whimper of pure FOMO
Friday, May 12 2023
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
At 4:00pm, our new neighbor Alison came over with her daughter W. Though Alison is about 20 years younger than me, she was wearing a Phil Collins baseball cap. (Phil Collins, for those who don't remember, was a drummer for the progressive rock band band Genesis. Upon Peter Gabriel's departure from the band — when I was about seven — Collins led Genesis away from their quirky art-rock sound towards a decidedly mainstream pop sound, ultimately ending up producing such schlock classics as "Invisible Touch.") As for the kid, she was about six and half and had a tendency to suddenly break into crying when things didn't go her way. When, for example, W said she was hungry and Gretchen announced that we had banana bread (it was very good banana bread, by the way), W said she didn't like banana bread. At that point Ramona walked by and gave W a drive-by kiss, and so when W burst into tears, it wasn't clear whether it was because of Ramona or because of the offer of banana bread. It turned out, though, that it was the latter.
Then W wanted a tour of the laboratory. She said that she also has a laboratory, and showed us a photo of a bee's wing she'd taken using an phone and an optical microscope. There's a lot to see in the laboratory, of course, especially in its cluttered state. But Alison focused on my collection of skulls. And then W wanted to go out on the laboratory deck. And then she wanted to climb up to the solar deck. To her credit, Alison didn't seem worried in the least as her kid climbed up the ladder to the mystery deck overhead. But the nature of that kid's energy made it so adult conversation was almost impossible. Maybe we'll get to hang out with Alison some time when the kid at her father's place.
It turns out that Alison is very much into animal rights. She's not entirely vegan, but she said she frequently attended Mercy For Animals' galas in Los Angeles. Gretchen started talking smack about MFA and I quickly made it clear that, after nearly five years, I'm not upset about them firing me any more.
This weekend Gretchen would be coming with me and the dogs up to the cabin in the Adirondacks. But just before we were to leave, the dogs all went running off into the forest just south of the house, where I soon saw a raised-hackled Ramona among Crazy Dave's Australian shepherds. Gretchen managed to load Ramona in the car, but we couldn't see Neville anywhere. So headed down the Stick Trail, pointlessly calling his name (since he never comes when called). I then heard a faint woofing in the distance. With other dogs, that would mean they were very far away, but Neville has such a quiet bark that I knew he must be close. Also, there was a forested knoll between me and the sound the barking. So I climbed up the escarpment to the Farm Road and soon saw Neville under a large white pine near where the Farm Road takes a jog before passing the intersection with the Chamomile Headwaters Trail. Neville was barking and looking high into a tree. I walked over silently and scooped him up in my arms and carried him homeward. As I looked up, I could see a mid-sized bear maybe 50 or 75 feet above the ground. Neville weighs at least 50 pounds, so at some point as I carried him I had to put him down so I could rest. Once when I did that, I heard the sound of the bear coming down out of the pine. It sounded like a big tree slowly falling over. Neville got excited, so I had to grab and hold him tight, and then I saw the bear head off off eastward on the ground. Neville did too, and he let out a whimper of pure FOMO. I was not letting him go. I ultimately had to carry him all the way to the Chevy Bolt.
Gretchen did the driving, and the drive was mostly uneventful, although some distance south of Albany, we saw the skeletonized remains of a burned out vehicle on the shoulder of the south-bound lanes with a massive traffic jam stretching for miles to the north.
At the cabin, most of the common trees (maples and beeches) had finally leafed-out. The ground was covered everywhere with the brown confetti of beech bud scales. Also, the hundreds of clumps of bush clover scattered across our building site all seemed to have grown substantially just since last weekend.
Before dark, I decided to walk down to the lake to see if I could see any wildlife. But all I ended up seeing was a single flying mallard.
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