Ranch Notes

At five in the morning, a woodpecker sets up the kind of racket that panics householders. _Bang! Bang!_ Is it the boiler? Or a burglar? _Bang! Bang! Bang!_ The fat neighbor cat who clicks across the roof at night never shows up when you need her.

After an early-morning gatecrash swim at the nudist camp next door I hang a towel on the clothes line. Soon the bugs with red underwings turn it into a page in a fully-illustrated bug kama sutra. Afterwards they weave around the garden, drowsy with sex and sun. A flycatcher takes up a sniper post on the clothes line above them, her head jerking as if under a strobe light.

Below, a pair of housefinches browses branches on a white-blossomed bush, like newlyweds at the Pottery Barn curtain rack. A hummingbird sizes up the possibility my red shirt is a giant blossom. Eventually he decides I’m a timewaster and whirrs off, dropping into some aerial calligraphy to impress the girls.

A doe and a fawn stumble through the trees. Lucky, the ancient, anxious chow down the hill, has no interest in female dogs, but he loves does. He looks up, interested, and then worries his boner. I wish he wouldn’t.

The garter snakes are shy.

We hear Rocky cantering back up to the stable.

    “I wonder what the poor people are doing today,” says Tim, as he always does.
    “We live like kings,” I say, as I always do.

5 thoughts on “Ranch Notes”

  1. Ah! So, somebody else in the world says “I wonder what the poor people are doing today,” too! We say it in my family, whenever things are going particularly well, and on those rare occasions when I say it outside the family circle, I get very weird looks.

    It’s kind of hard to explain, especially as I have no idea where the line comes from.


  2. Right. We usually mean the poor sods chained to their zillion-dollar houses and fancy cars, but that’s not always how it comes off.


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