PERHAPS IT'S MY SMELL?
And, when the snow blanketed all, heartrendingly splendid in moonlight.
I often went there after school, unless it was raining and freezing cold. But if the weather was tolerable one could spend many quiet hours going through history and algebra textbooks, pipe in mouth, without being disturbed. Occasionally a wanderer would pass by and exchange a civil greeting, but one was otherwise alone.
Except for bugs and small furry creatures.
I suspect that the local stoats, rabbits, and squirrels wondered at the presence of a larger being that seemed at times to emit smoke.
But if so, they did not voice their suspicions. Tolerant beasts.
Frogs and salamanders, being notoriously skittish, did not make their presence known at all.
Even the native toads were rarely evident.
The weather was already turning colder in mid-October, and it was probably one of the last days before the rainy season started. Once settled on a convenient log, with pipe filled and lit, and bundled up in my coat, I did not notice anything else but the book I held and the taste of the tobacco.
Till something cold crawled up my pants leg.
I didn't have a clue what it was. I didn't move, so as not to startle the creature. Once it found the way blocked by a fold of cloth, it pushed a bit, then stopped moving. It didn't feel like a snake, and I was quite fascinated. But for the longest time it didn't do anything, but just remained where it was.
Finally, after my leg had fallen asleep, it climbed back out.
Two world-weary eyes blinked up at me, whereupon it made an 'ip ip' sound, and hopped over into the fallen leaves.
After three or four meters it looked back, then left for good.
Toads are confident creatures. Calm and self-assured.
I'll assume that my pants must have smelled like a nice bit of swamp in springtime. Perhaps appetizing, in any case not entirely unfamiliar.
Warm and earthy.
But he may have just been curious.
As well as slightly abstracted, because of torpor.
Cold weather slows down the brain functions of amphibians.
Several years ago I attended a new years eve party at a friend's place. There was a pet iguana there that lived on an electric rock near the window, and didn't react much, though it's eyes followed every movement on the street three floors below.
After two or three in the morning I fell asleep on the couch. Woke up shortly after nine, with lizard breath blowing straight into my face. Igor had wandered over in the middle of the night and burrowed into my sweater. The spikes along his back prevented retreat, he could only move forward. Until he got to my chin.
So he stayed where he was.
A recumbent human is better than any damned rock.
Animals tend to like me. But I'm never sure whether it's because I'm a warm place to rest upon, or they actually dig my curious personality.
In the case of mammals, it's more likely the latter.
Well, except for cats, that is.
Cats are snooty.
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