the news: in response to the usual

by tobias crabtree

this is the news from a single perspective. this is not fox news, which might include some know-it-all, deep-voiced analyst telling me that things are not as i think they are and that i’m too far left or too far gone or too something. this is not a facebook update in which i’ll tell you about every little thing that passes my fancy but i might mix in a couple inner demons or maybe tell you something about my neighbor’s sister’s gall bladder. this isn’t that, no, it surely isn’t that. this isn’t even npr, where you don’t know whether to listen because you might be depressed or you might be laughing because that’s just how things are in this world. this is just the news from a camper in the pacific northwest at 6:18 on a thursday morning, august 1, 2013.  i’ve lost most of you by this point. anybody crazy enough to have started reading this, has probably dropped off by now to find something more riveting. that’s cool. if  you’re still with me, you’re probably a friend or someone who could be my friend if the world would spin just the right way.

anyway. it’s raining. i can hear the creek running down at the bottom of the gulch. the plum tree that hangs over the road about a half-mile from here has plums that taste like vanilla (and plum, duh).  not too far away, in the woods by the santiam river, there is a ponderosa, a fir tree, and a cedar that are growing together; their roots are intertwined and their branches mingle all the way to their tops. they’re giants, all three. a mother deer and her speckled fawn just tip-toed past my rig. both looked in the upper window and their noses were glistening black and their ears were whirling like satellite dishes. they were close and i could smell them because it’s damp and because i know that smell (i don’t smell too differently). it is exactly four days till my mother’s birthday. this may not seem newsworthy to you, but it is to me. without my ma, i would never have been…and, so far, it’s nice to be. beyond that, even if i wasn’t (you know, like, if i wasn’t at all), the world needs my mother. she’s arranged a lot of flowers and smiled at about a million birds and listened to thousands of people tell her their problems and then said stuff to make them feel better. my mom is pretty cool. um, let’s see, what else? oh yeah, i pulled an old tarp out of the woods and it was full of huge slugs, they were as long as my hand. they slugged off through the ferns, not very fast. the other day i noticed that all my aches and pains go away when i laugh really hard. it’s tough to laugh all the time but i might try it for a while to see if i start feeling better. the kitten, whose name is ‘el kittán’ (emphasis on the “tan”, so named by her owner and my friend, tim, who lives in the house below where my camper is parked),  kept me awake last night because she was trying to break into my camper. i had to block her entrance with a wadded up piece of the tarp i dug out of the woods (yes, the same tarp that had all the slugs…i’m not sure how those slugs are doing, my guess is that they’re ok).

the last part of this newsfeed is about a rhea. i think she’s a “lesser rhea” according to taxonomy, but i don’t like that terminology. she seems like a good ol’ girl and not lesser at all. she’s in the field just beyond the plum tree. i’ve seen her there for years (probably 7 or 8) but she used to have a llama out there with her. she’s got tons of room to roam. there’s a creek and big trees and lots of grass for grazing. i’ve noticed her more since the llama went away. i’m not sure where he went, maybe off to college or back to south america. now, i feel bad for her. i want to be her friend. sometimes, when i walk by her i say things to her, just nice stuff like, “how’s the grass? or “have you been down to the creek lately?”. mostly she just looks at me with one eye and then the other. yesterday, for the first time, i heard her voice. it was so little and high, like a flute. i had a wave of sorrow come over me like never before. i wanted to earn her trust, make a plan with her and take her back to the pampas or wherever her people are running free. i think she’d fit in the camper, it’d be strange for her at first but i think she’d be ok. we would travel south until we were far enough to not be bothered. then i think we’d walk. i’ve always wanted to walk a long, long way and i think it would be nice to walk with a rhea. but really, it’s raining right now so i’ll wait till it’s done, then i think i’ll take her some apples. she’s probably down under the trees by the creek with her eyes closed and with her long eyelashes waiving under her dreams.

that’s the news for today. for other news check your local station, or go on facebook and scroll down the news page, you’ll find some real gems there. or buy a paper and find out about the bad stuff.  as for me…well, you know what i’m up to.

over and out.