Archive for June, 2010

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The problem with blogging, and why I don’t keep up with it as well as I’d like, is that one always feels pressure to be profound, or at least intelligible. That raises questions. Can one be profound and go to sleep on time? Must one resort to psychotropic substances? Or can you just push through dull, meandering thoughts to strike at some (feeble) core … somewhere … out there … ? Perhaps not.

That’s why I took a little road trip yesterday — to get away from my desk and these questions. At the Laramie Visitor’s Center, I found a brochure for the Sybille Research Center about fifty miles northeast. It pictured a black-footed ferret, and explained that numbers of this near-extinct member of the weasel family were being restored there through natural processes that I’d rather not see. However, I decided that I’d like to walk around the purported nature trail to glimpse the purported wildlife.

“That’s an old brochure,” a pleasant, elderly man said when I got to the center. He was seated at a computer in a large office at the empty visitor’s center with his dog (a cocker spaniel, I think; I don’t know dogs). They were both behind a short doggie fence stretched across the doorway. The dog presented its head over the fence to be scratched. There was a stuffed pheasant on a fold-out table in the hallway, but nothing else.

The man, an employee of the Game and Fish Department, told me that a flash flood had taken out the nature trail years ago, and that the the visitor’s center lacked funding for an employee. Basically, the whole place — apart from a picnic table by the river — was closed to the public.

I forgot to mention to the man that the  website, which I checked that morning, also claims that the visitor’s center is open seven days a week, and contains “interactive displays covering everything from the history of wildlife in the old west to the unique plight of the black-footed ferret.”  Looking at the website now, I notice it was last modified in 2002. (A valuable tip: when making  plans to visit a specific site in Wyoming, always call ahead.)

I returned to my car and continued down Highway 34 to a pull-off the man described. He said I’d see buffalo, and possibly a few elk or bighorn sheep, although they’d probably be bedded down. “They’re usually right next to the fence, though.” I’d already spotted a cow elk in a field shortly after pulling onto 34, but I was determined to justify my trip by viewing some damn wildlife near the damn wildlife center. I saw the fenced enclosure and the restrooms (which, the man warned me, weren’t maintained), and pulled over. There were faded wooden signs that people were meant to read at one time. Another picnic table choked by grass.

Right away, I saw four burly bison relaxing in the shade of a cottonwood grove, still as boulders, maybe asleep. I walked closer along the fence-line, and made out the pale, elegant shape of a bighorn nestled among the buffalo like a mythical creature. I took pictures and climbed out of the highway drainage ditch.

Before driving away, I dislodged barbed speargrass heads from my shoes and socks and picked two little black caterpillars off my legs: my sole encounters with wildlife other than the resting herbivores. One of the caterpillars bit me.

Still, I enjoyed myself. I suppose it’s fun searching for something, even if it isn’t quite what you expected, or doesn’t exist at all, or leaves a little welt on your knee, or disappoints you. Few lessons of value are very profound. Few insights are closed off to the most of us. And those with access to those shadowy hutches tend to their contents alone. There.


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“Life as I know it”


My six aunts would be so proud if they knew I was typing this myself. It’s slow-going, and I doubt I’ll ever get that job as a legal secretary, but even reaching the keyboard is quite an accomplishment.

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Ted. Ted Nugent.

I mentioned my aunts. They raised me until I was a few weeks old. Then I lived in a cage. I still live in a cage, but sometimes I get out.

There’s another one. He doesn’t talk to me. I think he may be capable of terrible things. Sometimes, I wake up and see his little black eyes watching me, and he does talk then. He says, “Go back to sleep.” And I close my eyes, but I don’t sleep.

I’m writing to convey my impressions of this new place we all live in. I forgot to mention the human who feeds us and who brought us here. Humans are big, and we are small, so I don’t suppose we have much say in the matter, or any matter at all. Sometimes I sleep on her lap.

I don’t like when things are different or when they move. It was worse in the old place when things kept disappearing. I used to sleep on a chair, and one day it was gone. I sniffed the spot where it was and started shaking all over, and then I hid behind the couch. They took that, too. Then, they ran the vacuum. I hate that. The Other One tried to fight the vacuum. Sometimes I think he’s a little stupid.

I might as well reveal that I’m a ferret. I know. Hard to believe. But trust me, no human would waste her time trying to write something from a ferret’s perspective. We ferrets are mysterious and complex, and besides, that would be silly.

This new place we live in is small. There’s a rug from the old place that I like a lot because it’s thin enough to burrow under easily. We have chairs to climb on. Sometimes the human leans a long box thing against a chair, so that we can slide down it. I don’t like going too fast, though. She took us outside once. The grass was really long and I tried jumping over it and running at the same time. The Other One just shot through it. Sometimes, I don’t know, I think he might be smarter than me in some ways, but overall, I think he’s a little “touched.”  He falls off things a lot because he gets excited and starts jumping around. To be fair, I do that, too.

I am sleepy, and have little else to say, except that one place is as good as any other for ferrets, and that we live simple, god-fearing lives. I’ve spent four hours typing this letter. I’ve slept on and off. I feel myself drifting off now. I bid you farewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

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When I look at the house across the street, I see a human face  in the window. Then I realize it’s a television — probably a big one. It’s getting dark. The cars passing on the bridge look like they’re flying; I see their lights gliding by, and hardly hear them. I do hear the motorcycles.

Life is good.

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