Hotel Juniper


My Sweet Sven planted a bush.
"It's a Juniper," he said.
"Oh," I said.
"Don't worry. It'll get bigger Millie. You'll see."
Well, it was a slow growing bush.
And it was pretty ugly.
It was an ugly accent to an ugly attraction in our front yard.
But, in just ten short years it had spread far enough to finally do its duty and hide the holding tank lid.
Now at twenty-five years of age, that beast of a bush pretty much covers the front yard.
It never occurred to me when I placed the bird feeder a few feet away from the bush that it would someday turn into a well known restaurant at a famous hotel.
But, I didn't know we were going to get so much snow this winter either.

Enough snow to turn that unruly, gnarly evergreen, into a giant, insulated, igloo.
What I would like to know is, do the rabbits have their own wing in there?
Is there a separate section for the squirrels?
And the birds. What about all the different kinds of birds that that fly straight into a tunnel and disappear every time I open the door?
Is there a common area?
A lobby with a fireplace, grand piano and free Wi-Fi?
Who sleeps where?
And with who?
Is there a dominant language?
Are the red squirrels shunned?
Because they can be real assholes.
Sven is of the opinion, that Hunter is not in any way, a little puppy dog.
And that all the creatures get along in that bush because they share a common enemy.
Even as a very proud mother of a wonder dog, I can't say that I blame any of the critters for not shaking hands and trying to make friends with him. Since Hunter does shoot out the door like an old bolt of lightning every time I open it, in hopes of snagging anybody covered in fur or in feathers.
He is not choosey.
But he is ten years old.
Gone are the glory days of conquering snakes, squirrels and raccoons.
His latest trophy was a mud turtle who happened to be sauntering through the yard last summer taking a shortcut to the pond.
Turtles do not react when you run around with them squeezed between your incisors.
They just pull their heads inside and wait out the nightmare.
Hunter let him go.
This was after I yelled, "Hunter!
Drop that turtle.
I said, drop that turtle!

Image 7

It's been fun watching Hotel Juniper grow and flourish all winter.
But this morning I am fearful for its patrons.
You see, mother nature has decided to make today, March 14, 2019, my first day as a retired from the workforce citizen, a warm and sunny one.
Just for me.
Although it is beautiful out there and the fresh air is good for the soul.
And the sky is a dazzling, hopeful shade of blue.
She didn't have to do that.
The sudden rise in temperature is causing a bit of chaos.
And a lot of flooding.
And the hotel?
I don't believe Juniper will last the day.
Especially now that five minutes have gone by.
And it is raining.
Will this be the end of the unlikely friendships formed under the foliage when they all move out?
Which they will do as soon as Hunter is able to stick his nose in there.
Which could be any minute.
Will they remain pals?
Come next summer will they stop and reminisce about the good old days?
Will they joke about all the close calls they had scrambling away from the legendary old dick of a dog?
What about all those late-night hotel parties?
And all the hotel gossip?
Or will they simply pass each other in the woods.
And not even give so much as a nod.


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