A cool, calm, cloudy morning. The record high temperature for yesterday’s date was ninety-five degrees, in 2006. A real cucumber-cooker. The record low was thirty-three, in 1932. Perfect for milk bottles on the front step.
My father could tell you without hesitation how many weeks old the kittens or puppies were. I always forgot. Six weeks could have been six years.
Once, back around 1970, we had two cats that liked to watch us prune in the vineyard. They would perch on top of the redwood grape stakes like silent gray owls.
A couple of years later, my brother and I found a small stray untrimmed poodle. We brought it to the house and fed it for a few days until its health and confidence were restored. Then a man who lived on the same road a mile east of us took it home to live with his family. My brother called the dog Bentley. I don’t remember the man’s name.
I do remember the birthdays and telephone numbers of many of my childhood friends and schoolmates. One friend had a dusty old boxer named Bobo, a word that has meant, still means, or has come to mean a lot of things in a lot of different languages.
The moment after a man takes his last breath, there is a forever of divine notice. Will there be another? Will there be a shudder, a sigh, one last word?
I am like an old plow. I know the way. I am willing to go. No need to pull. Easy to turn at the end of the row. Gleaming now, polished by the soil.