Thursday, May 31, 2007

Obligatory Cute Cat Story

Last night I was having a private moment with Cat #1*, when Cat #2 jumped up on the bed and laid down between us.

Cat #1 promptly bit Cat #2's tail. Then he did it again. After the third bite, Cat #2 mewed and gave his brother a look that clearly said, "Why are you biting me?" ("Why do you think he's biting you?" I asked.)

Cat #1 immediately jumped on Cat #2's back and bit him on the neck. Then they rolled off the bed together.

* They do have names, but they're also interchangeable. Whichever one you see first is Cat #1, or "Thing One" as I called them when they were kittens.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Aerial Photography

So, you know those satellite maps that they have on the Web now? Looking at the place where I grew up on one of those maps was a strange experience. (Yes, I'm easily astonished.) Tracing the road from the nearest town to our house . . . I remember that road, not every bit of it, but some parts in better detail than the map can reveal. I still dream about that road.

Aerial photography shows the trees and rivers, but not the topography, so much. It shows the roads that led to friends' houses, and the side roads that I never got a chance to go down. The unknown roads that concealed some magic place right around the corner. (Satellites can't see those secret places, of course.)

It must show the lake that we went to, but it can't show the excitement of those summer evenings, or the humidity. Or the frogs. It shows where the river runs alongside the road, but it can't show what I remember, one particular bend of the river and the light coming through the trees. Perhaps the water was unusually high? For some reason it has stayed with me. Maybe it was a dream.

It can't show the road from my vantage point, the back of our old pickup.

And yet, it astonishes me that the road of my memory has its counterpart in the real world. No, I don't expect it to still be the same (although I bet it hasn't changed all that much.) Just the fact that it's real is enough. Not to mention the fact that the Internet knows where I lived. I can type in the name of that dead-end dirt road and it pops right up. A map of Nowhere. A real place. As real as my dreams.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

There They Are!

This is the second year now that I've grown basil indoors. It takes about 10-14 days for the seeds to sprout. I haven't yet lost my amazement that it actually works. Little tiny green sprouts come out of even tinier black seeds. And then they get bigger. It's astonishing.

(Yes, we always had a garden when I was a kid. And I must have been amazed then too. But it's different when you're doing it yourself -- in a pot, what's more.)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Subtropical Sunsets

So there I was, at 33 degrees North latitude. As everyone knows, the Tropic of Cancer is located at 23.5 degrees North. (No, I didn't know that. I had some vague idea.) Normally I hang out in the forties.

I mention this because, my second night there, I was invited to dinner. We sat out on the deck overlooking the ocean, and our hostess remarked, "It's time for sunset."

Well, okay. I've seen plenty of sunsets. I glanced over -- yes, there's the sun above the ocean, very pretty. I looked again just a couple minutes later and the thing had moved. Sunsets don't do that where I come from. You could literally watch it setting. The word I used for its motion was "Bloop." It just went "bloop" and was gone.

Does the sun rise just as fast? I don't know. Everything out there faces west.