by cheri block
Yesterday, a little before 10:00 am, trespassers entered our property, how we do not know. Stealthily, one step at a time, in a single-file line lead by the eldest, they quietly edged toward the creek, over which lies our newly planted olive orchard.
Staying close to the fence, striving for invisibility by delicately placing each hoof in the softest of dirt, four thieves made their way toward the most tender salad on the Rancho, trying to avoid the snap of a stick, the crunch of a leaf.
I stopped the important and challenging work I was doing and put down my mascara wand.
I hustled down the stairs, out the front door, past the turkeys and the Labrador Dinah, all of whom were idly watching the thieves, oblivious to the impending damage about to be done to the olive salad across the creek.
Turkeys will be turkeys and Labradors will be Labradors, but sometimes situations call for new behaviors. It may surprise you to learn that I did nothing.
That’s right. Nothing. I did not slip and slide down our muddy hillside, hurdle the creek while screaming Get out of here, or hysterically chase the Yearling and Bambi and the others into a frenetic oblivion, one that would surely arise because the olive orchard is protected by a brand new eight-foot, secure deer fence, guaranteed to keep out all potential diners. Should I frighten them, the offenders would crash again and again into the fencing, chaotically scattering, like pin balls.
Instead, I did what every wife would do in said situation. I called up to the person whose new hobby is supposed to be the olive orchard, the person I could see through the upstairs window shaving his handsome face.
Oh Hizzoner! Oh Hizzoner! You might want to come see what is about to happen! Deer are in your orchard. Yep. There they are, four of them.
Despite the fact that Hizzoner was readying himself to be in another city to conduct business, he raced down the stairs and jumped the creek in one athletic leap, but the deer had fled. For now, they would hide somewhere in the dense foliage, protected by poison oak.
I was instructed to guard the orchard while Hizzoner left town for a day.
This task I did not relish but took on with the sincerity of a teenage girl, asked to watch her bratty little brothers.
In fact, later in the day, my shoes caked with adobe mud, I sent this email to Hizzoner:
Your deer scout bundled up, crossed the divide, and followed the deer tracks from their early morning trespass.
She is pleased to report that the only living things in the orchard, other than the trees themselves and the weeds at their ankles, were about fifty turkeys.
Your scout listened attentively for sounds of movement in the creek bed, but all she heard was the gurgle of the turkeys.
As of now, the trees are safe.
She will make several more scouting expeditions tomorrow, one at the crack of dawn and several others before she leaves for yoga.
Should you require any additional information, you can answer the e-mails that she sends to you.