Thursday, April 1, 2010

scaring javalinas

Because Emma is triple-deadline woman now, I did the just-before-sunset walk alone. Approaching a place in the wash where the palo verdes on either side nearly touch, I heard a thrashing in the brush, maybe ten feet away. I'm not sure who was more surprised, the big javalina or me. I backed up a step or two, then froze. Some critters pursue you if you seem frightened, and others attack if you don't, and I can never remember which is which.

Javalinas travel in family groups—sure enough, when I looked around, I saw another one watching. They're not aggressive normally, but they'll defend their young.

So I talked a little loudly in case any other javalinas were near: "Yup, it's just a dumb human, walking through the wash. Nobody's threatening nobody's babies." And I walked on.

About fifty feet ahead of me, four smaller javalinas crossed the wash. I think they went in order of size, though I wouldn't swear to that. The last, not as large as the adults, crossed fastest, like the last human kid in a pack who crosses the highway realizing he shouldn't. The strangest thing was its gait. It seemed to me that it crossed in leaps, unlike the others who scurried.

When I emerged on the road, I saw a classic bird shape near the top of a low tree. While I watched, the hawk flew away with lazy strokes of its wings.

I read Lisa See's Shanghai Girls recently, and quite liked it. Gave it four stars on Goodreads, but might've given it five. My ideal rating system would have three choices, recommended, okay, not recommended. Five stars seem like too few or too many; I would've given Shanghai Girls 4.5 if I could've.

For dinner, I mixed barbecue sauce, wild rice, onions, asparagus, and chopped pseudomeat balls, then put it on whole wheat pizza dough in an iron skilled, then covered that with soy cheese. I love the texture of wild rice in pizza and spaghetti. We've got about a pound and a half left of the good Canadian rice from the bag my sister gave me. If I was more conventionally sentimental, I would keep the last cup or so. But Liz would think that was a waste of wild rice, so it'll be eaten in the next month or so.

This was my thought of the day: Repression breeds resistance. It's at least a truism and might be a cliche, yet so few people seem to know it.

ETA: A dark piece of Shetterly family history

I was very surprised to find this on the web: Murders Husband of Former Wife (1913) It doesn't quite agree with the bits I've heard from my family, but family tales evolve in the telling, and newspaper accounts always get something wrong. The murderer was my great-grandfather. What the story doesn't have is the follow-up; he hung himself in jail.

My understanding of the story, with a few embellishments, appears in Dogland.

The site has a number of horrible stories of the past. I recommend this one.