Those goddamn wild turkeys

Big Scaredy and Little Scaredy.


Scaredy Cat’s been doing this thing lately every morning that drives me nuts. Around 5 AM she’ll climb on top of me, get right in my face, and “meow” incessantly until I wake up and feed her. . . I usually don’t get to bed until 1 AM so I’m usually in a pretty damaged state at that point. But eventually I’ll drag my ass out of my blankets and feed the damn cats their breakfast. It’s the only way I can get any peace. Then I’ll roll back over on my side and go back to sleep.

But inevitably I’ll be woken up shortly after by the sound of those goddamn wild turkeys horning in on the action and scarfing down all the cat food. For a creature with a brain the size of a pea, the wild turkeys are surprisingly cunning. They hide behind the trees in the woods, and as soon as they see I’m asleep they pounce on the food. But they’re such goons they always wake me up, making that “gobble gobble” sound, and they peck at the food so spastically, they knock the food dishes all over the place.

I’ll wake up in a rage and chase after them in my bare feet, cursing and shouting at them and throwing rocks and branches at them. But I’m the worst aim of all time and I’ve only hit them twice in all these years (that was way satisfying, beaned them right on the ass with a rock, they jumped straight up 10 feet in the air, wings flapping and squawking indignantly — but all the other times I missed badly).

The hated one.


And the turkeys are remarkably fast. They remind me of the Road Runner cartoon with their long, powerful legs. And their claws are perfect for navigating the hilly terrain. They blast straight up the hill like a rocket. I’m no match. And like I said, they’re smart. They’ll get just far enough up the hill to be out of range of my barrage of rocks and branches. Then they’ll stand there off in the distance, staring at me blankly, like: “You’re going to have to go back to sleep eventually, dude. And we’ll be waiting. Heh heh.”

And it’s incredibly frustrating. I keep thinking: “I’m the human. I’m the one at the top of the food chain. We slice these buzzards up into nice neat packages and put them on the shelves in all the supermarkets. But there they are, sitting there off in the distance laughing at me.”




The Merry Men of Arcata

 I camped in the Redwood Park in Arcata last night.   This huge forest full of beautiful redwood trees.  There were more than a few bands of homeless camping there, who evidently have been living in the woods for some time . . .

Which often reminds me of the story of Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men.  Illegally living in Nottingham Forest and poaching the King’s venison (and watch out when the Sheriff of Nottingham pulls up in his squad car). . .   When I was a kid, it never occurred to me that the Robin Hood story was about a bunch of homeless guys.

Anyways, this annoyed me.  Last night around 10 PM, I’m hanging our amongst the redwoods in the deep, dark forest.  And I had my sleeping bag laid out on the ground, and I’m sitting on a log drinking my last beer of the night and scrolling away on my cellphone.  When these four guys wander by. Shine their flashlight at me.   “Don’t shine your flashlight in my face!” I said, rather curtly.  They proceeded to set up their tents about 20 feet from where I had planned to camp.  Evidently it didn’t concern them that I had got to this spot first.  They probably figured, there were 4 of them and only 1 of me, so too bad for me (I can guarantee they wouldn’t have tried to pull that shit if there had only been one of them).   But what the hell.  At least they offered to smoke some of their weed with me as a conciliatory peace gesture.  Which I declined.  I grabbed my sleeping bag and staggered off in the pitch darkness in search of another, more private, spot to camp . . .

You can get into some weird scenes dealing with total strangers in the deep, dark woods.

A friend of mine just emailed me a story from the Arcata newspaper.  Headline:  “Two Stabbed During Altercation Over Camp Site.”  And yeah, it can get that way sometimes.  It can get very primal out there in the wilderness.  Like the Laws of the Jungle.  A bunch of cavemen getting into territorial pissing wars.  And what further complicates the situation is:  none of us has a legal right to the turf.  We’re all illegally camping.  When you’re homeless, the only space you can claim for yourself is what you can carve out, and what you’re able to defend with your will and your cunning.