On Saturday I took Ned on our usual silent afternoon walk around my neighborhood. I say silent walk, because that is the way I prefer them.
My neighborhood consists of one apartment complex with dozens of buildings, spread around grass inlets and faux-soccer fields, filled in swimming pools, and randomly-placed rock formations that resemble Pride Rock en miniature.
It was just after a storm, and the ground was puddles and muck. The water swallowed half of Ned Nickerson the Cocker Spaniel/Mystery Solver each time he stepped off of a sidewalk, but this did not manage to dissuade him from stepping off the sidewalk every other step, so that he performed a sort of ‘skip to my lou’ of furry splashing.
After the rain is my favorite because it is very, very quiet. I’ll tell you a secret: I really don’t get out much.
Try to contain your surprise.
The thing is, I like being “out.” Being in nature is really calming, and I love walking through it alone. But… the possibility of running into someone else on that walk– of possibly having to discuss the parking tendencies of drunk neighbors, or the bald patches where said neighbor’s tires wheeled away the grass; the possibility of having to interrupt my thoughts of stories and aliens and vanishing islands and do small talk like small talkers love to do; the possibility of– god forbid– someone actually thinking my awkward grin and head bob are genuine signs of enthusiasm rather than a desperate attempt at a conversation I long to end and therefore extending it to Joyce-like lengths a I silently agonize over which words sound least argumentative…
Well. Anyways. I stay inside a lot.
But when I am on walks, my favorite thing is to catch small details in the place I see every day. Walking Ned is a time when I am out in the world and nobody bothers me. I don’t mean to make it seem like I don’t like people, I just like to be prepared for them. On walks, Ned barks whenever we are nearing 20-50 feet away from anything that could possibly need preparation.
He’s considerate like that. His barking usually means nobody comes past that 20 feet mark, which gives me a bubble of quiet in which to think without interruption.
Every introvert should get a badly-behaved dog.
On my Saturday walk I saw this mouse on my way back to my door. It was lying on my neighbor’s back porch, its bones exposed from the rot and rain. I thought it was fake, at first, it is so perfectly laid out, like a model someone had ordered off Discovery and then quickly lost interest in. (Perhaps it would be creepier if my neighbor’s had a fake skinned mouse than a real one…) It captured my attention and for some reason I found it hard to look away. The bone structure was just so visible, the muscle so useless, the fur and whiskers and eyes and nose so… negligible. I had the thought that this creature had, at some point in the last few days ceased to be a mouse and had something much less defined, more the idea of a mouse, or perhaps, the memory of one. The physical vestiges of a mouse gone by. I’m not sure why this struck me as so fascinating, or whether the idea itself was worth writing down, but the naturalness of it prompted me to take a picture. Perhaps it’s the old “Circle of Life” concept that reminded me that I, too would become little but bones and air. Perhaps someone will take a picture of me and blog about it.
I’m a cheery one, that’s for sure.
At first I thought maybe I shouldn’t put this picture on here, possibly because people may think I’m a serial killer, or it wouldn’t go with the overall theme… But I figure it’s my blog, it’s my rules.
And obviously my rules include dead things. And, you know, science. I don’t want to shy away from things I think are interesting, even if they veer from interesting to uhhhhhhmmmmm what now?
We shall see how this goes.
This post has little point, other than: I’m back to blogging. And I’ve got big plans ahead.
Don’t worry, of course they include dead mice and Star Trek.