirrel-about-to-get-hit thing: dashed into the road, saw the car, dashed back, reversed, reversed again, dashed forward again, hit the tire. The sort of unfolding drama where you say "No! No! Yes! No! Yes! No! NO!!" I saw him knocked in a somersault, land on his back, and collapse motionless. I hate seeing animals snuffed out like that. I always think of 9, and how, after all this effort to keep him from dying of heart failure, he might at any moment die from being hit by a car or falling off a fence or getting mauled by a dog or stoned by a neighborhood delinquent. Or how this could happen to any of us, for that matter. I dislike being reminded of the extreme fragility of life.

Back home last night, we heard a strange clattering and chirping sound upstairs. After a lot of searching, we found a terrified chipmunk cowering in the bathroom behind 9's litter box. Is it easy to get a chipmunk out of your second-floor bathroom? No, it isn't. He was very small, a very good climber, and very, very fast. After trying various capturing stragegies and chasing him from room to room, he ran up a window screen and hid in an inaccessible point behind the window frame. I opened the window, figuring he might eventually come down and find his way out, but it was a long, shear drop to the ground, with nothing to climb down. I found a piece of thick sisal rope in the cellar and lowered a length of it out the window to the backyard. I left him a little dish of water on the windowsill and went back to bed. In the morning, he was gone. I think he actually climbed down the rope. I feel like yesterday the rodents sort of broke even. P.S. He was awfully cute. Check out the "STOP, In the name of love!" dance move he did while trapped behind the window.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ran Aground In A Harbour Town

Sandra Lee and I have been preparing for a little journey up the coast of the Smallish State next month. To that end there has been a great deal of repairing, improving, overhauling, installing, rewiring, drilling, sealing, whipping, splicing, seizing, greasing, oiling, and, when all else fails (as it usually does with autopilots), sending-back-to-the-factory-for-refurbishing. Today I successfully spliced an anchor line to put a new steel eye in it, which made me feel good.

At the same time, the age-old dream of crossing real oceans in my own boat seems lost at sea, or at least so overdue that we might realistically consider the possibility that it will never arrive. For a year or more I paced the metaphorical widow’s walk hoping to see it returning. But now I’ve decided to sell off the offshore gear accumulated over the years of dreaming—my sextant, an emergency watermaker, a set of rigging cutters, celestial navigation sight reduction tables… It makes me somewhat sad, but seems like the thing to do. You’ll find it all on ebay, if you’re thinking of setting sail. Fair winds.

Monday, July 02, 2007

26 sometimes says that living in the Smallish State is like being in an abusive relationship. For some many days, for so many months of the year, it's just bad. It's mean, it's cold, it's ugly, it's depressing, sometimes it's physically painful. Any sane person thinks about leaving, maybe even does leave for the Virgin Islands or Taos or North Carolina. Yet we come back, because when it's good, it's so good. Even if it's only a handful of days a year.

This is how one of those good days ends: A pastel sunset, and almost-full moon, an indigo sea, lush green islands, and a little bright-red wooden catboat dancing across your bow. It's hard to leave.