Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tumbleweeds, Dogs And Cats

There is a piece of residential property right in the center of town.
It is a fully ramshackle-fenced piece of land, has multiple trees, and also has a really awful mobile home right in its center.
It used to belong to a very elderly lady who lived in this town her entire life until she died late last year.
She was the daughter of the founder of the town and I knew her very little.
I had spoken with the woman only a few times before her death, and although someone in town cared for her in her last year and anticipated that the property would eventually go to him upon her death, the land actually ended up in the hands of her nephew.
The deer love this piece of land. 
 It has many trees to provide both shelter from the weather and cover from would-be predators.  And the old lady fed the deer.
Even now - a year after her death - the deer jump over the fence and disappear into the trees.
The old lady was also apparently a cat hoarder, and I have heard stories about bags of cat food simply being broken open in a large empty building to feed the many cats that she kept.
This nasty mobile home and what would be a really nice piece of land if it were cleaned up, are still home to a number of cats that now roam wild.
Kory knows where they live and during the spring and summer when she would break from the house, this cat-haven was always the first place we went in search of her.
Sometimes we found our dog heading for the alley that borders the place.  Sometimes she was headed for one of two other cat-places that are in town.
Thankfully we always got to her before she got to the cats and chickens that wander freely on the properties .
I say thankfully, because I always had this image in my mind of sorrowfully handing someone's cat back to them one piece at a time.
Pasty I'm sorry............Here's your cat back...........Here's the head.............Oh and I found a leg!
Although it has been a year since the old woman died, cats still roam.
Not a lot.  Just a handful.
But the fact that they have survived the coyotes speaks volumes about their survival instincts.
A few days ago I walked with my dog in town and as we approached the alley she became very animated as she always does.
A cat was standing on top of a tree-trunk turned fence post.................
These kinds of interactions happen at least once a week.
Kory dances and lunges and stares, and the cats look down from their safe, elevated perches and hiss angrily.
If Kory ever got one there would be a struggle of epic proportions, and somehow I think that my dog might actually come out on the losing end of those battles.
My goofy, spoiled dog does not realize that these wild cats have survival instincts that she knows nothing about.............
A few days ago I walked on a trail that circles all the way around the back of town.
It is not a long walk - maybe a mile and a half.
I like to wander it late in the day with Kory.  It allows me to get out of town without having to wander too far or be too concerned about coyotes.
It gives Kory one more chance to be off leash.
And it silently allows me the opportunity to look out over an endless and wide open land that is both uncomplicated and beautiful.
We usually enter the trail on the far left side of town, walk up the trail, turn right to walk the length of town, and then walk back down the trail on the far right side of town, hit the road and meander our way back to the house.
At this time of year, and at this time of day, something magical happens to the light, and the colors of the world suddenly becomes sharper................
On this day I turned the corner, moved from one trail to the next and then stopped for a moment, surprised at the sight in front of me.
They were piled high and stacked tightly up against the fence that ran the entire length of the trail.
I smiled when I saw them.
It had been very windy the day before this walk, and I knew that the wind had blown the tumbleweeds across the desert floor until they inevitably came to rest after bumping into one object or another.
In this case it was a fence.
I have dug tumbleweeds out from bushes.............I have even pulled them out of trees in the yard.
LC and I jokingly tell them to "be free little tumbleweed!" whenever we dig them out and toss them over the fence so that they can continue their journey the next time the wind blows.
There have been times when we have stood outside the house and watched one tumbleweed after another blowing across BLM land, and then watched as they blew through town and continued on their way.
Watching the Tumbleweed Races.
I watched a western movie with LC one night a couple of years ago.  
Actually, I half watched a movie - paying occasional attention to it the way I pay occasional attention to James Bond movies.
The female character in the movie was a widow who lived in an isolated homestead with her young children.
As a lonely woman living in a barren, inhospitable land she would write poems and internal thoughts on small pieces of paper, tie her writings to tumbleweeds and then set them free.
Her lonely thoughts scattered to the winds.
Eventually (and inevitably) cowboys out on the range would find her writings, read her deep, lonely, internal thoughts and wonder who that woman was.................
The deer are slowly beginning to return to town.
One here.  Two there. 
A mother and fawn sitting and standing in one of the alleys.
I zoomed my camera in quite a bit to snap this picture, so Kory and I were not close to them.
But they were wary and watchful anyway...............
One more walk with my pup late in the day.
This was actually the same trail that we walked in the pictures above - just walking in the opposite direction.............
Contentedly chewing on a bone that she found out on BLM land................
She was a woman of extended silences, I noticed, and she said very little as we walked the streets of La Boca, looking at its brightly colored houses. It was as if she understood that quiet observation was the key to knowing a place, perhaps even the key to life.............Thomas H. Cook, The Crime Of Julian Wells

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