Night in Tsuwano
I thought fear and love were twin moons, and by an optical trick one resolved into the other so that fear was a love shy of not meeting its object, or shy of meeting it.
I got out of bed, crossed the dark town and climbed through the thousand gates of Taikodani Shrine.
The cat sleeps away the hot days in closets and on cabinets, thinks feet covered by a blanket are beneath her on the food chain, at intervals stretches to twice her usual standing height, insists on acknowledgment of her ancient rights but submits to R.’s swooping embraces from above.
The big dog, German Shepherd with some shaggy mountain mix, shrugs off other dogs’ tantrums, blissfully tears apart every toy she is given, has pledged to sniff every inch of sidewalk in the surrounding square mile, is shy of new people but wags her tail at J. in expectation of being led to the promised land.
We’ve all heard the owl in the backyard tree (barn, I think?), and J. and R. have seen its shadow winging back and forth.
Taking out the trash, I met a cat with a huge fur stole of a tail. Fox? I had to call J. out for confirmation. It was unshy and moved only slightly from the shadows to crouch in the glow of the streetlamp, sleek and gray, as I wheeled out the trash and recycling and green waste in series, keeping its snout pointed at me in agonies to know what was under the lids.
Skunks in headlights, smell of skunk battles gone by.
We walked bikes and the dog to the park, met other dogs, and R. ran ahead and called back, “There's a dog here with no person!” We followed and found it staring at us over its shoulder. My first thought was that the trash fox had followed us and expanded like Mephistopheles. “That’s a coyote, R.” It loped away.
J. took the dog for an outing at nightfall and startled an antlered stag into leaping up the hill.
Life in an urban zoo!
A university building at dusk.
I went round a corner to be alone. For the next 45 minutes no one needs me.
Inhospitably clean hallway light. I look over a scattering of research posters that have nothing to do with me, sit in a chair not intended for me because it’s not intended for anyone at this hour. The doors aren’t locked, but no one is quite supposed to be here.
As a kid passing through deserted, unwatched buildings at the University of Arizona, I discovered the comfort of spaces that didn’t have me in mind. I wanted not to belong to them. It’s so much easier to be a visitor, a haunt, than a regular. But that was many years ago, and when I catch myself now in the mirror of an empty bathroom I look like a madman.
happy birthday Mr. Meat!
Thank you, comment box! We hauled a terrible old dishwasher to the recycling center, J. took me out for coffee and a pizza lunch and we bought a small Japanese maple that is supposed to get bigger in the elevated garden if we treat it right. Back out for burritos in the evening, I helped R. with her math homework while they got wrapped: Zeus gives Paris a bunch of apples, Paris eats half his supply then another half apple, half the remaining supply then another half apple, half the remaining supply and so on; Paris really likes apples. J. says they should have checked whether Paris was a pig. We imagine three put-out goddesses waiting around the backdrop.
R., now eight, takes the world racing, on her bike or otherwise, and swallows pretty much anything it throws at her, until all at once she can’t. At school, in public, she takes it like Marcus Aurelius. But at home she’ll collapse on herself, and it’s awful how quickly she can lock herself into a small container and lose her path out. I know how it is because I still do it as well, in my quieter way.
The spreading eucalyptuses at the BART station seem to have something enormous weighing them down. It must be all those Chinese paintings (not only Chinese paintings) that put me in the doubtful habit of giving moods to trees.