Time Travel – not all it’s cracked up to be

Happy kids on a toboggan in the snowI experienced time travel today.

When we woke this morning the CowChows lay under a seven inch thick blanket of new snow. It was early; my neighbors had not yet ventured out and so the snow blanket lay pure and undisturbed. All was quiet; save the distant rush of the river and occasional birdsong it was as if the entire world still slept. As I stood at the window sipping fresh hot coffee, tendrils of smoke climbed from neighboring chimneys and curled skyward. And I thought, “What the hell am I doing up this early?” And, I went back to bed.

Some time later I was awakened by the sound of an angry hornet. I peered out through the frosted window pane and saw my neighbor whizzing down the road on his four-wheeler. Behind the noisy contraption and attached by a length of rope was a plastic toboggan with two happily screaming kids onboard. My first thought was, “Wow, a spill at that speed could hurt those kids pretty bad.”

My next thought was, “Man, that looks like fun.”

I was only going down to watch, I swear. But when I got down there and saw their beaming smiles and wind stung cheeks, when I heard their joyful screams and laughter, and as I stood there on the hillside with the other kids waiting their turn I couldn’t help but feel a thrill. Of course, I would have been perfectly happy to share in their fun vicariously, but when the little blond haired girl from next door turned to me and sweetly asked, “Would you like a ride,” well, what could I say?

Three small children took each arm and assisted me in lowering myself onto the toboggan. With animated chatter they instructed me to keep my feet inside, hang on tight, don’t fall off, and one taunting little voice said, “Don’t pee your pants like Jeffrey did.”

Finally I was ready. I squared myself on the toboggan, gripped the sides, and just as I was giving the nod to go I heard a voice from up the hill and behind me, “TIMOTHY LYNN COUCH!!”

I turned; my neighbor gunned the engine; the toboggan jumped out from under me, and I went sprawling in the snow. Suddenly, I was ten years old again; I’d just been caught in red-handed mischief, and all the other kids were laughing at me. As I lumbered up the hill rubbing my butt a sing-song voice whispered, “Timmy got in trouble.”

Time travel, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Frigidly yours,

Tim Couch

Nature’s Plan

wasp-and-spiderAs daylight crept in through the western windows of the CowChows this morning I found myself in the midst of a life and death struggle. I stood at the window watching night slip away when sudden and frenzied activity caught my eye. A wasp was entangled in a spider’s web just outside the window pane.

I watched for a while as the wasp struggled with all his might to escape the silken threads; his wings beat the air; he twisted and grasped for purchase but could reach nothing solid. The spider crept close but stayed safely away. He reached out one slender arm, tentatively touched the struggling wasp, and then retreated to safety. The wasp was several times the size of the spider but he had no defense against the sticky strands that bound him, and the spider had only to wait.

What should I do? Should I leave the wasp to his fate, or interfere and rescue him? The laws of nature would have me leave him to the spider. After all, spider’s have to eat, too. But, my own nature called for me to spare his life. What chain of events might I set off if I were to interfere with nature’s plan, or was there no real plan but only a careless wasp and a lucky spider?

I watched as the wasp grew tired, and finally still. The spider, too, watched and waited. Finally, I could deny my own nature no longer and I slipped out onto the porch. I took a stick and reached it out to the exhausted wasp. He grasped it and clung to it as I pulled him from certain death. I lowered him onto the porch rail where he staggered to his feet. Remnants of the web clung to him and dragged him down, and he collapsed there on the porch rail unable to go on.

I stepped close, and gently and carefully began to pull the tangled strands from his motionless body. Perhaps after some rest he would revive and fly away. As I pulled the last of the spider’s web from his tiny feet, the little bastard stung me!

I guess nature had a plan after all.

Best Regards,

Tim Couch