Saturday, August 20, 2005
Fafnir is a turtle. Snapping, we think. His shell is about eight inches long. He loves meat, and is inclined to dine in one of two pools on the hill above my Red Mountain brother�s house.
Feeding Fafnir is something of a meditative experience. If you pop up to the edge of his pool, he lunges to the bottom and waits for you to leave. Instead, you must approach cautiously, looking for movement, for bubbles, standing at a distance to avoid startling him. Carry a nugget or two of dog food, throw one from a distance, like a softball, under, up and down onto the surface.
Ripples. Silence. Surely the white streak to the left among the plants runs along his neck? Lean a little to the right - it�s the reflection of a leaf. Back by the log - certainly that shape is the outline of his head? You watch intensely, then realize a shape is rising slowly through the murk at the near edge - Fafnir�s head. To the left, the somewhat brighter claws appear. Not a single ripple mars the surface. He snaps and dives.
Now you know he's here; It's time to bring on the meat. He can eat carrion, may even prefer it, but his meat is kept fresh enough for us. So you trek down the hill for freshly thawed chicken gizzards, liver, the last half of the Granny Smith apple he has been consuming this past week.
This time he is ready. When you arrive he begins floating ever so slowly upward. The chicken liver, lighter than the murk he makes by stirring up the bottom is visible until he swallows it all. He sinks. You wait. Another lunge and the chicken liver disappears. He sinks again. The pond is still.