Lambs are eating the wet sheets from the line when we return from a rambling hike through country lanes. They’ve pushed through the fence. They ignore shooing movements. Seven of them seem to be communicating via Bluetooth. As soon as one backs away, another takes it’s place.
We don’t reason with them. Four abreast we move like a wave, banging pots and wooden spoons, hoping to get them through the hole where they came in. They make noise, a bleating chorus. We expect the farmer who rented us the cottage will come to see if we’re poaching. No such luck.
A lion stands guard over the wooden
blocks. He’s a trusted friend, that lion. Never locked away in the
zoo with the others, he might well hold the key to the city. At
night, he sleeps in a child’s bed, curled close enough to catch the
drool of sleep. His ear has been chewed and his fur is matted where
he’s been loved too much. He never goes in the washer. It would ruin
him, ruin the smell that makes him special, sog the stuffing so he
wouldn’t dry in time get to work. Who would keep things safe, then?
Mountain lions have been sighted in the foothills. Scrolling through the updates online, she notes the spotting was in the vicinity where her son is on a nature ramble. The familiar feeling of dread fills her as she remembers hundreds of times she’s been wrong to worry. But what if she’s right this time?
She fills the kettle. She brews chamomile tea. If she grills him when he gets home, the next time he’ll deny he’s hiking. Or say nothing. Out, later, nobody. When he comes back, she won’t breathe a word. It’s better to think about it that way.