22 April 2006

Post-rant fatigue

Holy cow. That last post was a doozy of a rant. You know how it is, I bet. Sometimes you just get to feeling so small and insignificant and angry that you just have to let loose or explode. Tell you what: Next time I feel a rant coming on, I’ll go take a long, long walk and rant to the air instead. It’ll be good for my flabby muscles and might even burn 10 or 12 calories.

Anyway. On to the real world.

There’s a red-tail hawk pair nesting at the top of one of the fir trees 300 yards or so from my den’s window. I rarely see either one of them – my view of the top of the tree is obscured – but I hear them. For the last six weeks or so, mostly in the mid-mornings on the weekends, I hear Mr. Hawk or Mrs. Hawk creeee-creeee-ing from the nest. They’ve set up housekeeping in this particular tree for several years; I’m glad they’re back. They feel like old friends.

I keep the window open almost year round. I like being able to hear the world outside as I create worlds inside. At the moment, along with the hawk, I can hear a wren singing. They have a sweet, musical song, and this marks the third year a pair has chosen to nest in the little wren-house my Mr. Wren put up in a protected spot in the garden back in ’98. Stellar’s jays also spend a lot of time yelling in the firs, too. They’re big and cocky and absolutely gorgeous, with their electric blue bodies and sooty black heads.

At night, in the summer, I loving hearing the owl pair conversing. “Huuu-hu-hu,” says one. “Hu-huu” says the other. The sound is low pitched, quiet, even alien, and it carries a long way through the late night air. These are great horned owls. One evening, as I was taking out the trash, I saw one of them sitting on top of the utility pole up on the street.

This is where I sit as I write each day. Blogging is new, but I’ve been starting and tossing out the Great American Novel from this room for about six years now. My den is a converted garage, but not like you’re thinking. This room’s back wall has a rugged-looking faux-rock face, and all the other walls and even the ceiling are paneled in smooth, redwood planks. No veneer. There’s a door to the back garden but we’ve never been able to get it open – it’s stuck tight.

I claimed this room as “mine” the moment we saw the house. There’s no heat, but there’s a long raised hearth along the rock-wall, and once upon a time, there was a small, wood-stove standing on it. We couldn’t use it – it was dangerous and inefficient – and we didn’t have the bucks to replace it. Now, since the house is very small and space is at a premium, four tall, oak bookshelves stand elevated on the hearth. I use a little heater under my desk for warmth in the winter.

My den is a mess, of course. Also because of the space issue, this room tends to attract all the things we don’t know what else to do with. Soon, the fledgling, who’s planning a move down the mountain to live with her love, is going to take the old sofa and the old dresser, along with the giant terrarium that sits on top of it. It’s home to a Chinese water dragon and at least 12 chirping crickets every week. The lizard, who’s quite pretty in a lizardly sort of way, was a Mother’s Day gift last year.

Don’t ask.

There’s also a smaller terrarium with a small rubber boa in it. The fledgling found it while she was out hiking last summer and brought home with her. It’s also an interesting creature, but it spends most of its time beneath the sand-like substance that fills the bottom of the tank to about two and a half inches. Reminds me of the sand-worms in “Dune.” I hardly ever see the little guy. Or girl. I’ve decided when it warms up some more outside, I’m going to let it go, unless the fledgling wants to take it with her, too. When the little boa constrictor eats, which isn’t very often, it dines on infant mice. The fledgeling has no trouble buying and feeding it “pinkies,” but I do. I’m too soft hearted.

I’m looking forward to the migration of these objects, and I’m trying to decide how I’ll use the vacant space. I have an old recliner in here, along with my desk. Maybe I’ll find a daybed or something like that for lazy afternoon naps on the weekends. I have a standing tapestry loom with four inches of weave started at the bottom – it’s stuck in the middle of the room for lack of anywhere else to put it. I could bring in a straight-backed chair from the dining room and start working on it again. And maybe I’ll get a drawing table and start drawing and painting. I was born an artist. As I grew up, I was never without a pencil in my hand, forever drawing. But somehow, after I hit my mid-20s, got married, had the fledgeling, got caught up in work and the everyday chores of life -- and discovered the delight of writing -- the urge to create images in ink and watercolor on paper died. I still doodle a lot.

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