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I smell fox.

Behind me, in the narrow woods that separate our house from the Dubinskis house.

Well, we have many orange foxes; I see them from my back windows in the early morning.

It’s noon, the last day of the year, and it’s warm enough for me to sit here, in one of our old Adirondacks, watching runners and bikers and walkers pass along Rokeby Avenue.

— Pause here to talk to a new resident, an artist, who tells me about her upcoming show in New York City and “a commission for a house in Takoma Park.” —

The squirrels are doing that monkey-like shriek from the treetops.

A tortoiseshell cat just walked by, wary of me but circling my house. Now it’s pacing up my neighbor’s just-resurfaced driveway.

My across-the-street neighbor, whose house sits up high, surrounded by centuries of azaleas, waves at me.

A train whistles by.

What’s left of the leaves – dry flyaway things – skitters along our pale green lawns.

— Pause. “Happy New Year!” A woman I don’t know hails me from Rokeby. She’s with what I guess is her daughter and her daughter’s little boy. I return the greeting, and she admires my topiary deer which I tell her are topiary bulls. “I have plenty of real deer.” She asks if we string the bulls with Christmas lights, and I tell her that we consider it every year, but “it’s so complicated to trace them that we give up before we start.” —

I’m holding a University of Chicago mug which is rough to my hands because I microwaved milk in it for too long the other night and it spilled over and then dried on the cup. I was making Ghirardelli hot chocolate (Christmas present). I’ve also been stealing the variously flavored Hershey kisses my daughter got from friends. Inside the cup is rapidly cooling TeaLuxe Raspberry Earl Gray.

A shiny golden balloon, its string still trailing, floats high above me, bumping into treetops but still traveling toward the Dubinskis. This would have been a more impressive paragraph if it had touched down right here in front of old UD, but I’m a stickler for historical accuracy.

Although the sky in front of me is clear, bright blue, to the left the clouds are winning out, and my fingers are cold.

In a few days we leave to spend a week among the red rocks of Arizona.

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2 Responses to “UD Tracking Data”

  1. Nellie in NZ Says:

    Thanks for this. I was hiking in the red rocks of AZ just before Thanksgiving – lovely memories. Now, it is a sodden 2012 in New Zealand. We’re still waiting for summer to actually start, but the year is certainly off to a clean beginning.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    You’re welcome, Nellie. I’m looking forward to it.

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