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Apocovidalypse Knees On:2020-06-04 11:15:45

Thank you for asking, but actually I've been doing quite well during the Apocovidalypse---at least as far as health is concerned. I've been out in the traditional shorts, singlet and face mask every morning, walking four or five miles at a brisk Roman Legionary Pace above 4 milia passuum an hour, and it's having an effect. I'm losing weight and I'm feeling fit but, but... well I'm not sure if this is appropriate for a family programme such as this, but...but wearing shorts and walking I've...I've ... ... started to pay attention to my knees!
And I have realised that I have Old Guy Knees.

They are becoming all wrinkly and disconcerting, and I'm beginning to Google 'knee lifts', you know, like face-lifts only starting much lower down.
And then, looking from my knees to the rest of me, I'm driven to remember a couple of lines from G. K. Chesterton's great poem Lepanto. The bit that goes "And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey / Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day", only not just the face but all over. Aaaargh!

But anyway, once we are a socially distanced few feet out from my skin which of course shouldn't be covered (or indeed uncovered) any farther, things get more interesting and indeed much more pleasant.
Since this is Texas there are still a lot of cars on the road and a small number of pedestrians and joggers, few of whom seem to have heard about social distancing or face-masks and even fewer seem to care (I did mention this was Texas Didn't I?)

Since even down here civilisation (such as it is) is less in evidence, especially in the areas frequented by briskly walking Legionaries, Natura naturans is delightfully more in evidence: the animals are getting on with it, and are now just that bit less spooked by us all the bloody time.
The birds are wildly singing and bunnies are merely looking at me

Who do you think you are looking at?

(and the other day I nearly tripped over one before she decided that I was probably something to avoid), even some of the squirrels wait to finish a last bite of whatever before hitting the trees. I guess they all think that, since I AM muzzled I can't bite them. I'm even seeing more of the sort of creature that can't scamper or climb out of the way: I've always had a tendency to assist bugs and the like off paved areas to safer, less squish-prone locations and I'm certainly not going to let the "'Vidalypse" change that!

He was already backing up,
though not going 'beep'.

So far during lockdown walks I have ushered two large spiders and a mudbug (or craw- or crayfish, anyway some member of the Cambaridae) to safer pastures and, most memorably, a Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus), foolishly basking in the middle of the path.

Can I keep him?

I felt sure that he would be much better off as a snake in the grass.
It has been raining a lot down here (Texas is where the phrase 'it never rains, but it pours' was coined, or if it wasn't it should have been) and the storms have left pathetic corpses in their combined wakes.

Poor little buggers.

More mudbugs, a tiny fish that passed the storm but failed the later drying out: all in need of their own wakes and decent path-side burials.

Self Isolation

And a big fish (possibly cat, I'm not good at fishes), either self-isolating or trapped in a sort of weir thingy used to control an outlet from the lake.

I'm sure he was joking about the poop,
though I'm wearing a hat from now on.

Finally, back to happier matters and leaving the best till last, I've made a new friend, a black vulture (Coragyps atratus) that I've been stopping to chat with the last few days. We get on well and he didn't even get annoyed when I mistakenly called him a [gasp!] turkey vulture (and as an aside why is it that I tend to think of the less cuddly animals as 'he'?) He even let me take pictures (though no selfies, even though I asked REALLY nicely, he just bristled and flexed his wings at me as if to say "Listen, mate I can easily get airborne and accidentally poop on you: just sayin'"). Still I do enjoy our little talks.
So it all just goes to show that "it's a bad pandemic that doesn't blow SOMEONE some good".
Sadly it will soon be far too hot to exercise outside and I will give up and slowly decline in my recliner1 into a fat, flat, flatulent comatose (or rather COVIDmatose) state and Nature won't even miss me.....

Cheerio for now
Richard Howland-Bolton


¹ Though I may be able to avoid the Re/De-cline after all! The Plano Rec Centers have re-opened, but with instructions that include "wearing of face masks is optional". This is officialese (as I'm sure you all know) for 'guess who will be the only one wearing a mask, when the main benefit is from everyone else wearing one'. To make up for this they do insist on gloves "...that cover the fingertips to the wrist when using fitness equipment..."!!??*

* Update: they now say "...Members are encouraged to wear gloves..." and they don't mention face masks AT ALL!!

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