I left the house on foot which is an interesting story in itself because mostly I take my bike. But due to complications for the life of me I am unable to articulate at this time, I walked down sunny Airport Road (named that because if you keep going you'll get the next flight to Des Moines). Thought to myself, it's good to get out of the house every once in a while.
Immediately came in contact with a squirrel who asked for whatever snacks I was carrying. When I said I didn't carry any snacks, he dashed. Moving on, I wondered why my parents never moved to the country. Dad needs his golf and I understand the country has plenty of those, but he also needs a more diverse social network, of which we all know the beach (where they spend most weekends) only has one and its transient and full of bums. Country likely to drive them equally insane. Meanwhile Mom, she shops till she drops. Impulsively too. She sprang up and bolted for Home Depot at quarter to nine last night. Dad had no idea where she went. She came home later and boasted of six rolls of packing tape for twelve bucks. Rocking the suburbs.
I myself like the excellent reserve located opposite Costco where I consider it good luck if I spot a red-winged blackbird or a great blue heron. Lately I've been bickering to myself about the dearth of lucky sightings, only had one this summer. With this occupying my mind, I saw a deer coming out of Costco and entering the glade on the right.
I sat cross-legged under the canopy of a big pine tree and observed the youngster. The deer, perhaps a teen, with velvet knobs protruding from its head, was relaxed enough to munch on some weeds, while I sat astonished that the venison backstrap I had eaten over at Dirk's the night before didn't morally outrage my tum-tum and cause me to quiver. Curious, the deer started towards me. It came within fifteen feet. I made a note. “I can't tell you how immensely curious this creature is. Can't say it's operating with a full deck. It's just so damned inquisitive, a characteristic I didn't think deers could afford to have. Fans from an industrial plant whir in the forefront.” The doe ran back to Costco when I tried to feed her some blackberries I had picked especially for her. Hungry for another cheese and wienie sampler, I presumed. A bit breathless I sat down at a park bench inside the reserve, while a vulture and a helicopter competed for airspace above. I thought a lot about my animal magnetism after this deer almost jumped me.
There's a letter in this month's Vanity Fair responding to an article by Christopher Hitchen's entitled Martin, Margaret and Me. The Martin of course is Mr. Amis. Yet to investigate who this Margaret is; at a guess I'd say Mitchell who authored Gone with the Wind. Not actually sure if the reader read the article because all she mentioned was the photo spread, Amis' gaze, his animal magnetism. His gaze is just like Byron's, she writes, as if she went to school with Byron or something. I once remarked at a party with a cat on my lap that lately cat's have been curiously drawn to me. I said this with utmost sincerity, of course, and of course one of Sean's friends dismissed it as a sly pick-up line because I'm a sensitive guy.
Normally I take my iPOD on these critter-watching expeditions; a half-arsed foray if there ever was one. Imagine Jim Harrison, whose brilliant memoir Off to the Side I just finished, taking his iPOD with him on a hunt. It'd never happen. Harrison loves the sound of the wild and so do I, to a certain degree, but sooner or later, I'd want to pump Pavement through the Sequoias at full volume. I suppose this fact makes me a city boy. I must say I rather liked visiting the reserve without my iPOD. I had it in my pocket but never played it.
In addition to the blackbirds and heron, I'm also fond of an ugly white carp with a peachy face who feeds on the pond's bottom. I rarely see it; been tracking the ole boy for weeks now, the time I did see it, he followed me around the pond magnetically.
After the deer run-in, I walked to the pond and came down to a sunny opening between the reeds and looked to my left, and lo and behold, the magnificent black splotches and white silvery scales of the elusive carp! What a vision! At the same time rather chilling too. Did Melville have this palate in mind? I watched it for twenty minutes slithering through the mossy caverns, disappearing and then its silver body would become visible through the dirty brown weeds once again. It followed me around the pond, probably not enough for me to say I was truly magnetic, but there was something pretty special going on there between us for at least ten feet or so.