Part One: Violet and the Ghost of the Great Pepper Tree
Violet doesn’t belong here. She wasn’t invited. And neither was her brother, Squats for that matter. These were random chickens that were squeezing their tiny fluffy butts into my garden through a gap in the fence.
Just big enough to fit little peeping babies that would peck and scratch the shit out of all my garden beds and make a hell of a mess on my manicured pathways. My precious, precious pathways.
This I could not abide for long. An action plan began forming in my head and I decided to set up some chicken traps and capture these usurpers of my calm. I set up a net at the end of my long cement makeshift patio. A tunnel of many confusing obstacles leading to a hidden circular lobster net. I then went inside and waited. Maniacally so.
After a few hours, I went out to find them in my veggie garden picking, scratching and eating all my vittles. Our eyes locked and all three of us were frozen in the timeless dance of predator v. prey. I pounced, barefoot and snarling. As planned, they leaped out of the raised bed and began sprinting down the long cement pad with me slapping bare toes behind them.
They hit the hidden net like so many drunkenly applied darts into pub dartboards. *thunk, thunk*. With wings flapping uselessly, they could do no more than submit to my gentle yet firm grasp.
After some moments of gentle cooing, I placed them in my little elevated chicken coop for newbies. And there they remained. The day was won!
“Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.”
-William S. Burroughs (an excerpt from Thanksgiving Prayer)
Some other possible titles for this post were:
When Life Punches You in the Taint… or
My World of Shit
After I slept on it, I decided that I should perhaps be a little more cheerful. God knows that this country has had quite enough shock, disappointment and all around shabbiness lately. Enough to last a lifetime. And I still refuse to wax political here even in the face of all this. Mind Your Dirt should be a safe place. So I’ll ignore the very real possibility that all the environmental progress we’ve made (what little there was) is now going to fall apart and unravel like a cheap cable-knit sweater while Muslim-Americans are goose-stepped into massive interment camps. I digress.
Oh you sweet and beautiful reader. My rock. My everything. I’ve missed you all so tremendously. As for you, you most likely fall under one of two categories. Either you’ve missed me every day while you sat by your computer waiting with baited breath for words of merriment and mirth or snapshots of fuzzy-butted chicken cuteness; or you didn’t even notice I was away for so long. Almost two months actually.
If you fall under the former category, allow me to explain a little. If you fall under the latter, kindly kiss my entire ass.
October rang in the third year of Mind Your Dirt. Did you get me anything? No, that’s okay. I didn’t get me anything either. What I did receive was only what I can describe as a shit-storm of wants and woes. While still recovering from my werewolf bite (my dog bite got upgraded since we last spoke), my car decided to kick me while I was down with a slew of visits to the mechanics that are still going on.
Then, I broke up with my girlfriend of five years. Which I really wanted to talk to you about, but then my laptop decided to commit suicide and I was simply of the mindset to say fuck it all. So I did in many ways. I unplugged from Mind Your Dirt because I couldn’t find much inspiration to write (or a laptop to write with even if I could) nor inspiration to work in the garden. Which was getting its ass kicked by the summer heat and drought anyways.
So please bear with me while I vent and gather what’s left of my strength and carry on. My laptop now has a brand new hard drive and is slowly being rebuilt with programs and such. I find myself well into my 42nd year of life and am thrown back into the dating pool kicking and screaming. Commercials and every song on the radio make me cry now as well, so that’s pretty sweet. I’m so grateful that I’m truly in touch with all my feelings and have been using these cathartic moments to bolster my soul. But, damn, I do miss my baby girl. I thought for sure that she was The One, you dig? But the decision was the right one to make and I am good at adapting and adopting. Shit, I said I wasn’t going to write about this. Oh well, you all know by now that my life is an open book. So here I am all raw and exposed for the world to see.
So, I’m here to say that I’m back, I’m resigned. I’d also like to say that in no time in the last couple months have I lost my cool or diminished my smile. Like all great tests in life, I know that this all will pass and there’s no justification for being grumpy or short-tempered with people. I’m soldiering on and taking it all in stride.
But that’s not what I’m hear to tell you about. I’m here to report on the recent release of my four guinea fowl into my urban oasis. In doing so, I feel like those before me that accidentally introduced an invasive species into a balanced ecosystem. Probably the way they felt with the cane toads in Australia. I’ve made a huge mistake.
They have been a loud and destructive force in the yard for the last month. Eating plants and tearing up every bed and path I’ve so carefully crafted over the past four years. Every time I went out into the back yard to try to find some motivation, it would always end up the same way. I’d discover some new destruction or a fresh pile of guinea shit to step in and I’d just stop and stare at these ugly bastards with only one thought in my head.
“How to kill them?!”
They must be able to sense this, because they typically follow me all over the place waiting for a handout of some kind. But when I begin to go over the practical steps needed for their destruction, cleaning, and cooking they tend to back away slowly. Which is wise, because I WILL be killing them shortly.
My curtained sleep provides the creatures of the night free range for all manner of comings and goings. Small festive gatherings of much rejoicing and regaling as fuzzy butts dance and twirl and feast. They laugh and mock the stupid giant hairless ape inside that cave-thing as he snorts and farts. His slumber filled with naive and peaceful dreams. For these night beasts know what the stupid ape-thing will discover in the morning. That tonight is for them.
Tonight they will feast.
My fish had dreams as well. They dreamed of crunchy bits floating on the waters surface, jostling about from the steady cascade of well manicured waterfalls. They dreamed about the next days activities. Like, “let’s all go swim over there now. I think there may be a crunchy bit over there that we missed when we were there five minutes ago”.
I’ve once been told by an old wizened sailor that fish never truly sleep; that they always keep moving. That sailor was eaten by a shark and is now shark poop. Should’ve heeded his own advice that dark and stormy night off of the Southern coast of Africa. So it goes.
Regardless of Old Stumpy McStinktrout and his unfortunate skinny dipping episode, these fish had dreams! And now they are poop. The poop of the night beasts. So it goes.