I detected a shrill airborne commotion in the backyard, a dozen birds raising an “alarum” that someone with a short attention span might’ve characterized as a “peep show” but in reality involved an extended family of considerably distraught cactus wrens. A few beats later, my dog, The Reverend, appeared at my side, while I typed very important sentences into my computer. He stood there, breathing, which made me look. There, in his mouth, squirmed a cactus wren, bearing an electric expression like, “Get me outta here, Bud!” I produced a baseball cap, upside down, and asked The Reverend to deposit the cactus wren into the bowl of the cap, and he complied. Then, I took the cap outside where I repatriated the bird onto a low branch of the honey locust that grew across the fence from the property beside a neighbor’s shack. The cactus wren, still stunned, hopped around amid the great cacophony of his kind, no telling whether the chime of wrens still whistled over the initial loss of their mate or whether the chime of wrens whistled in identical hysterics upon his rejoining the herd, but he hopped around and the chime chimed wildly. (“Alarum” and “great relief” as equals.) At first, The Reverend cocked his head in disbelief, the same erect-ear, one-fang, misty face he’d made, once, when he encountered the cerebral music of a turtle flute, but eventually he drifted around, as aloof as possible, after I’d disappointed him once again in his gift-giving. When I’d had enough of his demonstration of aloofness, I sliced up some “training salami” and made him cycle through his tricks, including the irresistible trot around and be handsome as hell. I wondered if The Reverend and I were being too provincial in our navigation of the elements, such as cactus wrens, that governed our environment. I didn’t know anyone named Vince so I couldn’t profess to be pro-Vince, or for that matter, con-Vince, since I certainly didn’t know a Vince who might be kept under lock and key. I concluded that, if your shoe size is large, you will encounter a future of no small feats.
Also see: get me outta here, bud! (pt. 1: lizard.)