Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you up to date on the latest news from our chilly garden. You may remember me from such posts as “An Almost Antlerless Day”, among so many, many others.
Here I am in a characteristic pose. This was taken on Christmas Day.I had to run out to the back fence to see what was there. I forget what it was, now.If you look at either of these pictures and can tear yourself away from looking at me (it’s hard, I know), you see those pieces of wood, one fallen down, on the left side of the shed? Those are old fence pickets which were put up so that raccoons who get on the shed roof can find a way to get off the shed without having to encounter the most vicious and deadly of purebred border collies. (Me.)
The guy I live with said that it was really the other way around. I could get seriously chomped.
But things didn’t turn out the way he imagined they would. (He says they never do.) He did tell his mom how much he had loved Christmas as a kid in Los Angeles, a long time ago. He thought maybe he had never told her that and that it was about time he did.
The guy I live with thought that after taking his mom back to her house (she’s eighty-nine and still lives in her house, which is excellent for her), after the Christmas brunch, that we would just spend the evening together, listening to carols on the radio. There weren’t any carols, just this generic Christmas stuff, so the radio was turned off. He did sit on the couch with me, though, for a while.
This is what I did, on Christmas night. The ancient, creaky couch is very comfortable, as I’ve said before.You know how in movies they have a thing called “continuity”? I function as the continuity around here. (And companion, of course.) Except for a few days after Chess died, there have been purebred border collies in the house for over thirty years. He said that some sort of continuity can be worthwhile. We purebred border collies certainly define the word “worthwhile”, if you didn’t know. The guy I live with and I took a nap on the couch together last week, and I liked that a lot.
The guy I live with moped that night, because it was the ninth Christmas since his wife died, and that sense of her receding into the past made him very unhappy. On the other hand, he can still hear her voice, feel her touch, and often expects her to come up the stairs to say that “The Simpsons” is on. He said there’s not much he can do about the passage of time. He listened to the one carol that makes him really sad in that way, too. I’m not sure why he did that. He’s a mystery, sometimes.
It was about twelve degrees this morning. The grasses were poking up through the snow, along the canal. It was certainly nicer inside. That’s snow on my nose. I forget what I was wondering about. It’s always something, around here.It got up to about fifteen degrees (“really toasty”), and the guy I live with went on some errands. He had to go to the post office and called a couple of friends to say if they hadn’t heard from him in a couple of days, that’s where he would be, in line, and that I would need to be fed, cuddled, and taken on walks. But it only took a minute at the post office.
Speaking of cheery, you may think that our house is fairly gloomy at this time of year, but it really isn’t. It’s not decorated the way it used to be, because the guy I live with doesn’t decorate (all of this stuff in the picture is the way it’s been for many years), but he did put candles in the candle-holders. (Except for the pine cone. He forgot that one.) He said that that one little thing, the candles, makes all the difference.And today the guy I live with finally got a picture of the towhee. I think we say “the towhee” because we’ve only seen one, for a couple of years now. These are zoomed-in pictures from the point-and-shoot so not terribly great.
He often wonders why there’s only one towhee. (Between us, we do a lot of wondering.) This is the Spotted Towhee, and in fact we’ve seen it a lot. (The guy I live with thinks this is funny.) I guess the males and females aren’t easy to differentiate, and so maybe we see both and don’t know it.
We have all kinds of birds in the back yard now that the bird bath heater is plugged in. The guy I live with often gets all excited about taking bird pictures and then I go out and scare away the birds. He needs to have more of a sense of humor, there.
Okay, so, now, you may be wondering why winter is the guy I live with’s favorite time of year here. He doesn’t like cold weather and the thought of it makes him “all claustrophobic and stuff”; problems with cars, icy roads, frozen pipes (that happened here once), regretting the passage of time, getting sick; things like that.
While it’s true that he will probably always be sad at this time of year, and snow and cold weather increase the sense of sadness, that changes here so rapidly that it’s hard to be sad for very long.
Right now, at about twenty after ten at night, it’s eleven degrees outside. Eleven. Not very many degrees at all.
It’s supposed to be fifty degrees tomorrow. And even warmer for the rest of the week. No, really. I guess we’re going to have a chinook early tomorrow morning.
Until next time, then.