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Lost & Found

May 13, 2013

Perhaps you read the “Lost & Found” section of the classifieds:

“Lost: along railroad tracks or in F Street parking lot: car key on horsehair key chain …”

“Found … single vehicle key on north wall of F Street bridge … call to claim …”

The keys were one and the same, belonging to L, who had lost it before, just a few weeks ago. It was found.

Then she lost it again. This time, the key was found without the horsehair attached. Later, L learned from yet another caller the key had been hanging on the chain link fence for a while, with the horsehair key chain. Eventually, it moved to the F Street bridge.

Someone got a nice key chain from Mexico, and we have the key back. That it’s possible to have lost car keys repeatedly returned is one measure of civilization. Other measures include rogue deer and rude children with loud trucks in town. You can’t have everything.

Town deer are different. When we come upon deer in the hills across the F Street bridge, they are clean, fit, and athletic, springing uphill as if gravity played no role.

In town, the deer are rather mangy, insolent, and step across the streets like people in high heels.

Perhaps town life is one of dissipation for deer in alleys and parks, as for people in bars and cafes, while in the mountains real men and deer abound —doing manly and deerly things.

In the hills, Stella likes to run with deer, while in town she shies away, they can be so aggressive and unpredictable. The dog knows.

It’s been proposed that one way to deal with town deer is to have regular leash-free days. It might work. However, the deer gangs are so bold now the dogs might avoid them.

I wonder: Where do town deer go to die? Do they say, “Well, homeys, I’m going back across the river,” and then walk across the F Street bridge, never to return? Have you ever come upon a dead deer in town? What if they never die?

Town fauna can be nice. I love the buzzards kettling over town in the evening, but I don’t like the collared doves that have recently invaded. The collared doves pushed out mourning doves.

We enjoyed a great horned owl in our neighborhood this winter. We walked all around St. Joseph’s church one night before spotting it perched on the cross atop the church’’s spire.

We certainly have skunks, foxes, and bear in Salida. If we’’re lucky, mountain lion won’’t follow deer into town. If we’’re lucky. But I’’m not betting on it.

We can see what’s possible, even if we label it improbable. Earlier this Spring, L and Stell and I were walking through Cottonwood Canyon and had just noted how the night’’s snow on the slope was scored with the tracks of small rocks that had let go, like a meteor shower.

Spring moisture loosens things. And then, about fifty yards behind us, a boulder let loose above the trail and made a terrifying sound as it bounced downhill and finally split in two against another rock, one half landing on the path. It was loud and shook the narrow canyon. We felt it and heard it but could not see it, until we went back to see what happened.

Lightning may not strike twice, but boulders might, so we were cautious, which amounted merely to knowing which way to run, often the key to survival.

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