He’s strategic. Executing a sophisticated plot to cut us off from the outside world. Pit us against one another. Pick us off, one by one. The woodchuck has not shown his face today, at least not yet. But his presence is unmistakeable.
Sliding the back patio door open, I now scan everything within view to ensure Grammie’s Gazebo is not overrun by the vermin. Or that the gopher is not lying in wait under the potted geranium. Even the slightest hint of the critter’s activity causes my heart to skip a beat. Once again, like Lazarus, he has managed to push aside a (relatively speaking) huge chunk of granite placed next to the Gazebo step, intended to keep the woodchuck where woodchucks belong and out of where people belong. Every time I check on the rock, it has been budged a few inches to one side or rotated a few degrees. I suppose this could be due to the changing angle of the sun. But I can’t be sure. It is surely safer to assume the worst here.
Next I will resort to outlining the rock’s position with chalk. But I’ll need to whittle down the fat chalk pieces available to me. I’ll need a precise, scientific line. Razor-thin. So that there will be absolutely no question when (not if) the chalk-figured granite barrier has been skirted once again. It’s science.
We have had one false alarm — the result of jumping to conclusions when under duress as we are. The Gazebo’s overhead fan, we noticed, had stopped fanning. It’s background humming was no longer humming. The only possible explanation, of course, was that the rock-blocked beaver had chewed through the fan’s power cord in a fit of pique. Nevermind that Grampie had secured the cord in a thick plastic conduit in the offseason.
Until yesterday, Grammie and Grampie had always been able to sleep at night by imagining sweet little rabbits as the lovable culprits of such backyard pranks. “Rabbits like to get that little electric jolt,” Grammie reminded me. But the devilish plot at hand is clearly not the work of some silly-assed, floppy-eared rabbit. Anyone can see that. And so sleep is hard to come by, what with being pegged and redlined at this new state of high alert.
Then again, the gopher didn’t cut the power either, as it turns out. That was yours truly, when I fat-fingeredly unplugged my iPhone charging cord from the Gazebo’s outlet and accidentally pushed the circuit breaker button. So, in point of fact, I broke the circuit breaker and the woodchuck did not.
Nevertheless, we will remain vigilant. In fact, I think the rock just skipped over its chalk line.
Thanks for reading.