In the op-ed article I posted August 19 I wrote about outside intrusions that break into the tranquility of Laurel Mountain Borough.
This morning, Monte and I were sitting on our patio. I was drinking my coffee and taking my meds and both of us were reading the newspaper and sharing some conversation. We were enjoying the cocoon-like nature of the borough when a VERY loud noise, like an explosion, the crack of a rifle or a firecracker, intruded on our tranquility. We looked at each other with questioning expressions.
Our neighbor Craig was at work. The new resident in the former Woodall cottage didn’t appear to be up. NO one was about in this secluded corner of the world. But that NOISE…
Monte walked up the road to investigate. When he returned he said he’d talked with Craig’s other neighbor, who had also heard the noise. He’d looked over in Craig’s yard and saw a puff of smoke.
Both he and Monte explored Craig’s front yard. The only thing they found was a pipe with no cap and a squirrel that looked like it had been dead for days—it was pretty stiff!
It was a puzzle.
When Monte returned, we decided to contact Craig. We searched out his work number and I told the telephone operator (yes, it was a LIVE person, not an electronic recording) we were trying to contact Craig because of the mysterious noise that might indicate danger, but we didn’t think it was an emergency. She had him return our call, and we went through the whole story before the telephone line suddenly cut out.
Monte went into the house to get ready for work, but quickly returned to the patio.
“Did you know the electric was out?” he asked.
“No,” I answered. “It was fine when I came out to join you on the patio.”
His expression revealed a light bulb going off in his brain (he is a former physics professor, so anything is possible).
“I know what happened!” he said excitedly.
He theorized that the dead SQUIRREL, while traversing the wires, had come in contact with the transformer, was zapped and fell to the ground, smoking. Being cooked would explain why it appeared to have met its maker days ago.
A squirrel hitting the transformer would cause a loud, cracking noise akin to an explosion, a rifle shot, or a firecracker. It would also jolt the electric power to our house, resulting in a momentary loss of our electricity that would leave electronic items blinking.
I tried to call Craig to share this plausible and only explanation, but he’d already left work for home. Then we shared the story with his other neighbor.
When Craig arrived, we shared the information with him. He explored the squirrel and shuffled the leaves, under which he found a peace of broken glass that confirmed the transformer had been hit with something.
Nature met civilization and lost. I can hear the squirrel telling its maker: Those dang human beings brought danger to these woods.
Read about Tom’s experience this week about nature meeting civilization in the borough.
November 3, 2007
WHEN NATURE MEETS CIVILIZATION Tale 1
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