New Neighbor

The hedgehog, if that's indeed what she is, wears her finest coat to sit at the entrance to her home. Doubtlessly, she knows the comings and goings of the neighborhood far better than I ever will, this her silent life, quickened by every flutter of leaf, every chirp of sparrow, every slam of door.  Still, the train, passing several blocks to the north, sends her darting into her hole.  I am determined to watch her reemerge, which I am certain she will because she was curious, I could tell, studying me, her new neighbor.  A cloud passes, and the sun gleams, and I lower my sunglasses over my eyes.  The glasses are smudged, as usual, so I clean them on my shirt and remember to remind myself to put the clothes in the dryer.  We are going out tonight.  We haven't been out for a very long time.  Probably, I should take a nap.  Better yet, I should finish that article I started in bed, the one about the boy who killed both his parents.  Stay focused.  The hedgehog.

What did that artist say on the radio?  That he watches a dull thing until he sees something interesting.  I have to remember to call the bank and email Biffy, and I really should wash the bathroom.  How nice it would be to have some chips and salsa.  But didn't I just have breakfast? Annie Dillard sat watching things like hedgehogs and moss and then wrote a brilliant book about it.  Don't forget, Wednesday night the trash must go out.

Suddenly, I am in the house riffling through the snacks, hunting for a pen and paper to write an overdue thank you note, which I do not find, which I do not do.  But never fear, more thoughts crowd up against my consciousness propelling me through the day, getting things done, with hardly an ounce of awareness, since while I am doing those things my thoughts drive me to do, I am having other thoughts about what I must do next.  I have forgotten all about my desire to see the hedgehog emerge from her hole until hours later, when I burst through the back door with a load of recycling, and I am halted by an invisible force.  I turn to see her, sitting at the entrance to her home, wearing her finest coat, regarding me with the full attention of her being.

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