ghost writer

It’s certainly no longer autumn through the mountain passes.  This indisputable truth was revealed to us a few days ago during a snowy tromp which devolved into a heron-like choreography of frosty one-two-threes (not unlike beleaguered, bundled-up sumo wrestlers) northwardly over-and-sometimes-through thigh-high drifts along an historic, abandoned portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. With surprising accuracy, the boys found it delightful sport to free snow laden boughs (directly above my head) from their wintry burden and it was barely cold enough for tolerating the fluffy blizzard-dusters (warmer but wetter plops can hurt).

It’s shivery up high (unless a Pineapple Express comes along and puts a damper on things) but one of my favorite rituals in the lowlands before autumn really fades and everything turns gray-green is documenting our festering, rotted jack o’ lanterns because that’s when even the most uninspired carvings will take on life their own but owing to the time-honored tradition of post-Hallows Eve pumpkin-smashing by who-the-heck-knows-who (pampered, spoiled rats have been known to pry in search of forgotten seeds and send gourds rolling) my subjects have dwindled to an odd couple perched atop the sidewalk and I expect they’ll be meeting their grisly denouement at any time.

December 2017 - Disgusting Rotted Pumpkins-62-2

Speaking of grisly denouements, macabrely entertaining meals for the Venus flytrap include Halyomorpha halys (the stinkbug) in that they don’t go down without a fight, veritable gladiators in the face of certain death.  This morning we delivered a would-be juicy package of protein with the bug tweezers but it clawed its way to freedom so we brought him back and the ugly little bugger once again refused to go silently into the night.  The discomfiting scene of stick legs feebly wiggling for freedom was unsettling to me and I couldn’t help opining on this sinister business, the feeding of his little monster but Adam reminded me rather brutally there are no vegetarians in our household. I’m not going to disavow my notions that easily but it is creepy the way the bony, ugly things come crawling nose-first down the drapes on some sort of bug mission such as crawling into bed with me. Feed the little monster!

Where the stinkbugs come from, your guess is as good as mine but it could be someplace like the woodpile. I don’t know how many cords are sitting there outside the kitchen window but it makes the boys proud and frankly it makes me feel manlier having it around although I worry a little about termites. We don’t have a fireplace let alone a wood stove, that’s true. On the other hand, the neighbor’s murderous cat has one less place from which to creep and pounce upon unsuspecting birds just minding their own business, window-shopping their way down to Grandma Bird’s treetop in the Arboretum.  The pussycat had it in for me from the first, I believe for no reason at all. Our relationship is damaged beyond repair, unlike that bond which I shared with his predecessor, an orange tabby who before succumbing to old age (limping through the flowers with hurting kidneys, he’d arrive to me desperate for drinks from the garden hose or lick water-drops off the leaf-tops) always stopped by for tea and napped in the upstairs closet where he’d paw a nest out of my dirty laundry. Furthermore, the bad chap has the most ridiculous swinging teats which certainly must hinder him each and every dash from cars, dogs, hurried package delivery drivers and other hazards of the urban environment.

postscript: The inspiration for this musing was a set of interesting close-ups featuring a giant stinkbug being devoured alive but several months later upon editorial review by the Probably Should Get Rid of this and Start Over with Something Else Committee it hardly struck a chord and no wonder since the Venus flytrap is now in hibernation (a very unimpressive, solitary green sprig resembling prison-yard flagpole is holding down the fort) and I conceded perhaps turning my gaspy, wheezy journal into a B horror movie isn’t the way to go. As a paean to the rhythms of life, ramblings have been left alone (including halfhearted complaining about uncharismatic, naughty house-cats) and the spotlight instead swiveled to horribly foul gourds.

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