Isabella has had her mind blown by Colorado.
There is the notable terrain: “Plains, plains, everywhere, plains generally level, but elsewhere rolling in long undulations, like the waves of a sea which had fallen asleep.”* Mostly, tho, she’s flipped over the concept of prairie dogs.
The plains “are peopled with large villages of what are called prairie dogs, because they utter a short, sharp bark, but the dogs are, in reality, marmots.** Hundreds of burrows are placed together. On nearly every rim, a small furry reddish-buff beast sat on his hind legs, looking, so far as the head went, much like a young seal. These creatures were acting as sentinels, and sunning themselves. As we passed, each gave a warning yelp, shook its tail, and, with a ludicrous flourish of its hind legs, dived into its hole. The appearance of hundreds of these creatures, each 18 inches long, sitting like a dog begging, with their paws down and all turned sunward, is most grotesque.”
She also opines that with so many burrowing marmots that the prairies will be seriously injured and rendered completely unsafe for horses. It’s good that she never lived to see strip malls and CAFOs.***
The burrows, she is told, are also shared by owls. Many people insist to her that they are also shared by rattlesnakes, “but I hope for the sake of the harmless, cheery little prairie dog, that this unwelcome fellowship is a myth.”
* This is followed by a detailed description of all of the grasses on said plains but I’ll spare you.
** Thanks for spoiling the magic, Izzy.
*** concentrating animal feeding operations, which are truly grotesque