So today I'm sitting out on the porch at one o'clock — it gets earlier every day, my afternoon rest period, but so do sundown and darkness and the cold, cold night — and my attention was drawn away from my book — Seventeen Against the Dealer, by Cynthia Voigt — to what sounded like someone or something — depending on how you look at it, I guess — eating daintily somewhere in the grass close by.
And I couldn't read. I couldn't concentrate, and I couldn't think about anything except staring at the ground to see what the noise was. I thought I saw a blade of grass move, but then I noticed that they were all moving in the breeze. Then I saw a clump of grass disappear underground, as if sucked into hell.
I sprang to my feet and grabbed the shovel. I wasn't thinking about killing anything (this time), just desperately curious about what was going on. But it's not even that. I was curious to see if I could find the source of all this activity, more than I was about the source itself.
For one thing, I was pretty sure it was my gopher (or mole, I still don't know but let's call it a gopher). When I'd first heard the noise, I figured it was just another lizard in the grass. That's all it usually is, whenever I hear faint sounds penetrating the quiet afternoon. If it's a bird, I can see it; if I can't see it, it's probably a lizard.
It wasn't a lizard this time. (Or a bird, either, obviously.) As soon as I was sure it was more than a lizard (or rather, something bigger than a lizard, because "more" seems overly judgmental), I (as I already mentioned two paragraphs ago) grabbed a shovel.
And dug and dug and dug. I found the hole right away, and I stuck the handle of the shovel in as far as it would go, ripping away the ground. When I couldn't make any further progress that way, I dug some more, until I got to another arm of the tunnel. I followed it as deep as I could, until I almost broke off the shovel's handle in it.
All this activity produced nothing, really, except an unsightly new trench that I'll just have to fill up again, since it's right outside my back door. The gopher is still living under my yard. If I stuck shovel handles in every hole I see, all around the yard, it would look like a samurai graveyard, with shovels as monuments instead of swords.