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A Day in the Life

This morning, my canine hiking companion and I were transfixed by a large red fox, on the hunt. The red fox was red by breed, but not by color; he (or she) was yellow and white with a bushy tail and a calm, determined expression. The fox move in toward its prey, a big, brown marmot. The Marmot rose and lunged toward the fox. The fox backed off, waited a moment, re-assessed the situation, then moved in again. The marmot lunged again. The fox backed off. This went on, over and over, for some time. The fox moved in, the marmot lunged, the fox backed off. The fox moved in, the marmot lunged, the fox backed off. The fox moved in, the marmot lunged, the fox backed off. The fox moved in, the marmot lunged-- psych! The fox snatched the marmot -- so fast! -- and trotted off with his catch, into the woods. Poor marmot. Cunning fox!

Later, home. Shower. Car. Still reeling over the fox and marmot. I drop my ballot into the box on our way out of town, Then, it was westward ho 70 miles to a lower, hotter, busier town. Van Morrison is along for the ride. The appointment was not mine. We were told to expect road construction. There was none, so we breezed through the curves of the canyon, into the mystic, gypsy souls rockin'. Upon arrival, my brave companion donned his N95 to go where no man had gone before -- except that last guy we saw with the walker and bandana as we parked -- into bowels, the sordid underbelly if you will, of the ophthalmologist's office for his pre-cataract-surgery checkup. It took a while. I sat in the shade at the base of a tree, 91 degrees, shoes off, stubby little piggies in the cool grass. I called a friend for a long, overdue chat. We imagined not-too-distant adventures together- me to Michigan, her to Colorado, an Alaska-moose-and-birch-tree-alder-smoked -halibut-dinner-mosquito-hike-writers'-inspirational-redux. That would be so cool! Let's do it!

My companion eventually emerged from the mad, eye doctor's labyrinth, blinded by the light even with dark glasses. The world is a blur, he said and handed me the keys. We picked up Chinese food to go. Cresting the summit, a glint of late afternoon sun in our mirrors, black smoke up ahead rose to bullet the blue sky. We came upon the source soon enough; a car ablaze, its passenger compartment engulfed, just like in the movies. Please tell me nobody was inside, I said. Please tell me they got out, I said. If they were inside, he said, or they didn't, he said... There was no need for more words. Ten minutes on, Sheriff's deputies, an ambulance, two fire engines, sirens, and lights, buzzed by, one, then another, and another, from the direction we were headed. Too late, we said in unison. Too late.

The Singapore style noodles at dinner were the first I'd eaten since leaving Hawaii. They weren't as good as Lemon Grass or Happy Valley, but they weren't bad washed down with a crisp, local lager, and a side of John Oliver.

I took no photos of the day. It didn't occur to me to pull out my phone, frame the shot, and tap the button. The fox. The Marmot. The grass. The chat. The searing sun. The burning car. The impossible beauty of the mountains. Singapore style noodles in Styrofoam. A day in the life.

I did, however, shoot a photo this evening from the backyard. They are exceptional at what they do, after all, these carefree, alpenglow bulls, outstanding in their field.

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