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September 22, 2014

Maybe September

And maybe in September, the seasons changed.

On Friday morning, the snows returned, pushing down summer's grasses. Releasing the seeds of next year's fields. The Scrub Oaks faded from green to brown and surrendered their leaves into the fields.

A Sharp-shinned Hawk, new to the area, discovered the neighbor's chickens and came to rest. Waiting for the chickens to make a mistake. To step out into the open, so that he might pounce down on them above.

In the evening, the clouds moved in, delivering thick monsoon rains of summer, so that no one might think we lived in a desert any more. But the rains went against the climate change models, so no one talked about the rains. Only the mountains that had once been brown by summers end were as green as May fields now. And no one talked of it. And no one spoke of it. Only we grew to love the green jungle mountains now. And if the eastern face of the Rockies grew as green as the western face, no one spoke of it.

Somehwhere overhead, the airplanes wandered across broad skies.

A dove coos softly from the neighbor's new roof.

It's so easy to see what's here. So hard to notice what's not here. The way the trees disappeared when I crossed Atigun's Pass, but I failed to notice. You look out and see only arctic tundra, but I never noticed that the trees had gone. I missed that somehow.

What's not here now is the lazy hammers of summer. They've all been put away. Packed away for the winter. And the hummingbirds. The hummingbirds have gone now. They were here last week but not I notice that they've flown south for the winter. It's so hard to sit here and notice what's missing. But somehow I feel obligated. Challenged to note what's gone.

The Dandelions are all gone. They've all spent their seeds up on the winds.

The spots on the deer have nearly faded away.

Chick-a-dee-dee-dee they call, hammering from the feeders. Beneath the feeders, the skunks move in to eat the seeds. Something startles the skunks, and they spray the front of my house. So I trap the skunks. But nothing is worse than having a live skunk in a live animal trap. I want to just let them die slowly, but Bud won't have it. I have to shoot them. It's the right thing to do.

It's funny to think how we all have our own ideas about right and wrong. I don't approve of all of the animals he shoots, and vice versa. Everyone has their own little set of principles, of right and wrong. What to let live, and what to let die.

And beneath the dense jungled desert grasses, the cats pounced on mice, birds, and grasshoppers.

Anything they caught was hurried inside and released so that it might be caught again, and again. Live an old soldier, reliving the victories of his youth.

Everything lives in fear of the cats, except the foxes and the skunks. They seem content to coexist. The cats go nose-to-nose with the skunks and the foxes, but no one wants to take it any further, really.

And maybe, the dogs bark off in the distance. And the Mountain Chickadees split seeds from the feeder on the branches of the Mountain Lilac.

An imposter flies down onto the fence, calling like a crow, but unconvincingly so. It's not a crow. It's a Stellar's Jay imitating a crow, for reasons only he might imagine. He imitates many birds...a Red-tailed Hawk and a Crow are just a few of the birds I've heard him imitate. But only he's not so convincing to me. I know when it's him. He's not fooling me.

Everyone grows up and then drifts away, like dandelion seeds on the wind. Leaving behind these old, furrowed fields. Plowed too deep and too long. Wasting away beneath short summer suns, but no new people come into the mountains. Only the people seem to age, but never die, like the methusula trees that paint the tree lines onto the mountains.

Everyone fades and cracks. Shuffling aimlessly, frail and brittle through empty houses wondering where the sun has gone. Where the birds have flown. When they'll return. And what's it all for, anyway?

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 22, 2014 at 4:40 PM


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