What’s an iPhone?

January 20, 2023 Comments Off on What’s an iPhone?

I was exiled to LA for about three months. I tried to fit in but couldn’t. Once you get acclimated to the quiet of the mountains and to the absence of people and things, it’s hard to go back. Maybe it’s impossible. Or maybe it’s just a luxury to be able to leave. Maybe it’s both.

Snykes and I made our getaway back to the cabin, where the southern Sierra is recovering with many, many feet of snow. The lower snowfall has melted and already swelled the Kern River, and Lake Isabella, which had become a bathtub, is once again spreading out as it fills. When spring comes the thick crust of snow on high will turn the river into a boiling froth, and the lake will rebound to its previous levels.

The sequoias need this snowpack as desperately as the rivers, creeks, springs, and reservoirs. Global warming means that this winter is only a reprieve, one step forward, five steps backward, but I’ll take it.

Snykes has suffered through a lot of change, beginning with his escape from the pound. But it’s hard getting used to living in an apartment, and then moving up to a cabin in the mountains. His pads were so tender from his time in the pound that minimal walking turned them bloody and raw. He’d never walked up stairs before, and that was terrifying as we are on the third floor. And then the whole issue of riding in a car. He didn’t know how to get in or out, and was terrified by the whole process.

Just when things seemed like they might settle down, he got whisked up to the mountains in a 5-hour logjam of LA traffic. The only thing positive about it was that we stopped at McDonald’s in Bakersfield and got him a burger, so now he knows the purpose of the car: hamburger.

Although he’s a very calm dog, all the change got to be too much, especially going in and out of the cabin to get firewood, haul water, feed the birds, and get things squared away. Even at the apartment in LA, Snykes showed some separation anxiety when I left him at home for a short bike ride. I got back to find a pretty solid section of the molding chewed off. Well, dogs gotta chew when they are anxious since they can’t go online and vent their spleen on Twitterbookgram.

At the cabin he evinced some anxiety by taking the frill off the edge of a Persian carpet, and then he mysteriously appeared in the living room after a brief absence with some strange white stuff around the edge of his mouth. I didn’t think anything of it until I went into the back bedroom and noticed that it had snowed inside. A quick peek inside the closet showed that Snykes had gotten hold of my down sleeping bag and opened it up to set all the down feathers free.

I sighed and started vacuuming while he lay on his blanket in front of the fire, or so I thought.

In mid-vacuum I wondered if he had gotten into something else, so I switched it off and walked into the living room. Snykes had just gotten hold of the iPhone 13 Mini I’d bought in February. I knew better than to wrest it from him; when he gets something in his mouth you don’t want him to think you’re going to take it away. I distracted him with a gentle pet, he dropped the mortally wounded phone, and I cradled it in my arms as it exhaled its final breath.

One of his canines had efficiently punctured the protective plastic and the screen, giving a spiderweb appearance as the screen flickered and valiantly tried to hang on, but alas it could not.

Thankfully he hadn’t chewed through the Internet cable, but that normality was soon remedied by a service disruption later in the afternoon, common up here in the mountains. Last night we camped in front of the fireplace. He left his blanket and crawled up onto mine, his big warm body radiating heat onto my legs and torso.

No Internet, no phone, utter silence. So I was really alone. Which, I guess, is all he really wanted anyway.


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