Okay. We were gone twelve whole days.
What? Did the deer, the mice and the house itself think we weren’t coming back?
We walked in at 8 o’clock Tuesday night to an uncomfortably warm house. The air conditioner was in a coma and wouldn’t revive without a part that had to be ordered.
The large propane tank buried in the back yard had developed a keening hum.
I turned back the covers and found that mice had been partying hardy there while we were gone.
We nuked a small supper best left unmentioned, changed the sheets, turned on the ceiling fan and went to bed. I finally went to sleep, despite Maggie’s stertorous snoring. At 4:15 a.m. I was slammed awake by loud noises outside the window. I thought at first the soprano screaming was our alarm system sounding off, then realized it was a pack of coyotes literally in the front yard. In that way they do, their cries intensified in volume and speed to an eerie crescendo, then stopped as though some unseen conductor’s baton had swooshed down through the night air.
Sleep was impossible after that. I stayed in bed for awhile longer, then gave in and got up about 5:15. As dawn approached, I stood by a window in the laundry room with a cup of hot coffee, looking out over a neglected little patch I call my herb garden. It is anchored by several triangular shaped dwarf cypress trees. Something was wrong with them. They looked like their middles were missing. Grasshoppers? Locusts? What on earth could have eaten these tough trees?
As evening again approached, Buck called to me. “I found your culprits.” He had watched as three deer boldly came up to the little herb patch, so close to the house, and munched on the new treat they had found.
We’re going up to the Smoky Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina next week for a few days. Maybe we should hire a house whisperer to stay here while we’re gone.