The wolverine my son loves best at our sparsely populated zoo is gone. Quietly, and somehow our nation is not alarmed, the wolverine population is threatened with extinction. How this has come to be we don’t know, but we are informed while staring into the wolverine exhibit (sans wolverine) to find the hiding owl, that our wolverine is successfully reproducing in another zoo back east. We’ll never see him again.
At night, when the house quiets down, a hot bath and a good book is called for. In the power camp house we grew up in along the Missouri River, we each had a turn for a hot bath night. Mine fell on Tuesdays. Only when you ran out of hot water did you wrap up in a towel and race for your bedroom–knowing the mice, thinking everyone had fallen asleep, had come out of hiding to investigate bread crumbs on the kitchen floor. Scurry.
And even now, living alone–I wait for the house to fall asleep. Then: hot bath, good book. Transported. And when I do wrap up in a towel, instinct still sends me quickly to the safety zone of my bed.
She hadn’t noticed the flower. Not until the bee came along. –Little Bee
What we like best about our zoo is that no one goes there. And no one goes there because we have so few exhibits. Which is what we like because none of us like to see caged animals. But, the walk along the creek and the canyon, through the many groves is excellent.
And now, we hear Bruno, the grizzly bear, is to have cake. Banana cake with applesauce instead of sugar. For the Super Bowl. Bruno, the director tells us in a low voice, used to be in a bad circus. They never fed him well and now he has only a few teeth.
We watch Bruno play with a frozen melon swinging from a rope, taking his time eating it. When he hears the zoo director’s voice, he leaves his swinging melon and ambles across the field, through the pond, over the fallen trees and approaches. His head sways back and forth, as though to tune into the conversation.
Shhh, the cake is meant to be a surprise.
Shoeshopper’s granddaughter recalls the day they found a baby skunk hiding beneath her grandmother’s outdoor freezer. The black and white furball not budging. How to liberate a baby? A trail of dog food leading from the fence line out past the line of cottonwoods and the irrigation canal, through the grass, across the concrete pad, up the stairs, across the deck, stopping in front of the freezer.
When the house quiets down, it’s easier to tune ‘into a certain frequency.’ You know the way a radio dial turns? Dialing ‘through the hissing and howling until you make out a voice . . . and then you find your friend’s voice.’ –Little Bee
This is the way I hear you.