Home Away from Home

Randy could see nothing exceptional in this man—a man at least twice their age. This made no sense for a survivor.

He slowly kicked open wide the driver’s door, his heart pounding against the constraints of veins. He tried to wet his lips with a dry tongue. What he wanted was a smoke. He’d quit tobacco three years ago and there was no one in the motel parking lot to bum a cigarette from anyhow. Continue reading


Educational Optionals

I read a pointed Facebook post about graduating students today. I won’t bother commenting after the 500+ comments on the other page.

My nephew graduated high school today. As far as I am aware he has no intention of incurring student loan debt.

I didn’t own a home until my 40s because working two full-time jobs during my younger career and a one full-time job during my married life was still not enough to afford a home without total debt—debt again, that pesky word.

My niece has no desire to have a family. Many of her generation around the world feel similarly.

I felt I didn’t have a choice between immediate full-time work and further education. Looking back, a formal education would not have made a difference in my long-term job choice as an adult. I suppose I chose purpose instead of pay.

I’d say the generation graduating now are not risk-takers in career endeavors; they play their risks in rock climbing and other thrill pursuits.

As far as a university education, why is it required we barter our careers with that embossing on paper? Isn’t proven ability far more important?

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson (Don’t know why this is even necessary if my words are posted here.)

One Art

OI have been haunted for many years by Elizabeth Bishop’s villanelle ‘One Art’.  Elizabeth Bishop chose a confining poem structure, the villanelle, to approach such a life-consuming event.

“The art of losing isn’t hard to master;” begins the poem.

I can’t find my glasses. I misplace keys then a wallet. I loan a book never returned. One starts early in life losing things. Some are of lesser value. Some seem devastating.

Read it. Find it in yourself and read it once more.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Mice, Rats, Shrews and Voles

Most of us want to live in or near greenery. I lived near rivers and lakes for nearly 19 years. Now the water runs down the middle of a V shaped property neighbored by forests.

Perhaps it isn’t chance that water is such a central theme in my life.

With water and green space come the ruralish woes of rodents and insects. An unsavory topic, I know.

My policy is live and let live—until the human domain I call mine is crossed. Granted, I do everything in my power to keep them from crossing the barrier invisible to them. Plug holes; remove and secure potential food sources; reduce availability of water; seal access to all buildings when possible.

A rodent can fit through any hole approximately the size of its skull. They’re designed for rapid expansion; they have to be since they’re a major food source for raptors, reptiles and even mammals. Sometimes each other. [I’ll leave out the controversy of human use for other purposes. I’m talking nature here.]

Avoid those glue traps. There isn’t a way to pry an exhausted rodent from the glue without damaging the rodent and risking disease yourself. I tried. I followed the directions to the letter. And if you set the vermin out still attached to the glue trap you’re sentencing them to either a long, slow death or being easy prey. Hope for the latter. Glue traps can also stick to other living beings—larger furry or feathered ones.

Live traps are a nice idea. Little success here as rodents tend to avoid the large contraptions and even the smaller ones. Removing them to a more remote location is ideal if you manage to capture one. Oh. And check your live traps daily, please. There isn’t much use in using them only to find desiccated, moldy remains a month later. Nothing humane in that.

Please do not use poison. It has far-reaching consequences to the entire food chain, possibly including your favorite canines and felines. Poisoned rodents usually live long enough to escape before they are consumed live or dead.

The choice left is rather blunt but quick: A trap that instantly crushes the spine at the base of the skull. Most people find this idea cruel. As you can see from the above, perhaps not.

There are new traps out. [Yes, they have created a better mouse trap! Ha.] They aren’t so frightening to arm and not so disgusting to empty as the traditional wood-and-metal snap trap. Still, please check often. If checked daily, the fresh kill might fuel a scavenger and complete the food chain in a more natural way. By no means the only brand; however, I find these last longest and are as efficient as the original mouse trap. These have a clamping action to allow removal of the dead mouse without actually touching it, eliminating the eww factor and leaving the morsel free of human scent. Keep a little painter’s brush to clear any fur that might cling to the trap.

Baiting. Try something that requires force. Cheese isn’t it because it dries out and is light; a mouse caught in a trap using light bait usually gets part way backed out of the trap before the kill. Not so efficient. I like to use gumdrops. Add a little water to the bottom of the candy and it sticks right to the bait cup. I rarely have to rebait a trap because the sugar is a constant attractant and the trap a consistent killer.

One last note: Please place the traps carefully as they also attract small birds who are caught but not killed immediately or sometimes not killed at all. That was a very sad lesson since the trap was under a porch, away from the dogs and, I thought, away from other curious creatures.
©2014 Sandra R. Davidson



[Positional Awareness]
At first, small feet were followed with small eyes. Small feet then followed young eyes until both were fairly independent of each other.

Baby at First Birthday

That was pretty much a groundless girl’s first birthday photo.

Beneath me, a leather strap worn smooth by many bodies. I tipped my head. I tipped my torso. Finally it all tipped and a slight motion forward encouraged a stronger motion backward. I flew without thought of falling, those chains so grand in my hands.

I wore modesty shorts under all my skirts. Metal was so cold at 7 a.m. as I slid across the bar, positioned it in the crook of my knees and my hands let go. I stayed upside down, swinging naturally until my pulse began to pound behind my eyes. Dismount was a grace I won and then forgot to forget.
Monkey bars.

Two solid steel circles taunted me, even on my tiptoes. When finally I caught one, I could swing aside to catch the other. No one would bothered to tell me how many muscles, how much strength it took to slowly raise and angle the body for a forward or backward climb to a headstand position.

I was seven, when I became an unescorted airplane passenger for the first time. With only the stewardesses to watch over me, I watched under me. I had the first first-class seat and shared the row with no one.Three hours I remained riveted to the view out the portal window.

See, my grandpa and my father both worked in aerospace in separate capacities. This view was me sharing both their laps at the same time and hearing them talk over one another to tell me about what their jobs meant to all the other passengers.
Departures; arrivals.

Much of my life has been letting go. We moved often. People who knew me were completely unfamiliar, then disappeared again. Job. Marriage. Moving. Dovorce. New job. Losing our father, my mother-in-law to cancers. Three minute countdown to my ultimate release—only to grasp with resentment at the restless, unknown future.
Pass; fail.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Fine Lines

FA woman was being handcuffed. Shame. I approached the local grocery store wide and away from the police car, it with its passenger rear door open, hungry for another criminal heart.

The store shift manager stood cross-armed, triumphant while speaking to the senior police officer.

It was the only grocery for the poorest of Salem. Without transportation, one had to bus out and back. There was a limit to how much one could carry and how far one’s hands would grip.

Backpacks Must Be Left at Register

The shoplifting rate was unsustainable. The managers agreed to equal consequences for any theft, no matter how insignificant the cost or the age of the thief.

Diapers. This woman had attempted to filch diapers. Tears and a bowed head softened a hard exterior. Methamphetamine had robbed her body of fat, muscle and bone. Now devoid of pride, she wanted to be shoved in the waiting car just to be off display, out of judgement.

Meth users are difficult to gauge for age. I couldn’t guess if the diapers were for her children or someone else’s. It didn’t matter; the child in need would have to revert to the method of old cloth, rinse-wash-rinse repeat.

Other store employees might have glanced away. Another area might have given her opportunity to beg the money. A person in view of the crime in action—with a whisper and knowing nod—might have offered to gift the diapers outside, torn package and all.

Diapers, even they are stolen goods and criminal gain.

Filching, not robbery. It is a hazy area of heart.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Cemeteries are for the Living

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 5 p.m.

I had volunteered last week to take a photo of a grave at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. The site presents just as its name suggests. Horses have encroached to the cemetery fence, but the view to the Columbia River is outstanding. Firs pace off the property edge, though not densely. The view of the valley opposite—gorgeous in the late autumn.

Two white benches under separate holly trees, berries dropped in the recent wind storm.

Chilled dusk in the warming car. Worth another visit.

©2012–2014 Sandra R. Davidson