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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Subnivean Sermon

It is a brassy, woody sound between  ringing and rattling that rarely occurs, but when it does, it means the oldest telephone in the back porch has been called.

"Hello, have I reached the future?"

"Speaking.  How are you, Poppy?"

"Aging, but still in the game."

"And Santa?"

"Jolly, he's jolly. I need your help with something else."

"At your service, ma'am."

"All right. According to future history --where I was born but only visit on holidays now-- your new administration succeeded in confusing Sweden, of all places, this weekend. It won't stop there because 'alternative truth' has become part of the vulgate."

"Yes, Poppy, that was this weekend. How can I help?"

"You can help by resurrecting a counter-phrase from your youth in North America. Something "Job" and "Snow"? Am I making sense?"

"Snowjob? Sure, like when I used to make up phony quotes in high school essays and attribute them to non-existent authors. But I haven't heard the term in ages."

"Do your best then, Geo., even if you have to doodle and, if you can, suggest a solution to its threat of temporal enigma.  The confusion won't stop at Sweden. Bye!"

Hence my doodle:
Observe its four layers: the sky does a snowjob; tree metabolism and residual ground temperature create a relatively comfortable hollow under the packed snow.  Under the snowpack is better protected from predators than above it --and warmer. The hollow is called the subnivean zone. It contains the little creatures who seek shelter from the cold upper air when there are no attics available --or when attics are claimed by larger creatures like bison or low-flying aircraft.  In the doodle, you may notice the weathermouse reporting down a snow-tunnel to the twig-ladder-holding mouse --who relays meteorological information to squirrels, bugs, reptiles and other refugees in the subnivean zone.

Lesson is, we must learn from our little forest friends how to survive in subnivean security when inundated with incessant snowjobs. Your regular pastor will return next Sunday, or whenever weathermouse says it's safe to dig out.

Go in peace.
Addendum: To readers who wish a background to our time-traveling friend, Poppy, please click here.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Invisibility And The Meaning Of Life

I had not considered the enigma of invisibility until this week, while we patrolled the garden looking for rain-damage to our drought. I came upon this creature --Norma took a photo:
I: Well, hello there! Get through the rainy night all right?

It: Yes, thank you...I mean, uh, why are you asking?

I: I thought it only polite.

It: I mean, why are you talking to me?

I: Because you're a living creature.

It: Nonsense! I am some punctuation. One of those Roman things.

I: Roman thing?

It: Yes, Et , in Latin cursive, O and t were contracted to write And as &.

I: You're an ampersand?

It: Well, obviously. Trouble with you humans is no imagination. Think about it!
I: Ah, I see. Wonder why it hadn't struck me before.

It: It's because you jumpy humans spend so much time thinking up unpleasant things to do. Other animals accept our camouflage because their calmer imaginations are capable of it --and they'd rather not attack mighty forest beasts like us squirrels. When threatened, we keep perfectly still and the illusion is complete.

I: How do you remain still?

It: We meditate. We ponder the meaning of life. Think about where you have seen me.

I: Well, when you were growing up last summer, I saw you a lot atop our almond tree.
It: And now you see me carrying the almonds I buried off to my shelter in the laurel bough. I also socked a lot of walnuts away from under your neighbor's tree. That's the meaning of life.

I: You mean...

It: Yes, life is nuts!

I: You'll get no argument from me.