Topic: "Cone of Silence" (4)
A return to the Shire eventually leads all inhabitants to the same conclusion; there is no place like home. Frodo sits in his gazebo, too enthralled by the activity to fully concentrate on the book in his lap. It is Goldfinch season, and the tuxedoed males crest the cone flowers in search of their favorite seeds. The orange hue of the Frittalaria in its' final stage of life floats from one passion flower to the next. Yearling squirrels invade every feeder, despite the engineering mechanisms designed to thwart their assault. Ruby-throat Hummingbirds flash from venues beyond detection, in pursuit of any intruder seeking to compete for the precious contents of the glass containers. Through all of this the domesticated companions of Frodo sit, and take notes.
Beau Neau's tail flicks right, then left, then right again, as if he were keeping time with Mozart. He concentrates on every movement by visitors to the Shire, seemingly unaware that he, too, is being observed. Mick, the Wonder Dog, long ago determined that the highlight of his day is the instruction to "Get the Kitty," just before all the lights are dimmed and doors are made fast. Mick, the Wonder Dog, pants in anticipation of this evenings' order. Frodo cannot help but add a little mischief to the scenery.
When Frodo barks his command, all is set in motion and the mostly black dog strikes out in hot pursuit of his all-white rival. Having been otherwise occupied, Beau Neau is briefly unprepared, and streaks out in an unfortunate direction. Leaping the green plastic structure, and landing amidst, Beau Neau is suddenly reminded that the "Mr. Turtle Pool" is filled with water and corn oil (when placed upon the surface of the pool, the corn oil discourages the development of mosquito larvae). With no more splash than that of an Olympic diver, Beau Neau rises back from the surface of the water and combines his sprint for the dog-door with an occasional irritating-shake of a paw. Mick, the Wonder Dog, continues the chase until he reaches the door, and can turn back to Frodo with a look of operational satisfaction.
Squirrels bark from their lofts. Blue Jays and Towhees replace the previous visitors to the bird feeders, and a lone Robin splashes in his bath. Mick, the Wonder Dog, is inside, atop the transom which normally blows cooling air into the home shared by Frodo and Sam. Beau Neau slithers back into the position he maintained before he was so rudely interrupted. His tail now seems to move more methodically, perhaps, thought Frodo, he was now imagining something by Strauss. Despite all the travail and the strife of days just passed, Frodo returned to his book, and all was right with the world. If only it would last.