One of the first tasks of the morning is to let our three little Japanese Chin dogs out to do their morning business. With my trusty flashlight, I check the grounds for predators while Bear takes the lead running out into the yard. Next, I take Zoe down the steps and set her in the usual spot near the flower bed. She is nearly blind now but, other than needing help down the steps, she does fairly well on her own. After taking care of her bathroom business, she is able to use the path along the flower beds to guide her back to the house. I’m sure the beam of my flashlight helps as well. And Mr. T, well, every day is a new day for him. Most of the time he refuses to go down the steps and sometimes he makes me chase him around the yard before I can get him back in the house – just for fun, of course. Yes, with Mr. T, I get my weight lifting exercise each day, lugging his 18 pound body in and out and up and down stairs.
This morning, it was unusually foggy and quiet out and everyone, including Mr. T, seemed to be cooperating and staying close to the house. The nearby street lights cast a blur of light that drew my attention to the moving mist. I noticed silhouettes of two deer running through the pasture with a smaller deer trailing behind at a slower trot. I knew that last one was Daisy deer when I generated a flash from her reflective orange collar with my flashlight. She and her friends had been across the way eating acorns under the big oak tree at my Mom-in-law’s house.
As I watched Daisy trot to the woods after her companions, I noticed a police cruiser slowly driving up the alley with bright beams on. Along the intersecting street, a big white Suburban crept along with spotlights directed towards houses on both sides. Just last week, there was a major drug bust in the area and a helicopter had flown over most of the morning. Then later in the week, the front page of the newspaper reported vandals and theft in various areas of town. I wondered what was going on now? Something was up for sure.
As I walked to unlock the front gate, I noticed several people walking down the street and talking rather loudly. I saw a couple more vehicles moving at a snail’s pace. For the most part, I am not fearful or anxious about danger, so I went ahead and opened the gate. Besides, I had my big club-like flashlight in my hand, my cell phone in my pocket, and I am a really good screamer. I also felt safe since there were other people nearby, and odds were unlikely that anyone had jumped the gate or perimeter fence. Still, I thought to myself, if I was a burglar being chased by police, the first place I would run to would be the woods! Our woods…
As FD headed out the driveway to go to work, I saw two men approach his truck just as he pulled it out of our storage building. I threw on a heavier jacket since the temps were in the upper 40’s and headed out to meet them and see what was going on. As it turned out, a relative of theirs, who was an elderly lady that lives just across the alley from us, left her house on foot somewhere around 5:00 this morning. The men stated she possibly had dementia and that her husband was not sure she was clothed appropriately and had no idea where she might be. These men were asking permission to look for her on our property. So, I walked back to our house, donned my Muck boots and joined in the search.
The fog was still heavy, but daylight was filtering through. One man went south, the other walked north, and I walked into the thick of the trees to the west. If she managed to get to the pecan orchard or beyond, it could be a real problem to find her. Looking around, I found no clues. There were no prints left by feet in the dewy grasses. I found no sign of anyone climbing over our fences. Any other day, it would be fairly easy to see a ways through the trees since the leaves had been falling for weeks, but this morning’s fog made seeing any distance quite difficult. I finally went back to the east and out to the street where I stopped and called our next-door neighbor to the north and also my in-laws. By now, vehicles were combing the neighborhood and people were walking everywhere.
Returning back towards our home and back down into the canyon, I noticed city workers moving in rows out in the tall grasses of the pecan orchard. I had just hiked to the river yesterday, and even the shorter grasses in the pecan orchard were thickly matted. What a misery to try to plow through the wet weeds trying to find a small woman, and in the fog no less. I was not too excited about mushing through our woods either, as there were masses of spider webs everywhere. The condensation from the fog made for a drippy walk, and the woodland floor was slick with mud. Clawing through the woods and up the hill to the southwest area of the property was nearly impossible. After reaching the furthest area I could manage, I noticed a group of four city workers approaching from behind me. Two of them were covered in the red, tacky mud. They had managed climbing the slick route up the hill that I refused to take, and declared there was no way the old woman could be on our property.
As I headed to the house to take a break, I passed by the area where I often sat with Daisy deer when she was just a fawn. She favored a spot with soft grasses, where she had a vantage point looking out over a vast area of the woodlands, which allowed her to be observant of any comings and goings of woodland critters. It was a shady place where air channeled through along the buggy path. I marveled at how Daisy instinctively knew the best places to rest. As I rounded the path through the woods and the sun illuminated the fog, I saw before me dozens of domed spider webs! Perched on low shrubs, these marshmallow like homes seemed to float, as if they were some miniature alien infiltration in the woodlands! Wanting to capture the sight before the conditions changed, I ran back to the house for my camera!
The more I walked around the woodland bottom, the more unusual spider homes I found. No wonder I was ensnared in so many webs during my search through the woods – they were everywhere! By the time I finished taking a few photographs, I noticed the activity in the neighborhood had subsided. All of the cars that had been parked along the street at the woman’s house were gone. The fog had lifted and the sun was shining bright.
As I returned to our house, I was thankful for the unexpected events of the morning. It was good to see so many people come together to help – neighbors, city workers, the police department, fire and rescue teams, and various other folks who just wanted to help. It is easy to be discouraged in these difficult times, and wonder if there is any good in the world… but there is. We all walk around in a fog sometimes, but there is always a light that shines somewhere, to help us find our way home…
© 2015 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…