Sunday, September 29, 2013

Summer of the Unexpected

Since we went kayaking on Keuka Lake early last summer, my friend Alex and I'd been swearing that we'd do it again. And when my parents moved to a flat on Seneca Lake that happened to have a bank next to it perfect for launching kayaks, we'd been swearing we'd do it there. Somehow it made it all the way to the end of September without us having done it, though.

Until yesterday.

I got to my parents' apartment to find the trees around the lake were already starting to turn and the water was a lot colder than last time I'd been there. It was a stunningly beautiful day though. One of those where it looks like fall but feels like summer. One of those that––if you've lived around here for any amount of time––you know just might be part of the last beautiful week of the year. 

So we launched the kayaks and headed for the opposite shore of the lake. 

Wanting to find Hector Falls, we attempted to follow The True Love––a tour schooner that we figured would be heading that way––at an inconspicuous distance. But then we accidentally passed it, which actually seemed kind of awkward at the time. 

It was well worth it for the falls though. With the kayaks we were able to slip up the only inches-deep stream that flows out from the falls to the lake and see it from a perspective you don't really get from the the road or the lake. 

Gliding out we turned south along the mostly uninhabited eastern shore of the lake. From there it's easy to see why it's uninhabited: It's basically a cliff. 

While there may have been no houses or docks, there were lots of little hidden beaches and outcroppings along the base of the cliff. Isolated little spots that are only accessible from the lake, even though they're part of the land. One of them looked interesting enough that we decided to stop on it and explore. 

We found a campfire and some benches improvised out of drift wood. I thought it looked pretty romantic and was probably the planned location of some tryst. Alex though declared that it was obviously intended for occult animal sacrifices––and I decided not to dispute his hypothesis. 

 It was a beautiful day, and a fun adventure I'd been looking forward to for awhile. 

This summer has been full of adventures, but mostly ones that I wasn't looking for. I used to always think that was the best kind. I'm much better at being spontaneous than I am at being intentional, and I guess my life this summer reflected that. Lots of experiences I didn't have the slightest expectation of having just this spring. Of course, some of them weren't entirely pleasant. Others were fantastic, but didn't end how I'd hoped they would end. Well, one in particular. 

Even so, I'm very thankful. When you find things that you weren't looking for, and they're good, I think that's the only response that you can rightfully have. Especially when you tend to approach the world in the way I just mentioned. 

This summer has been much more than I deserved, and much, much more than I was expecting. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wait and see

I'm planning on being gone for the weekend which means that I have to make accommodations not only for the opossum––there's only one now as Crash died in a tragic escape attempt gone horrifically wrong––but also for the insufferable dog and cat to be fed. While attempting to make those accommodations I ended up taking the opportunity to remind my parents of the ever more pressing need to find them a new home. They don't really belong to anyone now and the day they can't stay here anymore because the house leases may come at any time.

I think Bella can sense it. She's been all moody and depressed lately. Slouching about, growling, refusing to eat. Of course, she was like that when I got back from Texas a few weeks ago, but I think that was more just the shock of not having my family around. Now it's more than that. I think on some primal level she can sense the uncertain, transitory nature of her situation.

I've been tempted to be frustrated at the fact that I'm stuck having to be responsible for her––if you hadn't picked up on that from my post last month––but the reality is that, for all my annoyance at her dependence on me and lack of alternative options, the dog and I are in very much the same predicament.

Circumstances have changed, people have moved on, and somehow––whether for lack of volition, motivation, aptitude or luck I'm not sure––we've slipped through the cracks into a place where we're completely dependent on circumstances outside of our control and the only option is to wait and see what happens next.

Will I ever get anything more than an automatically generated rejection letter from a company that I apply to work for––and will the companies I apply to ever stop their slow march away from anything I ever wanted to do?

Will the affiliate business that I've poured hundreds of hours into trying to build even though I don't really like it ever do more than pay my student loans and a tank or two of gas every month? Is it really anything more than a shield from reality?

Will I ever be in a place where I can make a major life decision without having to ask parents and/or relatives if it's okay with them?

Is there a point anytime in the near future where I won't be one car breakdown or unexpected medical bill away from a big flashing "GAME OVER" sign across the screen of my life?

Will I ever get a chance to do anything that has any value besides making me more interesting and enigmatic to people who read this of-late poorly updated blog?

I guess Bella and I will just have to wait and see.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Crash and Eddie - The Orphan Opossums

Disclaimer: Since adopting and caring for a wild animal is illegal in Pennsylvania, the events described in this post are obviously fictitious––the beginnings of a screenplay for an animated motion picture in fact, the photos being nothing more than high-quality illustrations from the preliminary storyboard. 

Or not. 

Late yesterday afternoon I was taking Bella, the dog, for a walk when I noticed something lying in the middle of the road. As we neared, I realized it was an opossum that, rather than playing opossum, was truly and completely dead, its neck broken by the front tire of a large automobile. Since it was in the middle of our road, I picked up a nearby log and pushed the hapless creature off into the ditch. In the process it flopped over on its back and I was horrified to see something moving.

As it turned out, this opossum was a mother, and being a marsupial, was carrying its two pre-adolescent children in its pouch when all the unhappiness with the car occurred. From the looks of things, the accident had happened less than 45 minutes previous, and flies and bees were only beginning to discover the dead animal and its two very much alive young.

While I do kill animals from time to time, I've never been able to stand seeing anything suffer, so, unable to make up my mind about what I should do, I went back to the house, grabbed a 12 gauge shotgun, a pair of gloves and a mask.

Plan A was to turn the group into an unfeeling pink mist. Plan B––well, it turns out I'm still figuring out what plan B is.

Donning mask and gloves and pulling my hood over my head, I approached the odd looking mess in the ditch. After a moment of pondering how one should go about doing something like this, I simply grabbed the babies by their tails and yanked them kicking and squirming from their mother's orifice.

They are currently cuddling on a hot beanbag and eating applesauce in the garage below my room.

I spent an hour or so doing some research and came to the conclusion that these two are around 66 days old - as evidenced by the fact that they're walking about and able to drink from a dish. That was a bit of luck for them as there is no way on earth I was feeding them every two hours, 24/7, from an eye-dropper as the protocol apparently goes for orphan opossums younger than that.

From the moment I pulled them out of their Mom and they started sneezy uncontrollably (till I got them on the beanbag) up to now I haven't been at all optimistic about their chances of survival. I'm still not sure if I'll be able to get them to eat solid food, and since the only thing you're supposed to feed them before they can eat solid food is a special squirrel baby milk replacement formula that I'm not spending money on and probably wouldn't be able to find in time, chances are they'll starve to death soon if I can't get them to down something more than pureed apple in hot water. Or they may die of some disease. Or I may die of some disease. But at any rate, they won't be getting eaten alive by centipedes while clinging to their mother's dead body... and somehow I feel like it's an improvement over that.

Due to my lack of optimism, I wasn't going to name them. However, a friend suggested Crash and Eddie, after the two opossums in Ice Age, and it seemed too perfect to resist. So, for however short a time, I give you Crash, and Eddie:

They actually seem to be doing remarkably well. Climbing all over the place and coming out to drink without me prompting them to every hour or so. So we'll see.

We'll see.