The Birds

The birds, the birds make such a concert outside my window. Something too tiny to see is chirping, chirping. The doves are warming up for the day. A woodpecker pounds away on a power pole. The roadrunners bark occasionally. Above the wet grass the cliff swallows circle and dive in silence. Breakfast is better than singing.

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Mad

I used to love terrifying movies. Remember the one about the mad dog Cujo? That little kid trapped by a rabid dog? These days horror stories don’t have the appeal they used to have. Why?

Do you outgrow the need to feel terror at make believe? Modern life is a horror in itself, but plenty of younger people are still avidly watching horror films. Let’s take a survey: how many older people still enjoy horror films?

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Sad

The sad eyes of the burros broke her heart. She refused to ride atop one to get up the cliff. No, she would find another way and not mistreat a burro in the process. Since riding a burro was a favorite thing to do there, and many tourists did it, her protest probably went unnoticed in the grand scheme of things. But I remembered it because it helped me understand how sensitive she was to the inner lives of animals.

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Crawfish

Her rattletrap Ford died in Austin, Texas on July 9, 1975. She wandered the bars on 6th Street until she found a fellow musician willing to loan a couch to crash on for a few days. Her new friend took her to a spot down by the river where a waiter dumped a bucket of crawfish on a piece of butcher paper in the middle of their table. She stared at the mess. She was supposed to eat that?

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Cats

I admire cats. Their independence. Their self-sufficiency. Of course if you have one confined to your house, they want to be fed. But if they got out the door one day, dinner wouldn’t be hard to find for them. As a pet, they aren’t demanding.

I don’t want one – don’t get me a cat – but I admire them.

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Dogs

My position on dogs is not a popular one. I know they are loyal and friendly. I guess I don’t need a lot of loyal and friendly, because I find dogs pretty uninteresting. They take a lot of work – the kind of work I’d rather not give. I’m glad you love you dog like one of your children. Good for you. But I don’t want a fur child.

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Grasshopper

We called her Grasshopper because she outpaced us by two. She’d get where we were going, look around, come back to fetch us and go again with the slowpokes. She’d rush off on side trips to see things we’d miss and rejoin us down the path a few minutes later. I was convinced she had twice as much fun as anyone else.

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Good Night

All I want is one good night. One morning when I wake up rested. One day when I don’t feel exhausted by everything I do. I could have that if you would come by my place and remove the 3 dogs who live here. Somewhere there is someone who would love 3 yippy dogs. Just not right here. Please.

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Fred

The backyard is home to about 25 turtles. My favorite is Fred. He’s (she?) been around the longest and is the biggest. This summer, he measures about 6″ in diameter and is easy to spot out there among the zucchini vines and tomato plants. It’s the little guys who are only an inch or so in diameter this year that you have to watch out for. But Fred, he’s Mr. Muscle around the yard.

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Bishop

His name is Bishop and he lives across the street. He uses the front step as a soapbox. He stands out there for hours every day, making pronouncements to the universe that includes houses on every side of his. I’m not sure what he’s talking about. I don’t speak his language. But his voice is hard to block out. It would be better if it were a bass note, a deep arf. But it’s a high pitched yip. Yip, yip, yip. All day. Bishop has a lot to say.

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