Sweat ran down my back and I felt light headed from the heat and humidity. The sky above me was a hazy, darkening blue-grey with soft, puffy white clouds. The tops edged with a hallo of white sun. I watched a Blue Heron fly towards me from the west. He nearly disappeared inside the glaring setting sun. This is his usually way of approaching the pond. His large wings barely moved as he glided in. His long legs held out behind him and his thin neck stretched straight ahead in elegant splendor. Slowly, his heavy wings caressed the air as he slipped between the trees into the pond. His goal was to feed on frogs and catfish.
I was standing next to a giant Blue Spruce. It towered overhead as I pushed into its soft prickly branches. Uriah was half hidden underneath the thick needles. His choppy movements shook the upper branches and a pinecone hit me on the head. I tried to drag him out by his chubby body.
He had something in his mouth and he wasn’t giving it up! In the expanding darkness I couldn’t make out what it was. All I could hear was a loud, “Crunch! Crunch!”
I pushed Uriah to the side and yelled at him to drop whatever was in his mouth. He rolled his eyes up at me and refused to open his mouth. Like a spoiled kid caught eating a candy bar he swallowed his prize.
Using my walking stick I scrapped at the pile of grass that accumulated along the bottom of the tree. Uriah had his nose to the ground, digging at a specific pile of grass; he pulled out what looked like the remains of a nest and a decomposing rabbit. I saw the back feet and a sort of body, but no head or fur, except for a fuzzy tail. The entire rabbit was covered with the grass clippings and dirt.
Uriah and I started a little dance of power.
He tried to pick up the remains.
He dropped it!
I skipped backwards away from it!
He jumped forward and grabbed it!
He dropped it!
This could go on all night…
Finally I stepped between Uriah and rabbit, and pushed him towards the house. I could see his little mind whirling. He was storing this information, so in the morning he could reclaim his prize.
Mental note to self: Tomorrow get rabbit before Uriah does…
In the morning, I walked out with Uriah. The heat hadn’t abated, rather someone turned up the thermostat! I hurried around the house and grabbed a shovel and a plastic bag.
Luckily, Uriah spotted a bird near the garden and decided to chase him away.
I dragged the shovel over to the Blue Spruce and carefully scooped up the carcass holding it as far away as possible. I was surprised it didn’t smell. When I reached the drive way I opened the plastic bag and tired to figure out the easiest way to get it into the bag.
I looked up and saw Uriah trotting over to the Spruce, nose to the ground hunting out the dead rabbit. After minute he looked up at me and ran over. I knew then that this plastic bag wouldn’t keep Uriah away from the rabbit, and I certainly wasn’t going to bring it into the garage.
My next thought was: The burn pile! I could bury it there, under the ash.
It was relatively easy, the ground bowed to the power of the shovel and I dug a shallow grave. In the meantime Uriah had run off into the trees so I thought I was getting away with something..
When Uriah finally came back we took a walk to the pond where he happily swam in circle, then promptly ran out and shook all over me. He probably figured he was doing me a favor. It was very hot, and I was melting.
I stood in the heavy humid air, with the hot sun already burning my skin. It was only eight-thirty in the morning. Birds yelled at me! We scared all the toads into the water, I couldn’t see them, but I heard their heavy bodies making contact with the water the same way I do a belly flop. Ouch! With Uriah stirring up the mucky bottom I couldn’t see where they went to, even when I pushed through the grass and searched the waters edge. I had taken a picture a week ago of one floating lazily in the water.
I could hear my neighbor cutting his grass and a truck passing by on the road.
I shielded my eyes from the sun and motioned to Uriah to follow. We headed back to the house. I washed off the shovel with the hose before I went inside.
While I did that Uriah was nosing around the burn pile…