Anyhow, for your viewing pleasure, a brace of angular angler simulacra.
I looked up the word "simulacrum" a while back for a story I was writing, and I keep wanting to put it into wider circulation. It's defined as a copy or an imperfect image of a thing. Likewise the word "brace" means a pair. I'd thought it was more, as in "a brace of partridge," which seems like a small bag for a day's work.
Anyhow, for your viewing pleasure, a brace of angular angler simulacra.
A long winter, a late spring.
The shape of the land shows like the ribs of a hungry animal this early in the spring.
Waiting for the arrival of spring, Mr. Linton and I blazed a couple of new trails. It's easier to make a way without having to part that modesty-drape of leaves and grass.
Naming the trails is surprisingly difficult, for what we end up calling them.
Anyway, a few days and a few yellow blazes later, we now we have Dead Possum Trail (named for the skeleton we found, natch) and what I first thought would be Trillium Trail.
Then we noticed this:
So, Broken Wagon Trail it is.
Okay, yes, it's not technically a wagon. Neither is it precisely broken. But Abandoned Hay Rake Trail doesn't have the same ring, does it? Plus Mr. Linton named it, and what he says, goes. Sometimes. This time.
Back to the narrative.
Late spring this year: even the old oaks seemed to be having a hard time waking up.
My Daddo was petrified of snakes. A traumatic childhood canoe mishap rendered him and his sister and his mother all terribly snake-averse.
In later years, he referred to them as "serpents" in a mostly ineffectual effort to keep from getting the willies* when talking about them.
Mumsie was seriously afraid of spiders but pretty much loved any other living creature in the world. She said, "Oh, for pity's sake. Put them down before they warm up and start biting you."
Lo these decades later, the vaccination still works. A little corn-snake lurking among some line doesn't bother me one bit.
I wonder if he imagined he was invisible. He didn't have much of a grip on how complementary colors work on the color wheel. It's a like scene from a Michael Bay film.
*Ooh, yeah, that Flickr site: so there's someone who re-creates Gary Larson's Far Side cartoons using Legos.
I may have reached the end of the interwebs.
Speculative fiction (what some longtime readers might think of as "SciFi") can be described as the fiction of ideas.
Even more than other fiction, SF often examines the consequences of one idea across a whole society. For instance, what if robots became so beautifully built that they could pass for human? What if you could outsource your own memories? What if Hitler had won the war?*
*Fans of the genre will recognize that these three "ideas" are at the core of stories by the late, great (but bat-crap paranoid) Philip K. Dick. The guy that dreamed up the stories behind The Man in the High Castle, Blade Runner, and Total Recall (we like the version with Arnold) and a bunch more.
So with SF on my mind, today's writing warm-up exercise:
The eclipse was less dramatic than she'd expected. Not that she was in the cone of totality, but still, she'd never witnessed a solar eclipse before. Never mind a double.
Still, she'd taken the afternoon off, and though the cheap protective glasses had broken –– she'd forgotten them in the seat of her vehicle and then sat on the damn things when she'd slid into the seat in the cool darkness of the parking bay.
Still there it was: her first double-lunar eclipse. She watched two penumbral cones shaving the sun into a puny lozenge of light. An unseasonable breeze sprang up. She shivered and wished there was someone next to her. She hadn't considered herself in any way sentimental, but she longed now for something communal, a human companion.
The sight of the sun, even as small and cold as it was from this distance, turning just that much smaller and colder –– well, she felt for a moment that she understood primitive superstition.
And then, as quick as the remembered snap of a plastic tiddley-wink, the moons parted and the sun shone round and bright again.
He kept watch on the mirror-calm surface of the water, barely breathing.
He was comfortable –– or anyway about as as comfortable as anyone zipped into a breather suit and strapped bodily against the pot-bellied ventral surface of a drone hopper could expect to be. He refused to consider the blurring of the features of shore, blocked out thoughts of the hopper's speed (only a quarter-sonic, almost survivable without the suit), kept his attention on the glassy reflection of the sky.
The handful of beta-blockers he'd swallowed at the start of his shift was working to keep his blood-pressure low. He shrugged his shoulders against the petal-soft lining of the suit. He stretched the webbing between first his left and then his right hand.
Eyes open, he told himself. He was going to need to be very quick and very lucky or he was going to end up very dead. And he wouldn't be the only one.
So there's a tumbledown house at the Would-Be Farm –– a modest wooden structure that's slowly collapsing into its foundation after being abandoned sometime in the 1980's.
It sports an outhouse that has been, up until now, frankly, too horrifying for me to examine.
Mr. Linton, however, is a made of sterner stuff. And thus his courage was rewarded:
The photo begs a caption. Or something.
*I love that phrase, which goes something like, "In April...then folk do long to go on pilgrimage," from the opening sentence of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.
In the interest of brutal honesty and over-sharing, inside that ellipsis? Those three dots contain an entire universe of wordy wordy words that may have in played a pivotal role in my decision NOT to pursue graduate work in English.
The third time, I realized quoting the opening lines of The Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English was a painful dating stratagem of people in my chosen field of study. The idea being, perhaps, to stupefy and render the object unconscious.
Still, April is a time when folk DO long to hit the road.
Springtime itchy feet.
Questing for sunny beaches or the last few downhill runs, going for the peak cherry blossoms or those first bulbs poking heads out of the mud.
Each trip worth a Tale.
Each spring, one of the first pleasant chores at the Would-Be Farm is a nice mix of high tech and low mud: we retrieve the game cameras and make our observations of the winter action.
Some old friends appear year after year.
And a few surprises.
Even with thousands of images captured on the tiny photo cards, some creatures are still camera shy.
While a couple are hiding in plain sight:
National Poetry Month.
Poems are where word-caterpillars emerge from their cocoons.
P-p-pa-poetry? Here, this won'd hurt much:
The Caterpillar by Ogden Nash
I find among the poems of Schiller
No mention of the caterpillar
Nor can I find one anywhere
In Petrarch or in Baudelaire
So here I sit in extra session
To give my personal impression.
The caterpillar, as it's called,
Is often hairy, seldom bald;
It looks as if it never shaves;
When it walks, it walks in waves.
And from the cradle to the chrysalis
It's utterly speechless, songless, whistless.
Shakespearean butterflies? Sure.
And where else but Lear? It's a butterfly-ish play**, the madness and the stomping around and all...and for the fastidious, his poetry is a blanker shade of verse than Mr. Nash's.
*That from "An April Day" by William Wadsworth Longfellow. WWL was a BIG fan of April.
*Okay, maybe Lear is not SO much butterfly-ish, but Peter S. Beagle's fictional butterfly quotes Lear to great effect in another work; hence they are joined in my mind.
I didn't injure my shoulder doing my sailing thing.
Well, maybe it was a little injured from sailing. But then while pushing the chunky Scuppernong around on her trailer, I lost my footing and caught myself –– and my shoulder made a distinctly unpleasant crunching sound. Ouch.
Sports injury. No big: ice, rest, anti-inflammatory meds, and give it a week or so off. Two weeks later, yoga class. And straight home to make an appointment with the local shoulder doctor. Or, ideally, with the local shoulder doctor's PA.
Oddly, I got right in. I wonder if they keep track of how many Linton shoulders they have dealt with? Do we get a volume discount? Is it like a frequent buyer deal?
The shoulder doctor's PA –– a young guy with a cheerful straight-arrow bedside manner –– came in, moved the ouchy arm around, and looked at my x-ray. Then he laid out my options.
I would need an MRI to be sure, but either I'd have some minor injury in muscle x or tendon y, or else it was a torn rotator cuff. He made a face and summarized the latter, "In which case, you're pretty much fucked."
He would know.
Fast forward to this morning, the shoulder doctor's Fellow –– another personable young guy with good people skills –– walked us through the results of the MRI: the usual wear-and-tear on the ball-joint for someone my age (!), excellent cartilege margins, good-looking subscapularis tendon with no tears, muscles look good (why thank you!), infraspinatus looks fine, supraspinatus tendon no tears. In short, an intact rotator.
However, he said, pointing at the grey image on the screen, where the supraspinatus comes into the arm –– where it should be clear and defined –– (I nodded, though it was like admiring someone's sonogram photo. It always look a little like an inkblot) –– it appears, the Fellow said, "a bit frayed."
Wisdom of the body: when things get frayed, inflammation steps up and says, "No, no, bad dog!" In order to keep the stubborn user of the frayed tendon from continuing to overuse the damn thing, inflammation ladles up a heaping dose of pain and weakness. Which causes one to remember to ice, rest, and anti-infammatory the snot out of oneself.
Did that mean I should NOT sail next week? I asked. He laughed. Well, if you mean sailing with an umbrella drink in hand while he –– nodding at my favorite skipper –– does all the work? Sure.
Icepack at the ready, ibuprofen at hand, I will be on shore for a bit.
Andyman to the rescue!
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