Many Trails
‘Tis the season...
by Adrien F. Taylor
Jul 31, 2014 | 419 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Yes, ‘tis the season ... for little woodland creatures otherwise known as mice to notice that the weather will soon change, and that they better be looking for warm digs within a secure structure, preferably with food at hand. And so I have mice in my house, brazen enough to be out and about in the middle of the day so I can see them scampering around.

One fell off the fireplace hearth into a wastebasket from which it couldn’t escape, and that one I finally set free again outside, some distance from the house.

Mice in the house were the original reason that I got Pretty Kitty from the Humane Society some years ago. Pretty Kitty was no young thing when she came to me, and in the years between then and now her backbone has come to stick up some, as happens with older cats. And she disappeared a couple of months ago. Sometimes it happens with old animals. They just take themselves off. At any rate, no mice were seen in my house since the arrival of Pretty. Until she left.

Now I’ve got to get another mouser. Right away.

I had thought about a kitten, but one would do nothing for the mice problem. Perhaps I’ll see if the Humane Society has a cat with a kitten in its inventory. That would lake care of the problem.

Pesky little critters, those mice.

—aft—

I had settled into an afternoon of reading Tuesday when a monster thunderstorm came down upon our little green valley. I love thunderstorms, but the dog doesn’t agree with me when I leave the sliding glass door open to enjoy them. At one close clap, he landed right in my lap. A Maltese (the largest of the toy breeds), he is a lap dog by size, but not by choice. At least not usually.

Another loud clap and he all but took me by the hand and insisted we find a safer place. His choice of place? My bed. Safe, indeed.

Then it looked like the whole of the Moab Fire Department had descended on my front yard. That last loud clap of thunder had come from the large cottonwood tree in my front yard being struck by lightning, with resultant fire in the tree. At over 100 years in age, I believe mine is now the oldest and largest of what were pioneer cottonwood trees in the valley.

Was this its last hurrah, one of the firemen mused? No. After more than an hour, the guys pronounced the fire out, and prepared to leave, with the admonition to me that if I saw further smoke to call and they would come back.

I looked out at this beautiful tree this morning and imagined what a large hole its absence would leave in my outdoor view if they had to take it down. But I know, from previous (25-plus years) experience that the tree is not all that healthy. Dry rot is present in many branches. A large portion of the tree broke off and came down a few years ago. The causes: dry rot and the weight of its own burden of green leaves.

Several years ago the state tree police came by to measure the tree, thinking it may be the largest in the state. By girth, it was extremely large (I can’t remember the precise measurement), but the canopy didn’t come close to other contenders, possibly because a portion of it had come down, as noted above. So what is running through my mind today? “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.”

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