the other evening at about sunset i was sitting in my car writing when i heard the sound of a woman’s voice close by. i turned my head and saw a dog straining at the end of its lead and a frumpy dark-haired woman attached to the other end. i looked out the passenger’s side window and realized that she was shouting to a little girl standing at the roadside. the woman was in a panic about some cattle. for the preceding few days cows had been coming through the ranch fence just behind my neighbor’s house and wandering onto our property. i shooed them back through on the first day and they patiently waited until i’d gone back to my car and then trumped back through to graze on the very tall and juicy grass growing at the back of my neighbor’s house and along our driveway. cattle make up with brawn what they lack in brains. they can’t figure out a way to negotiate the fence so they simply lean on it until it snaps. it helps if the fence is particularly old and brittle or if it’s been mended over and over in the same spot with shoddy materials. this fence qualifies on both scores. in years past the cows came through and ate my vegetable garden. repeatedly. i called and the foreman came and mended the fence with twine. i could have saved him the trouble and mended it with the twine from my ruined garden if i’d only known. but i’m rambling. the latest fence-wrecking exploits of my bovid friends were duly ignored by yours truly. after my first attempt to see them back to their pasture i gave up trying. i’d seen a be-stetsoned head go racing by on an a.t.v. a week before so i figured someone would be out soon-ish to mend the fence over again with twine. since ranching has ceased to be foremost in the ranch’s concerns–hosting huge soirees for monied out-of-towners now being their primary focus– they have been impossible to contact unless they sense you’re sitting on a gigantic billfold. so. the only thing to do was wait. i sit in my car for hours at a stretch scribbling away. it’s nothing to keep one eye on wayward critters to make sure they don’t run into traffic. which is what i did. but the woman with the dog thought my behavior was reprehensible. she was shouting about how irresponsible people can be and shooting me very angry looks. and she nearly cost her dog its life in the process. little yellow beagles do not cattle dogs make. her dog was so wound up at the sight of hooved things that it almost got its head stomped and the woman beat a hasty retreat. i considered telling her that trespassing is a prosecutable offense but it seemed more trouble than it was worth. i kept writing. her children came by this afternoon to tell us that our fence had a hole in it and that we’d better do something about. ah. good samaritans. today a man arrived from the ranch. i recognized him as a young man who i’d sold cold drinks to for several summers. really amiable guy. the new foreman. he comes tomorrow to replace the fence– with wire! sadly as i later learned it was his mother-in-law and her sister who were gunned down on christmas eve.
a juvenile condor flew over the house. i am always amazed to see one in town. it’s only happened twice. they look absolutely prehistoric. from a distance they are so beautiful and imposing. up close their faces are hideously scrotal. thankfully this one just soared overhead and looked majestic. it didn’t land or come near enough to wink.
i picked the little yellow jonquil with orange coronas. there are three stems in a tiny vase on the bedside table. this morning as i was coming awake i could smell them and i incorporated their scent into my (very weird) dream.
dodecatheon are already blooming in the foothills! their common name is shooting stars. i expect the early rains we had made them come so soon. i’m not complaining. they’re still one of my favorite spring wildflowers. and they smell amazingly good.
wellidy. to bed.