"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Smaller Picture

The things that live in my house with me are being coy these days. That’s another way of saying I can’t find a blooming thing I’m looking for.

I promised Pablo Parrot a camping trip, and it’s supposed to start tomorrow, and what am I going to do if I can’t find the things I need? Yes, Pablo likes traveling with me. He likes the truck:

And he likes the little travel trailer:

He doesn’t particularly care where we’re going as long as he gets to go. He thinks it’s ever so much more fun than being left at home.

Pablo enjoying a fabulous view of Mt. Denali (the mountain formerly known as McKinley).

But, back to those things that are hiding. I launched a concerted search-and-discover expedition this morning. I found the DSLR camera I’ve been looking for the last five days. It was right in front of my face. Well, it was right in front of my face once I put myself in the proper arena.

Ditto with the little black cords that I have to use to connect that camera and a point and shoot to my computer because my three year old computer is obsolete and doesn’t know flash cards come larger than 2gigs. Both cords also were right in front of my face.

Which segues nicely into the whole point of this story. Meet Bogie and Bacall, out on a romantic dinner date.
That's Bogie in the foreground; Bacall is in shadow.

I came across them while I was picking up litter about ten miles down the road in an area called Crown Point, so named after a gold mine that was there a century or so ago.

Neither saw me as I came strolling towards them. I stopped about thirty feet from them, and started using the zoom on the point and shoot. There’s a line of trees between them and the highway, breaking up the afternoon sunshine into vertical ribbons, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t why they didn’t see me.

Bogie was enjoying the entrée—fresh wild greens. Bacall was dawdling over her salad, so Bogie ambled right towards me.

Check out the cool Mohawk on Bogie.

Eventually Bacall finished her salad and came looking for the entrée.
When she reached me, I switched the camera over to video record because I wanted to record the noises they were making. Bacall was whimpering "mmm-mmm-mmm". Bogie was making deeper-toned noises, kind of "uhn-uhn-uhn," which I interpreted to mean, “Don’t bother me. I’m eating.” Some romantic.

I have been trying every day to upload those videos with the noises. Those two porcupines were very vocal, especially Bacall. But, despite using every straight-forward and every sneaky weapon in my mini-arsenal, I have yet to be successful at that uploading.

At one point, Bacall came within two feet of me and was moving closer. I stepped back and she sensed the movement, quickly turning her back to me. That’s the business end of a porucupine. She held that for a few seconds, then relaxed, and moved towards Bogie.


He was still eating, absolutely oblivious to me standing less than five feet from him.

Porcupines on the highway usually wind up being road pizza, but these two survived that day

I know because I continued on my way and found Sarah Palin lying face down in a ditch.

Her campaign poster, I mean.
Face down.
In the ditch.

So, when I came back on the other side of the highway, Bogie and Bacall were nowhere in sight. A lot like the things that live in my house.

I have a theory about Bogie and Bacall, though. I think I was too big for them to see, like the chickadees that land on you while you’re spreading peanut butter on the bird feeder. They’re looking for the peanut butter and they have no idea you’re in their world.

That’s not an excuse the still-lost little coin purse, the one with the images of wolves on it, that contains my extra flash cards and batteries can use however.

PS: If you're wondering about this whole Bogie-Bacall thing, and how I know which was who and who was what, well, I was profiling.
Totally based on behavior.


  1. Weren't you afraid of being torpedoed with porcupine quills? Especially when Bacall turned her backside to you?


    It's quite amazing that you were able to get so close. I suspect your love of and familiarity with nature and all of her creatures emanates from you and makes them comfortable in your presence.

    There's never a dull moment in your life and I'm lucky to get to read all about your adventures from the safety and comfort of my home.

  2. Shaddy: Contrary to common belief, porcupines do not throw their quills. When they raise them, much like a dog raises its hackles, I suspect there is a loosening of whatever it is that holds the shaft of the quill in place, otherwise the willows and alders would resemble pin cushions just from the porcupines walking through them. And, I did not get so close--I stood still and they came to me.

    I once pulled more than 600 quills from a dog. They were literally in every part of his body, stem to stern, topside to keel, and way down his throat. To make things worse, each quill has hundreds of tiny barbs that makes the de-quilling very painful. The quills range in size from a quarter-inch to four or five inches long. I am an experienced, accomplished quill puller, much to my dismay.