Around noon today, Roo started reminding me that it was time for her walk. She batted me fifty or sixty times with her paw, flattened her ears way back and gave me a look she must have picked up from some lonesome little albino doe, a newborn alone and lost in the forest. Normally, I just wait until we spot a brown and white sign and, no matter what it says or where it points, follow it until we wind up at some public land. That's a good strategy and will be until the republicans make good on their word to privatize the parks, but hopefully I'll be dead by then.
There were no such signs today, and so I resorted to the second line of defense, which is to zoom in on Google Maps until green splotches appear, then zoom in on those until a name appears. When a name appears, I select it and the GPS takes us there. That's how we wound up at Roaring River State Park today.
First of all, we did not hear one single gunshot. Yesterday, by the way, I was hoping to get a tiny repair done on a mandolin. As we were passing through a medium-sized city (and I hope not to have to pass through another for years), I had sent out a few random emails to local repair shops, and one of them sent a number to call. I called, and the guy told me to come over. When I walked in, it turned out he had left the luthier racket to go into a much more lucrative field: silenced machine guns. So we stood there surrounded by half a dozen fully-automatic guns that a prop designer for a Terminator movie would have to tone down and which could easily, in the hands of the right citizen, kill 400 people before the mythical good guy with a gun put an end to it. That reminded me that we remain firmly in gun country. So, when not a single shot was fired today, I was delighted.
And Roo loved that park. I'm not really sure why, as there didn't seem to be one mouse anywhere. She just loved it. She was bouncing all over the place, rolling in the dirt, swimming in the river, ambushing me and laughing as she ran.
When we got back to the car, I was drying her when, all of a sudden, the loudest air raid siren you ever heard went off. It was as if the thing was right next to you—which was exactly where it turned out to be. We were no more than 50 feet from it.
A high-quality, modern air siren, when experienced at first hand, does not take a long time to get to speed. It started shrieking and within a second reached deafening levels.
I expected Roo to lose it. It shocked her, and her tail went between her legs, but I had the towel over her and tightened it a little. But then, all on her own, she relaxed. The thing blared away until whoever tripped it received word that the joint Sino-Russian attack had been called off, and that was that. Roo looked around, a little on the dazed side, but that was all. She shrugged it off.
But, Roo wouldn't be Roo without something to freak out about, and she had her opportunity tonight, wen we went to the market and returned after dark. The sky here, on these eastern plains, is clear. You see the stars clearly. Constellations make sense. Roo, however, spotted a jetliner's blinking red rotating beacon 35,000 feet above and about 15 miles to the north and thought that was enough of a danger to stay in the car for an hour.
That's Roo. She always keeps you guessing.