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cloud burst in form of dog

May 19, 2011

With a drizzle coming down gently from the Seattle-like grey blanket over Austin, let us think of snails, death, life, and the dog, Rumo.

It’s been pretty dry for the last two months except for that banging thunderstorm last week and the tame rain now. Last week’s storm sent cracks loud enough for me to feel and set my cat and dog a-scattering. Two months is about the same amount of time we’ve (the man and I) been lucky enough to get to know Rumo, our very own rescue.

I’ve developed a relationship with the space behind my apartment, a hilly piece of land surrounded by one high stone-fence and one low stone-wall. Some trees. A lot of trash (which I will clean up after these damn dirty residents). The area’s true function is a large run-off. There’s this perfect stretch at the bottom of the slope that serves as a great dog run; also, we’ve turned it into the dog doody domain.

dog doody domain turns into mass grave

run-off, doody domain, dog run, pond: it's all that stuff.

Now, this run-off served its purpose last week with what turned into an instant pond. During the pouring rain, big drops bounced and Rumo wouldn’t allow his own release to bounce, too (side note: must train to pee in scary thunderstorm). This overflow was gone by late afternoon. The water magically disappeared and a spongy ground greeted Rumo and I.

Water is a life-giver. It is also a life-taker. The taking, I didn’t notice, until a few days later. While Rumo ran around, doing canine things like sticking his nose into the dirt and lifting a pointer paw, I stood on the low stone wall, the height of a step, and took note of a debris pile of branches and twigs along the wall.

Nonchalantly, I saw a shiny thing from afar. “Hmm,” I thought to myself, “pearly and spirally.” My eyes re-focused. Yup, a snail shell about 1-inch long. I bent over to take a closer look. It turned into this magic-eye trick when I took in the breadth of the pile and realized there were way more than that one 1-inch long shell. There were multiple others, half the size, and over again, half of that half size.

A snail graveyard. “How many,” I wondered, “were there?” In a loose field-science method, I counted how many were within the area of my hand in one corner. I came up with 10 snail shells and counted how many of my hand made up the cluster. About 30. Then I looked at the height which was about ½ of an inch. I estimated 2 layers of shells. The result: 600 snail shells total.

The observed debris pile wasn’t alone, an even-larger deposit was further along in the corner of the lot. Mass graves.

Death laid all around me. I looked over at Rumo and was thankful he was alive. When we got him from Austin Pets Alive!, we found out he was on the waiting list to be euthanized at another shelter. They rescued him, and then we found him hopping around in his cage, full of energy.

A perfectly healthy, delightful, and wonderful dog. I’ve loved him all along. But that love has only grown and finally broke heavy through the clouds in the form of raindrops. Even as others were dying, he was living.

yes, he's alive.

Object of my affection and this blog post.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stacy permalink
    May 19, 2011 11:21 am

    Snailcalypse!!

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