We all have our row to hoe.
And right now, I wouldn’t want to be an armadillo.
He’s got his work cut out for him.
And the hard, dry ground.
I watched one getting after it in the middle of the day.
Which is the first clue that times are tough.
Seeing as how armadillos are nocturnal.
Talk about dust up your nose.
I wonder if they ever sneeze.
His…hers…its…nose was raw from digging into unforgiving soil.
Over and over and over again.
All for a measly insect.
How harsh the sun must be to one who works at night.
I stood close by as it lumbered around.
Burrowing, sniffing, snooting.
Leaving no stone unturned.
No small stone, that is.
Traveling, as it did, like a miniature Airstream through the tall, dry grass.
A solo journey amidst cactus and mesquite.
Finding its way as best it could.
Out in the pasture.
Wind rattling dry branches.
And he in his armor.
Protected yet vulnerable.
Aren’t we all.
Then, at the base of a live oak, he poked his nose.
The soil being so much softer.
And the shade easy on his eyes.
As the sun filtered through the leaves, cold air blew from the north.
Not a soul in sight.
Far off, a cow bellowed.
The wind blew.
Stalks of bluestem rustled their pink.
And everywhere, everything dry as a bone.
Including the tank.
Including the creek.
Still, one must remain diligent.
So onward he went.
A model of forbearance.
Meandering past the cat claw.
Through a cluster of yuccas.
And then disappeared like dust.
Renee Walker is an author, poet, and real estate broker on the square.