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"Neither of us will wear western-cut slacks or string ties."

The sun seems a son of Kansas. It crawls across the sky, casting shadows for a living, before retiring to California. I know altogether too much to believably spin fresh creation myths, though I swear that I could use a few. Maybe we all could. Once I know better, I don't seem to imagine better. I adopt my reality and pretty much stick with it, no matter how poorly it serves my vitality. I feel attracted to the idea that the sun hails from Kansas, just another exported offspring of that windy weed patch of a place. I like the idea that it retires to California to wear western-cut slacks and sport a string tie, and drive a 1953 Ford station wagon with clothes pins on the fuel line.

The magpies serve as the most viable community in my neighborhood.
They trespass shamelessly and hold a definite pecking order among them, showing deference to the elders and strong discipline toward their youth. They mourn each lost one, and gather to acknowledge each passing, cursing the single-minded world for interrupting their endless playing. They drink from sun-heated snow melt carried through our gutters and groom the elk and deer. Every one of them works as a certified stylist for customers who welcome their presence and never flinch when they hop onto a fresh back to start plucking off and swallowing tics. They perform kabuki dances for the rapt kittens lined up at the windows in the morning.

I can catalogue each weather front by the arrival of the morning newspaper. A storm and a newspaper will almost never arrive at the same time. The mere threat of a storm usually dissuades the deliverer. The day after a storm, yesterday's news appears along with that morning's. They almost never miss two days in a row. When the paper doesn't come, I'm stuck re-reading yesterday's edition, delving into sections I rarely open. Those days stretch far beyond sunset because I did not get that small essential only a fresh newspaper ever brings. I read each new one almost backwards: front page, page three, then back to the op/ed pages on the inside back of the section before crawling backwards back toward page three. Once seen, I almost never retrace my steps until and unless a storm front chases away delivery the next morning. Clocks are not nearly this predictable.

The rhythm of a foothill day hardly ever varies. The long predawn hours lope through, with kittens slipping around and between. The magpies arrive almost at dawn and stay just as long as yesterday's leftover dried up cat food and last night's pork chop trimmings hold. The Muse will rise about the same time as the Magpies show, and the kittens will have eaten by then and commence to stalking each other once the Magpies flee. The Muse eats the same breakfast daily, never varying from her homemade yogurt and thawed home-frozen cherries. I'm writing or spooling up to write when she comes down for coffee. She's gone by nine, leaving me to procrastinate before setting to work. I might consent to a bite by then. The morning evaporates quickly. Afternoons stretch far beyond the sun's early seasonal retirement to California. Supper wants preparing. I shuffle through the effort, my day's work as exhausted as I finally feel. The Muse returns well into the evening to find supper almost prepared. We eat before retiring to someplace less alluring than California. Neither of us will wear western-cut slacks or string ties.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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