augury doggerel

Friday, August 02, 2002

Hit and Run

I'm the sort who says hello to an animal, not because I think it understands the word as word, but because the greeting comes as easily as smiling to a baby, and because it does as little harm and maybe as much good. A dog changes its attitude to a friendly good morning, and I change mine to the tail and eyes and gait of beast approaching beast unafraid. A certain latchkey cat of the neighborhood looks me in the eye and waits for a word and a scratch every day. When I'm safely in the field, I might (you never know) even greet the grasshoppers or say hello to a snail out for a constitutional. I might (if you followed me) be caught admiring a fine web and complimenting the builder standing in the wings. It wouldn't be as if I expected a tip of the tentacle or wag of the feeler in return. But wouldn't that be marvelous.

Two or three mornings ago, coming through the long grass, I felt and heard the crack of snail under my sole. I looked too late and saw the slow recoil of wreckage. It takes a snail that size � it took that snail � summers and winters to build that perfect curl, and I split it like a nut. I returned to the scene the next day, but the body was gone. Some bird or cat, or a swarm of smaller things, had hidden the evidence.

So, good morning, red and white terrier from two doors down who runs as if he's proud of his fur. Good morning, cat on the gas meter waiting to get in every day. Good morning, funnel spider tending your trampoline trap. And good morning, Helix aspersa a.k.a. Cornu aspersum, perfect architect, patient builder, slow slider, looker around corners, raider of gardens, trail painter, day sleeper, midnight hermaphrodite, lover of green and dew.


Post a Comment

<< Home