Welcome to the Hotel Arizona – such a lovely place. (Desert tortoise update! Hibernation 2020.)

October is over. Short Horror October is over. Michael Myers is once again in the house, in pieces piled up on the bed in the spare bedroom (pending my decision on where to store him). You know I seriously considered leaving him out year-round. I had to talk myself out of it, as the mail carrier was visibly skittish bringing the mail up to the box.

At October’s end, I had a few requests for a Geronimo update. What’s going on with Geronimo’s hibernation? When are we getting a pre-hibernation updates post? I was eager to provide the updates, too, but it’d been a few weeks since I’d seen him. I’d had to cancel his pre-hibernation exam because he wasn’t out that morning (it was a Saturday), though he’d been out a few days before that.

I wanted to oblige your requests right away, but I also wanted to wait, because I wasn’t sure what was going on. Maybe he would come out again, like he did after I thought he’d gone in last year! False hibernations happen.

In the weeks following Geronimo’s canceled pre-hibernation appointment, I searched for him every day when I was home. Eventually, I had to assume that he’d already tucked himself in for the year.

To tell you the truth, I’ve been a little sad about it. His departure was so unexpected! I didn’t have a chance to tuck him in, myself, and wish him a good night. I wasn’t ready. I never am, but this year, I really wasn’t. Last year and the year before, he went into hibernation toward the end of November. This year, it was mid-October-ish.

If I had to guess, I’d say that Geronimo was eager to hibernate because he wanted to retire to his new digs. (Pun totally intended.)

In 2018, he wasn’t 100% out of sight during hibernation. The edge of his heel could be seen in the shadows of the deep turn from the back of his burrow where it dips down and veers off to the right into the tunnel he’d dug. It was his first year here. His burrow was new.

In 2019, he dug a little more while he was out in the spring and summer, and he couldn’t be seen at all during his hibernation.

In 2020, Geronimo went on an obvious mission in the spring, spending even more of his warm-weather time digging. It can be assumed that he’s now got a sprawling labyrinth of a subterranean tortoise mansion in a network of tunnels beneath the backyard, an occluded, wondrous interior that’s fit for Architectural Digest.

I’m thinking that Geronimo was eager to move into the dream home that he’d built for himself. He wanted to get settled in down there at the first lick of cold weather, not knowing (or caring) that the weather was a cold front that would give way to a week back up in the 90’s. If my suspicions are correct, I don’t blame him for wanting to go in early. His burrow looks exactly the same from the outside, but on the inside, his achievements probably match those of Frank Lloyd Wright’s.

I would love to behold Geronimo’s architectural wonder with my own eyes. I’m still planning to look into what sort of camera one can use for such purposes.

I’m sorry that a real hibernation post isn’t going to happen this year. I remember the last time I saw Geronimo: I’d just gotten home to grab lunch, and he was out on the patio. As always, I wanted so badly to go to him, but I couldn’t, because I had to get back to work. After work, I’d thought… but I haven’t seen him since.


SNACKS! [18 September 2020]


I talk to Geronimo for a few minutes every evening, sitting outside of his burrow. Maybe he can hear me down there, in some part of his resting brain, wherever he is in the depths of his splendiferous winter abode. I hope that he can, so he can know how much I love him and miss him and wish him sweet dreams.

The post I look forward to writing the most is the one where I tell you about Geronimo’s emergence in spring 2021!



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