As some of you may recall, way back in early January, Larry abandoned me to my own devices. For awhile, I read and slept, secretly hoping for his return, but as the days gradually stretched into weeks, it became apparent that I was well and truly on my own. I could either remain in the midwest, or strike out for southeast Arizona to rejoin my lifelong friend.
However, there was one complication and that had to do with my books. After some experimentation, I found that my safe carrying limit was two – one in each clawed hand. Any more and I risked dropping one or more valuable tome. Such a decision! As I hunched over my small hoard, I reflected upon Larry’s recent difficulties as he chose which books to take and which to leave behind. From my lair, I had watched him carefully packing up his fiddle and other music books, his bound edition of Thoreau’s journals, and various other favorites from his collection. As the box filled to the top, he occasionally removed one book, gently replacing it with another. Now I was in much the same predicament.
At last, I settled upon an irreplacable first edition of Franz Passow’s Handwörterbuch der griechischen Sprache, and a 1612 first edition of Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca. Sadly, I left behind a number of other cherished volumes. I admit to shedding a tear or two, but comforted myself with the knowledge that most are now available online as scans, or in reprints. As an aging demon, I’ve come to the inevitable conclusion that when the time comes for me pass on to that nether world where all good demons eventually go, I can’t take everything with me. Time to begin letting go.
With little else in the way of preparation, I set out upon my southwest journey. For the first few minutes, the steady flexing of my wings felt exhilarating, but after the first half hour or so, I came to the rather painful realization that I’m not quite the demon I used to be. Long years of putzing around on foot had resulted in a gradual atrophy of my flight muscles. For the first few days, two or three hours was just about my limit. Even at that, my flapping became quite feeble towards the end. I would then drop to the ground to forage about, chasing down the odd opossum or armadillo. When not feeling up to the hunt, I confess to resorting to scrounging about in garbage cans in the parking lots of several fast food outlets. Sometimes I even managed to snag a burger or two, abandoned by a patron alarmed at the sight of a lumbering winged demon emerging from a round of dumpster diving.
After several days, I progressed beyond the snowy croplands of the midwest, then onward over the rangelands of the Great Basin. In time, I found myself in a strange land of mountains and desert. As I approached the Sonoran region, Saguaro and other cacti dotted the rugged landscape. I was struck by the warmth of the landscape, and also by the intensity of the sun. Of course, lacking experience in desert travel, I neglected to slather on SPF 30 UV protection lotion and paid the terrible price of sunburnt wings.
Just about the time I was feeling close to giving up, a familiar scene loomed into sight – the dragon rock formation a short distance from Larry’s southern abode. I had managed to cop a peek of one of Larry’s recent blog posts on an iPad abandoned by a fleeing restaurant patron.
I dropped down to roost upon this stunning outcrop, surrounded by curious vegetation such as Manzanita and Agave, and other plants which will require some looking up. Exhausted, I curled up, racking my brain for desert terminology as I drifted off for a brief slumber.
Awhile later, a dashing collie who goes by the moniker of “Sage” sprang up the slope and smiled in what I hoped was a greeting and not a prelude to a nip at my wingtips. In that universal creature language that is shared by so many (except man), she let me know that I had indeed arrived at the right place. She promised to send Larry up to visit me posthaste. And so my journey came to an end – but one that is actually as much a beginning as an ending.
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