Reflection On Natures
The Catalinas fold the last light into crags and crevices absorb the evening rose and glow like over-made-up whores calling us for a hike before only stars and coyotes are left to guide us home. There hasn’t been rain for weeks. Sahuaro flowers claim it is time for rain. Where has the monsoon gone? The Tohono O-odham have danced and gathered the fruit of the armed sentinels on the hills. But, no, the monsoon rains have not come.
Gambel’s quail chicks hatch under our home. We—along with nervous parents—keep watch for road runners, snakes, and other predators. The neighbor does not keep his cat inside. Tawny queen, she hunts lizards and lies to spring on our common brood. I shoo her off. She returns. I talk to the neighbor. She pretends deafness; I see the hearing aid she perhaps has not turned on. The hen darts nervously to the cracked corn I have scattered on the drive. Then the roo’s turn. In another day, the chicks will follow them. I stand guard, far enough that they might peck and choose, close enough to fill the air with broom should the cat return.
The neighbor ignores. Once, I asked her if she had ever eaten quail. She had not. One of my favorite foods. Yet, I protect this little covey and she sets her cat out the door.
“Strange neighbors,” observes the hawk perched on the telephone pole.
“Indeed,” I respond although he has not asked my opinion. I like to talk to animals. But the quail and I have no conversation. I do not call, not even when spreading the corn, I buy only for their feeding. I shout no warnings when the cat approaches. My voice is too harsh for such delicate ears. Were they chickens, perhaps I would cheep?
In the fading light, I soliloquize about the oddity of life. Do the mountains have such reflections or is the being there above it all enough?
The bowl of water I leave on the drive must be shared. Cat, birds, lizards, and whoever: let them share in peace as I sleep. It is not my place to order their world. But perhaps one more shoo before I go in.