Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Encounters with the Wildlife

There's a screen in the upstairs bathroom window, but there are these gnats that have evolved to be small enough to fit through its apertures because they derive some unexplained biological benefit from flitting around on the ceiling, just above the wall sconce, until they die and fall into it. There is a local legend that every time the sconce fills up with the carcasses of dead gnats, a doughty Viking warrior who long ago lost an ill-advised bar bet comes back from the dead, trudges into the house and up the stairs, tears the sconce from the wall and drains it in a single hearty draught, burps, places the sconce gently on the edge of the sink, and calls his friend Larry's brother-in-law who "[can] totally rewire shit."

The day before I caught the pike, my brother and I were fishing for pickerel from the canoe. Nearby, the lilypads began moving of their own accord, spreading apart as though making way for an invisible bride walking upon the water. As I crossed myself and shook my charm bracelet, my brother looked UNDER that water and spotted the snapping turtle. We both peered at it in the shallows, remarking that its mighty legs alone would serve as hams, while its garbage-can-lid-sized shell would make an ideal garbage can lid. So imagine a garbage can lid balanced on four hams, but it's, like, swimming. I wish I had a picture, but the snapping turtle consumed the very idea of my camera before I even thought it -- which is just how big that turtle was.

Next day, I caught my first northern pike. You know, you're just sitting there dangling bits of colored plastic decorated with needle-sharp bent metal barbs into the water and a fucking fish bites your shit. When animals attack, right?

Various deer. Constantly.

Mouse in the grill. Covered that.


Some roadkill.

Oh, right, this morning. They've repaved the parking lot at the office park where I work, and this morning there was a security guard on the hot tar, standing watch over a "snapping turtle" -- I have to put it in quotes because of that one I saw in the Adirondacks last week -- as it crossed from god-knows-where to wherever-the-hell.

I was tucking my son in tonight when I saw a yellowjacket sitting on his window sill, slowly undulating one antenna. I picked up North Dakota, gathered my courage, and thwapped it. It crackled like evil rice krispies. I still don't know if it was actually already dead, or paralyzed or something, but still, the bravery.

Just then I heard the heavy tread of a Viking on the stairs.


Kyran said...

that's a great description of a snapping turtle. there's an alligator snapping turtle at the zoo here that looks like something out of the Dark Crystal.

Magpie said...

North Dakota? How was it that North Dakota was at hand?

Bill Braine said...


Amy Plum said...

Hey Bill, forget about your viking friend...could you introduce me to his friend Larry's brother? I totally need some shit re-wired.

Anonymous said...

That post was awesome. I snorted about the turtle, I snorted about Ye Olde Electricity Knowing Dude... and I am highly impressed by your manly-ass fish-catching skillz. Yo.

Elan Morgan said...

You are being featured on Five Star Friday:

Anonymous said...

OK, you big Twitteryard bully. Just for pushing me around, I am linking to you. Heh. So there.

You are in my new blogroll category: "Bloggers Who Are Mean to Me."

Oh and P.S., I bet you like those Twitterers who say things like, "Just woke up!" and "Eating a can of tuna now.!" Don't you. Admit it.

At least I bring the funz.

Anonymous said...

AND ... I added you to my Google Reader. (Let the stalking commence.)

Anonymous said...

I wanted to give you the thrill of having 2, two, TWO Dana's in your comment list!!

Now aren't YOU the sly one! TWO DANAS!!! Twice the joy!

Anonymous said...

Hi, other Dana! *waves*