Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Downy Ocean

as we say here in Balmer. It's a brisk but beautiful morning, with the sun oozing up over the water, the waves shuffling against the sand, and the seagulls diving and mewling for a tasty morsel.

Wait. I'm not at the beach. I'm on a hilltop surrounded by farmland. No waves, no sand, but the biggest honkin' (literally) flock of seagulls I've ever seen. I have this terrible feeling that one of our neighbors decided to stop paying twenty bucks a month for trash pickup and instead has just strewn it over his yard to let the ever-obliging wildlife clean it up for him.

This is the same guy, after all, who decided to burn his yard waste in a steel barrel that was sitting just a few feet away from a wooden fence caked with dried brush. It's illegal to burn anything in Carroll County (other than cigarettes and maybe a cross or two). I didn't report him, because it seemed unneighborly and something a sanctimonius liberal urban migrant would do, but I did monitor the situation until the fire had died down, which is more than I can say for the guy who actually started it.

These aren't missing-teethed, old-Buick-on-cinder-blocks-in-the-front-yard people. They have what is at least a five-bedroom house, and they keep having extra buildings delivered to their property in the middle of the night (did you know a 3-car garage can fit on the back of a truck?), as if they're playing a live version of SimCity 4000. One day I expect to find an off-ramp from nowhere leading to their driveway.

Ah well, live and let live. Their place is at least two acres away, across a cornfield, and in the summer the trees block our view of the entire complex, so they're not bothering us.

Excuse me now while I fetch myself a chaise lounge and umbrella drink. It's time to close my eyes and soak up the seagulls' ambience. I can already smell those boardwalk fries cooking up at Thrasher's.

Cry summer, my scavengerial friends.


This Side of Salvation

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Jeri Smith-Ready

Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

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