I spent one night at Brazos Bend. I’m starting to believe that one night is not enough for any park, but it’s especially not enough for one as big as Brazos Bend. So many trails there! So many things to see! An observatory and a windmill and multiple lakes. I’m not even sure what I might have missed. Well, except for the alligators–based on the warnings, I should definitely have seen some alligator activity there, but our one morning there was cold so there was no sign of them. I don’t actually mind that, ha.

We did see vultures. Lots and lots of vultures. Zelda and I actually startled about a dozen of them while we were out walking. They’d been hidden in the brush and I hadn’t noticed them, but we were so close that the sound of their wings beating the air as they leaped into flight was incredibly loud, like a motor suddenly starting right next to you. I ducked, heart abruptly racing. Zelda was totally nonchalant, of course, but vultures are quite big when you’re only a few feet away from them.

The above plants were really loud, too. The wind blowing through them was a steady rustle, like… I don’t know what. Maybe I don’t have a comparison. They sort of sounded papery, but loud papery–like dozens of people all reading newspapers at once, making no other sounds, no clearing of breath or shifting weight, just shuffling their papers around. I’m not musical enough to be sure, but I bet there’s some musical instrument that could replicate the sound. It was so loud and steady that I’m fairly sure I’d never heard anything like it before, though.

Traveling like this is really making me feel incredibly ignorant. About so many things! Musical instruments at the moment, but birds, of course. Plant life. I have no idea what the above plants are, or the names of any of the wildflowers I’ve been admiring. The stars are an almost complete mystery, after I’ve found Orion’s Belt and hunted for the Little Dipper.

Then there’s geography. Having moved on from Brazos Bend (and back to Matagorda Bay), I’m currently sitting on the banks of the Colorado River. In Texas. This was completely mystifying to me until I finally googled and discovered that Texas’ Colorado River is not the same river as the Colorado River that runs through the Grand Canyon. (And, random new fact, Colorado means “red” in Spanish. I had no idea.)

And the proper way to murder mice. At this point, I’ve captured and released one, killed another, and spent about $45 in anti-mice devices. I have ultrasonic repellers plugged into three different outlets, traps baited with “mouse attractor” in two locations, peppermint oil sprayed along the floor, dryer sheets in the drawers, and the whole van smells like Christmas from the FreshCab mouse repellent in the kitchen. Seriously, I feel like I should be putting up lights and baking cookies. Meanwhile, there were still little mouse droppings on the kitchen counter this morning, so my unwelcome guests have not been sufficiently repelled yet. I haven’t braced myself to do the glue traps yet. They seem so unkind. But that’s next, I guess.

I’m a carnivore, so I really shouldn’t feel guilty about killing mice. I eat cows and pigs and chickens and fish, the death of a mouse should be trivial. But I really hate this. It makes me simultaneously sad and jumpy, paranoid that every sound is a mouse getting near my bed and that every sniffle is the first symptom of a mouse-born virus.

And Bartleby is so allergic to springtime that he is chewing himself raw, which is frustrating both of us. Me, as I try to stop him from chewing, and him, as he tries to soothe his own itching. That reminds me, though, that I have anti-itch shampoo for him–new goal for today, give the dog a bath!