default plan to kill
Tuesday, June 27 2006
I was coming back from 9W on US 209 southward (up) the Esopus Valley today when the dogs and I first became aware that Esopus Creek was flooding. (I'd gone out to 9W via State Route 28 and had missed the flooding parts of the Esopus in that direction.) The flooding manifested mostly as huge ponds of brown water in low spots in the wide glacier-carved valley, though in some places these ponds extended out into the massive corn fields that occupy nearly all of the lowlands.
When I turned into the center of Old Hurley, I could see some people gathered on the bucolic iron bridge across the Esopus on Wynkoop, so I knew the "creek" must have been making a spectacle of itself. Then I looked down below the ugly metal building where Curves and that healthcare equipment company reside and could see that the dirt road leading to the cornfield, the one I usually walk on with the dogs (and park alongside in the car), was completely submerged beneath roiling brown currents. It looked like a fun place for a couple of dogs and a curious primate to spend a few minutes.
I parked the car at the edge of the water, which was well inside the Curve's lower parking lot. Where the parking lot met with the building itself, someone had thought to position a one-foot barrier of sand bags.
The dogs and I waded out into the parking lot just for the novelty of it, watching the lines demarcating the parking spots undulate beneath the ripples. Then the dogs saw something in the hedgerow of long grass at the submerged end of the parking lot and charged. I figured they'd seen a groundhog, a duck, or something, hopefully a creature that could get away. But when it seemed that whatever they'd chased was not getting away, I ran out into the water to see what it was and perhaps provide assistance "because that's not fair." When I first saw the creature, I thought it was a mostly-submerged Eleanor going after something below the surface in deep water. But then I realized it was a completely soaked black cat swimming away. Not only can cats swim reasonably well, but they look absolutely pathetic and just a little bit alien when they're wet. They're much skinnier than you think, and their big round heads are out of proportion to the sticklike nature of their bodies. I would have done something to help this cat but it just wanted to get away, so I simply ordered the dogs to leave it alone. Actually, though, I think the moment they'd realized it was a cat they'd hesitated in their default plan to kill it.
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