Wednesday July 3rd, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the rattle.

You know it's getting bad when thirty degrees feels like a reasonable high.

Regardless, greens were successfully harvested this morning (and delivered this afternoon) and my parents arrived safely (and have not yet bolted for cooler climes).

And I owe you guys a trip to Mejaran. Tomorrow, perhaps?


I was out in the garden this morning collecting a few things for dinner (some kohlrabi, a head of romaine lettuce, a few potatoes, a broccoli) when I decided to get a few tomato plants pruned before heading in.

One of our tomato sections is next door to a field we're not using this year; it just has some buckwheat in there as a cover crop to build up the soil a bit. So basically it's a bunch of tall weeds and buckwheat and not much else.

And so it shall remain until it all gets tilled in and then we plant some more buckwheat (probably within a couple weeks).

Anyway. As I walked towards the plants I wanted to prune I heard a very definite rattle coming from that field. Well, not so definite that I didn't go completely still and focus all my attention on the spot I thought was the source of that noise.

Which is when I very, very definitely heard it again.

I didn't exactly go charging over there to find out if a rattlesnake had wandered onto the property, as that struck me as a rather bad idea. But I did stare very hard at that spot and, after not seeing anything of interest, I kept a close eye on it while doing my pruning work.

The thing is, it probably wasn't one of our poisonous neighbours. They generally stick to the dry hills and avoid the farm, as they don't care for the dampness brought on by irrigation. Plus, and here's the kicker, there are quite a few animals in the area that can mimic that rattling sound.

They use it as a form of self-defense, causing their predators to steer clear of what they believe is a rather unpleasant and dangerous snake. It's rather brilliant, really. But it's a bit of a bum deal for the rattlesnakes around here, don't you think?

I know I'd be annoyed if everybody started copying my trademark sound like that.


Greg Bennett said...

You have a trademarked sound? o_O
I was going to remind you about Mejaran tomorrow, just to annoy you with the four-line prose and four-line poem days coming up :)
I'd say avoiding rattlesnakes is probably sensible, though they're quite beautiful creatures really (I'll leave it there, I know you don't like snakes in general!). I'm also going to say that you can't have "a broccoli" and demand that we invent the new word "broccolus" as the singular :-P

The rattle
Charles Asciugimento, Head of Building Security, pointed at the air-conditioning vent. The smallest, most petite security guard on his force blanched.
"I'm claustrophobic," she squeaked.
"I found you hiding in the cupboard in the janitor's office," said Charles. "And before you claim to be scared of the dark, there were no lights in their either."
"So get in there, and investigate the cause of the rattle. This is now a security issue, and I will not have an insecure building."
The guard looked for a moment like she was going to argue, then her eyes dropped to the overpowered taser that Charles carried on his belt. With a noise that might have been a prayer uttered ten times faster than normal, she clambered into the vent.
In the darkness, something rattled.

Aholiab said...

The Rattle

Drew kept a steady beat on the drums while Lyle drove the audience wild with his guitar. The solo would last about three minutes and then it would be his turn. He watched his friend build to a frenzy. Sweat was streaming down his face as the screams of the crowd nearly drowned out his final note. He waved and bowed, giving his fans the goofy grin that had endeared him to so many of them.

Drew’s tempo continued for a few moments as the noise in the auditorium began to subside. They knew what was coming next - four minutes and twelve seconds of pounding bass, crashing cymbals, snare drum riffs, and ever-growing volume and speed. He could play his audience, give them just what they needed until the very peak of his own solo.

His hands were a blur that built their expectations. He had been doing this for so many years that he let his mind wander while his body took over the performance. He remembered the first time the band had performed to a real audience instead of doing a weekend gig in a local bar. He had kissed his wife goodnight, but just before he slipped out the door she had slipped his son’s rattle into his pocket, whispering, “For good luck!”

Every concert since then had ended just as this one would. He crescendoed through the final riff of his solo, grabbed the rattle from the velvet lined case where it rested next to him, and shook it in ecstasy into the microphone just above his head.

But tonight was different. Instead of the typical roar of approval from the crowd, there was an abrupt cessation of noise. A new sound filled the hall - a rising shushing as thousands of baby rattles were shaken in answer to his single one. Each one of them was a tribute to a father’s love for his son.

Marc said...

Greg - you don't? :P

Love the prayer line. And that ending... *shudder*

Aholiab - I'll just say what I said (out loud) when I first read that:

Well, that's just effin' beautiful.