Today I had to wash a lot of raccoon muck out of the feral cats' water bowls. Raccoons like to wash their filthy paws before they eat, and sometimes after they eat as well, so the water bowls can get gross. They were very gross today. I blame myself for having left partly full bowls of cat food out last night. I'll remember to bring it in tonight, and the raccoons shouldn't hang about.
Another animal incident occurred around noon, when a flock of eight birds who I think were hawks spent several minutes making lazy circles above the neighborhood. They were most likely riding the thermals sent up by the warm ground. A group of hawks is called a kettle, for some reason. This kettle was the largest I can recall ever seeing here, though when hawks migrate a kettle can contain hundreds of birds, and dozens are not rare in some parts of California.
Also, before it got hot this morning, I got the leaves raked from one half of the back lawn. An accomplishment! Andin this weather!
I think I might treat myself to a bit of air conditioning tonight, hopefully for the last time this summer. It's just that I'd like to be comfortable for a while and enjoy dinner and English people murdering one another on television. It's and extravagant self indulgence, I know, but this summer has been so exhausting, and it's likely to be hot outside all night. Enough is enough.
Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape
by John Ashbery
The first of the undecoded messages read: "Popeye sits in thunder,
Unthought of. From that shoebox of an apartment,
From livid curtain's hue, a tangram emerges: a country."
Meanwhile the Sea Hag was relaxing on a green couch: "How pleasant
To spend one's vacation en la casa de Popeye," she scratched
Her cleft chin's solitary hair. She remembered spinach
And was going to ask Wimpy if he had bought any spinach.
"M'love," he intercepted, "the plains are decked out in thunder
Today, and it shall be as you wish." He scratched
The part of his head under his hat. The apartment
Seemed to grow smaller. "But what if no pleasant
Inspiration plunge us now to the stars? For this is my country."
Suddenly they remembered how it was cheaper in the country.
Wimpy was thoughtfully cutting open a number 2 can of spinach
When the door opened and Swee'pea crept in. "How pleasant!"
But Swee'pea looked morose. A note was pinned to his bib. "Thunder
And tears are unavailing," it read. "Henceforth shall Popeye's apartment
Be but remembered space, toxic or salubrious, whole or scratched."
Olive came hurtling through the window; its geraniums scratched
Her long thigh. "I have news!" she gasped. "Popeye, forced as you know to flee the country
One musty gusty evening, by the schemes of his wizened, duplicate father, jealous of the apartment
And all that it contains, myself and spinach
In particular, heaves bolts of loving thunder
At his own astonished becoming, rupturing the pleasant
Arpeggio of our years. No more shall pleasant
Rays of the sun refresh your sense of growing old, nor the scratched
Tree-trunks and mossy foliage, only immaculate darkness and thunder."
She grabbed Swee'pea. "I'm taking the brat to the country."
"But you can't do that—he hasn't even finished his spinach,"
Urged the Sea Hag, looking fearfully around at the apartment.
But Olive was already out of earshot. Now the apartment
Succumbed to a strange new hush. "Actually it's quite pleasant
Here," thought the Sea Hag. "If this is all we need fear from spinach
Then I don't mind so much. Perhaps we could invite Alice the Goon over"—she scratched
One dug pensively—"but Wimpy is such a country
Bumpkin, always burping like that." Minute at first, the thunder
Soon filled the apartment. It was domestic thunder,
The color of spinach. Popeye chuckled and scratched
His balls: it sure was pleasant to spend a day in the country.