You really never know what you might come upon when walking the lengths we walk. Both of us keep a constant and watchful eye, so as to not miss a thing.
And there happens to be a favorite. Coming along the lower hills of this countryside, one can almost always hear it - the strange, dry 'Hee-Haw!' of the Donkeys as they meander along in a world of their own. No one seems to call them donkeys here, though - rather, they are Burros. I am told that those terms are both one in the same. But we call them Donks.
Today on our walk we came upon two, who had somehow separated themselves from their herd. The herds are usually pretty large, with perhaps 10 to 20 out there meandering. And that is a lot of Hee-Haw-ing. They are not noticeably frightened by the occasional hapless wandering walker. In fact the Donks are, it seems, mostly curious. Today these two were very much so. Staring. Moving just a bit when we moved. Twitching their long ears, and stopping when we stopped. Gazing at us as if we might be going to tell them something. We wished we could.
We went along our way and, after a while looked back. They were still there, still in that dry spot, watching us. The funny things seemed genuinely inquisitive; even analytical.
We wished we could find the whole herd and gaze at them all for a while. Animals are funny creatures who have such uniqueness to offer us - Burros especially. We find them hilarious.
Later, we were in the middle of a fascinating discussion about Apocalypse Now when a black cat crossed our path. It had a mouse in its mouth! A small, soft, furry little mousey. But the mouse made nary a movement, and the rather stunning son pronounced it officially Dead. The cat was in a little bit of a hurry, possibly to deliver the package to its master's doorstep, or possibly to a secluded spot where its lunch could be enjoyed.
But before it actually left us, the cat glanced back at my son, who had slowly approached it. It gave him a look that clearly said "MINE. Not yours", and rounded the corner.
Coming upon animals on these California walks is nice, and pleasant. A far cry from the potential cougar sightings in the wilds of Oregon. And it is nice having someone to walk with again. We can be chatting companionably about movies, or England, or harrowing experiences when the animal world suddenly presents itself. And at least one of us wishes we might come upon something more exotic - like an ape, or a kangaroo.
But the SconeLady is not in favor of such risky creatures. She would rather stick with the Burros.
See you along the way!
photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/rovanto/9739060217/">Rovanto</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>