Notes from the Edge 03-10-2024

 Notes from the Edge 03-10-24

Posted By Dell 04/10/2024.

It’s a rainy day here in New York. If someone out there has any idea where our spring got off to please drag it back here. We are sick of snow, cold and rain. Tonight’s forecast is freezing rain and snow. It’s almost the middle of April.

I shouldn’t really complain. When I was a kid, yes that was a while ago, the snowbanks could still be four feet high in April. I remember that clearly. And over the years the climate has shifted away from that reality. It’s simply going back in that direction a little bit. At least that’s my thought on it. So, I should shut up and enjoy spring when it shows up.

Somewhere in Pennsylvania they have a large Gopher/Groundhog/Woodchuck that comes out and make a prediction about spring every year.

I just threw all three of those animals together, thinking they were the same. Then I Googled it. Nope. Google says:

The big groundhog is about 24 times heavier than the little gopher. The animals look somewhat similar, however, with short neck, legs, and tail.
The groundhog (also known as a “woodchuck” and “whistle pig”) is a marmot – essentially, a giant North American ground squirrel. The gopher is, like the groundhog, a burrowing member of the rodent order but its closest living relatives are kangaroo rats and pocket mice.

So, let me rephrase: Somewhere in Pennsylvania they have a Groundhog/Woodchuck named Punxsutawney Phil that comes out and predicts spring. This year Phil predicted an early spring. Surprise, no early spring. This is what happens when you listen to a big ground squirrel. We don’t have that problem here because we don’t listen to ground squirrels, woodchucks/groundhogs. Here Groundhogs and Woodchucks are considered pests. (Read that target practice for any kid with a 22).

So, we don’t listen to squirrels, big or otherwise. Instead, we look at things a little more scientifically… Oh, wait, I just Googled that, and it turns out we don’t. Instead, we count the rings on fuzzy caterpillars or something. I’d still shoot the woodchuck. I think it would be best. After all, he was wrong about the early spring. There’s a kid down the road that could use a break from shooting every bird in the neighborhood. I could get him a bus ticket to Pennsylvania. If this was China, he’d already have been shot.

When I was a kid, I didn’t have time to shoot birds and woodchucks, I worked on an egg farm. The next-door neighbor used to take me. The farmer used to predict it on the fly. I can see the farmer of that egg farm looking up at the sky, scratching his head and saying, I think spring’s going to be late this year. And damned if it wasn’t. This is where I use discretion (As a writer I can do that) the farmer didn’t actually scratch his head. I just thought head would sound better than what he actually did scratch. Hey, he’s a farmer, or was.

My point is I’m tired of snow/rain/sleet. I might also be a little crabby (Discretion again) because I had to go to the dump today (Yes, we live so far out in the middle of nowhere that we have to take our own trash to the dump) and it rain/snowed/sleeted on me as I unloaded the truck. I got soaked and I blame that on that big squirrel up there in Pennsylvania. I would have never gone if I had known that spring was going to be so late. Did I just say that? Wow, that sounded so stupid, but I didn’t hear it from a big ground squirrel. Anyway…Rain, snow and cold here.

I have an excerpt from Dreamer’s World for you. That book is available now. I hope you enjoy the excerpt and the week. And I hope wherever you are the weather is nice and that you have not begun to believe that giant ground squirrels can really predict the weather…

Excerpt from The Dreamer’s Worlds Books Used by permission Copyright 2013 – 2017 Dell Sweet and Geo Dell

On The Path:


At first, I thought he was just another one of the dead that had begun to flood the path from the nearby trees as soon as I had begun my walk. But it was clear after a while, that although he may be as dead as the others, he was not the same.

He walked beside me, his black eyes on mine. All black. No Whites. No pupils that I could see, still I knew his eyes were focused on me. He walked beside me. He didn’t speak for quite some time. When he did, he had only a few simple words.

“We’re the same you and me.” His voice was gravely the signs of decay on his face reflecting what was going on inside, I thought.

“I’m not dead.”

“Yet,” he looked at me.

He held himself carefully as he walked. As if he were in some sort of great pain he could barely contain. His face was cracked and peeling in places. Green, and I could smell death on his breath which made me wonder how he could even manage to draw a breath. He carried a quiver of arrows. A bow across his back, the string tight across his chest. He was dressed in leather ceremonial leggings and top. Bone and shell beads surrounded his neck. Hair pipe and beads adorned his hair along with moldy feathers. At one time he had probably been impressive, but now the leather was rotted, sagging, stained. His hair moved on its own. I didn’t want to know what was in it.

I nodded, “I was told. What more can you say to me?”

His black eyes regarded me. “I didn’t come to tell you anything. I didn’t come to say anything to you. I came to watch you die. To see if you die well… And to ask you if it was worth it.”

I nearly stopped on the path and would have if the path and the sides of the path had not been so crowded with the dead. An old woman behind me bumped into me when I slowed. Her body, nothing but dry skin and bones shuddered from the impact and one hand broke from its wrist and fell to the ground. I found myself bending to pick it up for her before I realized what I was doing.

She screamed. A rusty nail being pulled from green wood. I lurched back as she dove for the hand, picked it up and cradled it to her chest. Her chest heaved, choked sounds came from her as she pushed by me to continue her walk.

I looked back to the dead man walking beside me and finally did come to a full stop. The dead man held a short steel knife in one hand.

“What,” I managed. But as soon as I spoke, he buried the knife under my ribs, thrust upwards once and twisted the knife cruelly. I found myself falling before I could get anything else out of my mouth.

My heart staggered… Skipped a beat… Staggered again… And then it stopped. My mouth opened, but I had no words, no breath to say them with.

The dead man bent over me staring down into my eyes. “Die well,” he told me. “Die well.” The knife flashed.

I felt nothing, but my eyes were still open and seeing as he came away with my scalp. I watched him fasten it to his waist. I watched, detached, as blood dripped and ran down his leggings.

I watched the dead part and move around us as they continued their walk unconcerned. My eyes seemed to lose focus. The world went over bright and fuzzy. I found myself in the void, spinning… Spinning… Floating free. His words echoed after me.

“Was it worth it…?”

In The Real World:

The Clan Grandmother’s.

Dell’s back arched suddenly, and his body bowed into the air. Rigid. His breath dragging in and out of his throat, ragged and raw.

Grandmother Crow caught his body before he could fall to the floor, and the others came to hold him with her as he began to flop around. His breathing rasped in his throat, whistling as though something had lodged in his windpipe. His chest hitched, body rock hard, back still bowed. His eyes flew open wide. He struggled to pull a breath once more, then his eyes rolled up into its head, his breath came out in what sounded like a long-protracted sigh. A second later his body relaxed and sagged to the table.

Grandmother Crow pushed her old gray head against his chest, she heard nothing. Together the three of them eased him back down onto the table.

“He’s gone,” Grandmother Doe Eyes said.

Grandmother Crow ignored her, raised her hands into the air, and began to pray…

Hey, have a good week! Dell Sweet.

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