Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Painting by Amber Hill


In the dim half-light of the
hour before sunrise, crossing
the 200 yards from my silver
SUV to the stucco building I
work within, I was confronted
by a large racoon, who rushed
out from behind a tall conifer
and blocked my path. It stood
up on its back legs and the
yard lights sparkled in its
black eyes. I hissed at it,
knowing from experience that
although it had the comic
looks of a Disney Beagle Boy,
never the less it still was
a wild begger accosting me
in the deep dark, with eyes
masked and teeth bared. I
clutched hard at my brown
sack lunch and pounded the
ground with my stout cane.
It returned to all fours,
returned my hiss and slung
back into the shadows,
running in that distinctive
racoon lope, short front legs
giving it a rakish profile.

Image by Charles M. Melton

A glance out my office window
revealed a nesting pair of
bald eagles with one of their
young high up on a fat fir
branch near the edge of
American Lake, waiting to
catch sight of a rainbow
trout probably hiding under
the rough puncheon boards of
the government dock just south
of them. A stiff breeze off
the water ruffled the chocolate
feathers on their folded
wings and the snow white ones
of their crowns, while Mt.
Rainier peeked up over the
edge of Silcox Island, eager
to witness their parenting.

I sat alone in the picnic
shed watching the May mist
first become shower, then
return to rising steam,
pelting the four BBQ's
standing in a sloppy row
out front, all blue-black
with smeared charcoal and
ash; chewing on my tuna
sandwich, laced with garlic
dill pickle slices and
swirls of white onion, staring
wistfully out over the wide
mile of lake, at the white
caps the wind whipped up,
at the lone fisherman
anchored in the middle,
two poles thrust out over
the low transom, he covered
in gortex and hope, and at
several three-story mansions
piled up like wealthy lichen
on the opposite shore.

Glenn Buttkus May 2010

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