Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Secret Petroglyphs

Caretaker’s Log, Saturday, April 25, 2015

I dream there are seven or eight mice in the bathtub. I'm trying to get them all in one container and they keep escaping. My sister Jesse shows up and then my dad is there also to help make the container breathable so the mice don't suffocate when I take them half a mile away.

In real life, I wake up. There are no mice in the tub. The little guy that was stuck last night somehow escaped—whether on his own strength (perhaps aided by the sugar in the raisins I left him) or with a little help from his friends, I don't know.

There's a frosted covering over the land. Last night’s snow.

The Hydro is working the way it should.

I post a blog.

I make pancakes for breakfast. Top them off with strawberries and a dash of maple syrup.

I read a little.

I talk to Loring. He wants me to look for some documents that he can't seem to find anywhere at his home.

I can't quite decide what I want to do. Which is bad because it can mean I end up doing nothing at all.

I clean up the dishes, report in to Loring that I couldn't find the papers. While we're on the phone he tells me how to find the petroglyphs because I’d asked him about them in an email.

"No one is supposed to know about them," he says, "but since the cat is already out of the bag."

I assure him I’ll keep their location secret and will do nothing to destroy them. I tell him that Todd had told me about them and that he had said one of the previous caretakers had added a tepee to the rock wall beside them which had made Loring furious. Loring says, "I don't think that's true. I don't remember that. There was one guest one summer who went around drawing Mickey Mouse on everything. Maybe the stories got jumbled up."

"I guess I can't believe everything I hear," I say with a laugh.

"But if it makes a good story," Loring says. "There's no reason not to keep on telling it."

"Even if it's fiction," I say.

I call and talk to my grandmother.

Then I clean the mouse droppings from last night’s mouse out of the tub.

After that's done, I put on my hiking boots and head out to an undisclosed location. Following Loring's flawless directions I find the petroglyphs. The etching is a human figure carrying a trident riding on some kind of animal. I have no idea how old this work of art is. I think about the artist and wonder if as he'd been etching these figures into the stone if he’d thought, "What I wouldn't give for a canvas."

I leave the secret location and hike back to the lodge. I take my time. I'm not in any hurry. It's a nice day out. I'm glad to be outside in it. I spend some time with the cat on my return. Bring in some wood. Take a bath. Eat the small remnants from my breakfast.

The day gets away from me. Soon enough it's weather time.

I write a little bit.

I read.

I watch a show.

I head up to bed.

Caretaker’s Log, Sunday, April 26, 2015

There's already 2 inches of snow on the ground and more falling when I get up.

I water the plants first thing. Empty the leak bucket, clean out the ash in the fireplace, make coffee, take the cat fresh water and add food to her food dish, refill the diesel dust bucket, work a crossword, get some information off one of the systems in the generator shed to send to Loring, and send a couple of emails all before breakfast.

I see a coyote in the west field trudging through the snow. Then it vanishes into the trees.

I have an omelet for breakfast and use up some of the precious spinach.

When the afternoon brings warmer temperatures, the snow, although it's still falling, melts into the ground. So much for any accumulation.

The ground squirrels are more chummy with each other. I wonder what they're up to.

I'm out with the cat when I hear a bizarre buzzing like a giant fly or a bee. I look around puzzled. Then the swans come trumpeting in to view. Buzzing and trumpeting. They stand out so white even against the inconsistent snow.

I'm in an odd mood, wistful and a bit, not quite lonely, but feeling distanced. So I do as my mom once told me and write through the emotion. I work on a short story all afternoon.

I talk with my grandmother. My grandfather has been released from the hospital and they will be heading home at any moment.

I write.

Outside the snow falls. Stops. Comes again. Although the ground accumulation has already melted with the above freezing temperatures and the snowboard shows nothing more than a damp trace the precipitation bucket will give a big number tonight.

I do an hour and a half yoga workout.

I take a bath. Wash my hair.

At six o'clock, I go walk around in the snow-rain with the cat. We’re at the Hydro pit when a goose comes flying in. It puts down its landing gear and slides across the top of the water to a splashing landing, making an "oh my God, I can't stop," kind of noise. But then, suddenly, it collects itself and settles in the water. It says, "Honk honk." As if pleased with its performance. I laugh out loud, but try to keep it low enough so as not to offend that silly goose.

0.18 inches of precipitation.

In the lodge, I settle in on the couch and read. After a while I watch a show. Then it's bedtime. No mice in the tub tonight.

Caretaker’s Log, Monday, April 27, 2015

The phone rings at 8:10. I get downstairs and pick it up. One ring too late. All I've got to hear is a dial tone.

17 weeks today.

The morning is like a Carpenters song. Take your pick as to which one.

I work a crossword. Drink some coffee. Sit outside and read until the sun disappears behind a giant cloud and the morning breeze chills me.

I work the edges of one of the new airdropped jigsaw puzzles.

I read.

I have a spinach and fruit smoothie for breakfast.

The geese are active this morning. There are several pairs flapping about.

Again, I'm not feeling like doing anything. So I gear up and go for a hike. There's nothing like fresh air and motion to ward away ennui.

I walk to the dam, going through the willows and trees rather than up the muddy road. I hear a bird, two birds tapping trees. I assume they’re woodpeckers. I finally see one of them. At the dam things look fine. I get some pictures of the wood pecking bird, possibly both of them, on my way down.

I hike about an hour and twenty minutes. It does me good.

Back at the lodge, I take a bath.

I find out that the birds are not woodpeckers but probably yellow-bellied sapsuckers. Which sounds like a really mean insult.

I check my email and discover my mom had tried to text me and call with no response from me. I email her back and then call her. She's glad I haven't fallen off the cliff where the petroglyphs are hidden.

I call my grandmother but she has company and will call me back.

I eat the very last can of tuna for dinner with the last of the Monterey Jack cheese. I have a can of sliced pears as a side.

My grandmother calls back and while we’re talking the call waiting beeps in. Eventually, I get over and it's Michaela. Tomorrow is her birthday. We talk for a little bit. Finally, I call my grandmother and we get in something of a conversation. It's all so jumbled that for the first time since I've been caretaker I'm late in recording the weather. Twelve minutes late.

The cat and I do our walk around. I give her more food since the ground squirrels have cleaned her out.

I work on the short story I’d started yesterday.

The evening turns dark and eventually I go on up to bed. Another day for the books.

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