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  • Writer's pictureSam Baker

Day 71 isolation

It is humid. Cool this morning. As if Rain is available but not yet. My weather ap is all gray. Blue means rain. There is no blue. Neither light (mild rain) nor dark (heavy rain).

Still the air is a cool heavy. Wind from the southeast. Prevailing. The mesquite trees are fully leaved. The birds are less frantic. They have their homes now. Their familys. Now they go to work everyday. Feeding the children. The front edge of summer is passing over all of us. It is a jagged edge. Some days still cool (a memory) and some days wicked hot (the present and what is to come). The broken limb from the last storm in the brush pile. The yard mowed. It is not a cultured grass. Not a pedigree grass. it is what feels the need to grow. A mix of something and something else that has the worse stickers (technically they may be called sticker burs or sand burs) the mowing is supposed to stop (the stickers) but it does not. It slows their growth and sometimes sprays them across the yard so it is a land where shoes are always worn. Even boots that are impenetrable by rattle snake fangs. They are called snake boots. Mine are tall. They are camouflaged. Not sure why on the camo. I would prefer a bright purple and since I have a studio of paint- they may at some point go purple. A rich purple.

The smell of my world is not longer of newness. New growth. New wildflowers. New leaves. Like the birds, we are in the season of feed the family go to work day. It is an organic smell. Lovely. But not sweet (like wild flowers). It has a salt smell. A bit of a bite from the already dying wire grass. Not bitterness but something more complex. The smell of changing. The smell of turning. The smell of bright green to ochre yellow

I saw a rattlesnake on the dirt \ road yesterday (no 2 days ago -how the days run together). It was about 4 and half feet long. It was fully extended. Thats how I could guess its length. It was about as wide as my wheel base. It must have been traveling then stopped when it felt the vibrations from my pick up coming down the road with its now full tank of gas and gallon fo gas for the chain saw (for the storm limbs) and the weed eater (for the too tall sticker bur plants). I drove to town for because i was running out of patience with the isolation thing. Isolation restless. And I needed gasoline.

So filling up the truck and buying chain saw gas was not a time sensitive issue. Yes it needed to be done but I did it RIGHT THEN because of the restlessness. It felt like an adventure. An outing. Like to a library. Like something very different and new.

A young woman filled her white car down wind from me. And was gone. Then a guy in a diesel ford 250 or something that size rolled in with a 4 seat Polaris on a John Deere 14 foot trailer with twin axels. All in good condition.

Then I left that place.

On the drive back on the dirt road. There. There was the the fully extended rattles snake. I was talking on the phone so I did not fully realize what it was until i passed. I moved far to the right on the road to avoid it. Not out of reverence for life although I may be life reverent except when i am not but it was more out of reverence for my Wrangler tires which costs over 200 dollars each. But saying that it my be possible to serve two gods.

Reverence for wranglers and reverence for life.

My eye was drawn first to the form. Reptile of course. Big, thick, and long. Then to the tail.

Black and white. Stripes.

Evolution. That is a longer topic. But for some reason the snake’s tail has evolved to be a visual warning. An eye-catching sort of thing. The stripes. Heavy on the dark and light. On Contrast

Or like the colors of the painted bunting.

The colors must have evolved for other creatures that use vision. Either black and white or color. Maybe for mating. Maybe it evolved for the vision of potential mates. Just the vision of potential mates and family

I like to think though, that the painted bunting evolved for beauty's sake.

For no other reason than to startle me into the present.


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