a new map of the world.

there are blogs in these hills.

wallpaper-1378585The fire crackled against the night sky: a lazy moon that hung low in the east like the eye of heaven peering across the endless Californian plains. The soft whisper of the wind was only punctuated by an occasional pop, or the bubbling water in the tin bucket over the fire.

A faint howl broke the night. I strained into the dark over the rolling grassy hills. I tipped my ten gallon hat to the side and took off my rawhide gloves. The cattle grew nervous.

Buck, a 42 year old cowboy who had been running Sal’s cattle for nearly twenty years, spit on the ground near his feet; his weathered face turned in a half smile: “t’ain’t nothing to worry about, son. There are blogs in these hills.”

“Blogs?” I asked, a little nervous.

“Yessir. Blogs. Little critters that run all over the place. In the day time nobody pays them no never mind, but in the night they seem all too much. See, there’s several types. There’s an old type called Xanga: critters only come out in the blue moon and toothless, they are. Then there’s one they call Blogger, but that’s just a bunch of little uns all huddled together to tell stories ’bout stuff nobody cares about. Then there’s your WordPress, beast he is and opinionated. He’ll get you into an argument you’ll never win and can’t stop. Like trying to tell my old lady I’ma go’ng fishin’. If ya ever find yerself staring in the eye of a WordPress, you best like it: no tellin’ what could happen if you don’t. It probably wants you too follow it also.”

“I think I’ve heard of them.” I added, wanting to feel part of the conversation and less like a child. “I think there is one called Myspace.”

His face almost contorted. “Son, myspace is extinct. Killed off by the Facebook, it’were. Nobody pays it no never mind anyway. Long gone like the caveman and his cave paintings.”

His voice grew quiet and he looked around nervous.

“But then there’s a type called tumblr. Son, watch out. Tumblrs come from little holes ya can’t see til you get caught in ’em. Nobody ever sees a tumblr, but they howl the loudest: bite too, dag gum critters. Many of them ain’t got no faces either. They wear masks and will tell you all ’bout there problems and ’bout’in their hopes too. Half the time you can feel yerself getting all moppy as well. But still feel a mite better somehows.”

“Do tumblrs want to be followed as well?”

“Not on your life!” It was as if I had just told a little child about the monster at the end of the book. “Tumblrs like to be followed by other tumblrs they don’t know. But they just like to be watched from a distance. All quiet like.”

The grass seemed to agree with him as its long golden heads bobbed up and down. I didn’t understand why nobody had told me of them before. A blog howled from a near-by hill. I jumped. “Why do they call like that?”

His eyes followed the noise as it rushed down the hill into some thickets. “Sometimes they like to share stories with one another, like to keep up. Other times they sing thoughts for any to listen. But sometimes they are just looking for attention –  you know – a place to belong. See that ‘en out there? He’s just runnin’ to see if any fellow cares enough to keep up. Funny critters they are. Hearts of gold, just confused.”

I stared where he was pointing, but I couldn’t see anything beyond the camp fire. I took the brim of my hat to shield my eyes and walked nervously to the edge of the camp. I could hear a cooing, but deep from the back of a throat as though it were a growl: a welcoming growl. “I can’t see it, but I can hear it?”

Buck’s eyes shot open, the stone face of disinterest looked surprised. “That’s right – that’s right. They are hard to see unless you have a Pinterest. It allows you to look into the heart of the blogs and see what they want. It’s tricky. They’re tricky. That one out there, he’s a Livejournal, ain’t nobody never knows what they want. You could touch him, but’ll probably bite yer head off if ya try.

He paused. “One more though, a twitter. Don’t let the name fool ya. Big, slow creature it is. Generally just sits around does nothing but will tell you real, real short stories of who great its life is. Opinionated, but it ain’t got no teeth.”

His eyes never wavered. The flash of fire lost somewhere in time. I shot a glance over my shoulder to follow a rustle in the grass.

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