The morning was indistinguishable from so many others. Lorenz was taking his morning walk around the pond or lake, it was of that intermediate size that could be either or neither, when in a break with his habit, he sat down on one of the four benches, and stared out over the water. He hadn’t seen the usual egrets or herons or ibis, which did strike him as a bit odd since they were as regular in attendance as he was. As he pondered their absence he was startled by what felt like a tickling on his arm. He looked down to find a Painted Lady butterfly perched on his forearm sitting placidly. He stared at what seemed to be the eyes on its wing staring at him. Neither moved, he for fear of dislodging his visitor, the butterfly for its own, undisclosed, unfathomable reasons. This mutual staring continued until time lost its shape, its defintion, and puddled at his feet, no longer mattering at all. But evenutally a breeze came up and it lifted from his arm, flitted about as if in some farewell and was off. He had no idea that moments later the tsunami warning sirens began up and down Fukushima Prefecture in Japan.
I am waiting patiently for her to tell me what I need to do next today. I’m sure she’ll be along shortly with a list. Hopefully, today it will be a short list. And I know that no matter how quickly I get to whatever task it is she assigns, she will, watching me like a hawk, point out my shortcomings in its completion. And I am never done on time. Still, she is largely forgiving of my errors, she says, because that is just the way cats are taught.
He found the cup by the curb one morning walking to the bus. He rarely notice things on his walk, thinking always about the day ahead. But this day he saw it, picked it up and put it in his messenger bag intending to clean it later, when he got home after work. He had no idea why he wanted it. It wasn’t particularly pretty, a drab red with a mark where a decal had long ago peeled away. He forgot it, until he found it in his bag several days later, he washed it and placed it on a special shelf in his kitchen cabinet. The shelf was reserved for things he found with which he intended to do something, but that something had not yet happened. He knew something was missing from the shelf, so he took a selfie, printed it and placed it on the shelf.
First Published in The Birdseed, Vol. 1, Issue 3, 2022
The rain came sideways today, or almost so. The cat decided that if she needed a bath, she’d give it to herself and opted to watch the storm through the sliding glass door to the lanai. When it ended, she ventured back out, checking out the various and sundry chairs, all hers she assumes, and settled for the recliner in the inner corner, as much for dryness as comfort, but clearly offering both. She invited us out to join her, but all of the other seats were damp from the storm. She didn’t see what that was a problem, she had only the one coat, we could change clothes any time we wanted. We decided to watch her through the sliding glass door.
The cat is stalking around the house, wary. She gets this way after coming back from the vet. She actually likes the vet, and not only for the treats she gets, and the pawdicure. But she must stalk and be wary so we will be remorseful for having taken her to the vet. And she knows we will be, given enough time and back turning. We are so predictable. She wonders if we were like that with our children when they were young. Probably, but we must have forgotten. So she will go on with our training, for a cat must bend humans to her will. That is an unwritten law of nature.
Technology has it in for us, which is sad as it is a creature of our creation. It is one part desire, six parts dependence, with a dash of insanity. Still each year we line up like good lemmings to march off the IOS or Android cliff into the iPhone and Galaxy abyss. But we are addicts and our suppliers know us all too well, know just what will give is the rush we desire, make us willing to cast aside old comforts for the hope of newer and better. And they do provide us hours of reloading our apps and data except for those few items we cannot live without that disappear in the process.
The clouds build slowly, turning the sky from blue to ever darkening shades of gray. He hopes it will rain, rain heavily, as the ground is parched, the wetland a bog, and the birds have moved on in search of water. He watches the build up, the clouds accreting, and he waits for the first drop of water. The clouds begin to dissipate, the sun peeks through widening gaps, and the sky is soon blue again. And in the distance he thinks he hears a voice whispering “you know mother nature is a cranky old broad, right?”
It slipped away. He had no idea where it had gone, but he knew he had to find it. It could have been accidental, an errant passer opening the gateway and off it went. But he was so reliant on it that he knew he could not do much of anything without it. And he couldn’t get help finding it without endless waiting, a waste of time that put him even farther behind. But it was stealthy, and could easily hide in plain site. He hadn’t wanted to adopt it, but he had, and it had consumed him. It was that simple, life without broadband was unimaginable.
There will, I am certain, come a day when I will need to do nothing. My computer and my apps will know what I want, will obtain it without asking, will expect my thanks when it arrives, even if they are incapable of understanding what thank you means in a human world. They already plague me with offers and suggestions, if I liked that or even looked at it, I must like this. And they do it with a certainty that only an algorithm can possess. They know me, or so they are programmed, for they cannot think, and they cannot begin to imagine how fickle I can be, or what that term even means. But I know Jeff Bezos won’t give up without a fight. At least if there are a few more billion dollars to be made.
We love drawing lines and borders. There are few things we do better than that. But increasingly we have lost our once finely honed skill at placing them where they ought to be. I won’t even get into walls on borders to keep out families, those like our families were once. I mean small lines and borders. What line decides whether the old inn is ramshackle or quaint? Is this thing I found in the attic a tchotchke or a collectible? And seriously, is what am I about to write doggerel or humorous verse? I’ll be the judge of that one.