Thursday, December 3, 2009
People ask me, "Do you have any pets?" Often when a new guest is in my home eventually the question arises, "Where's the cat?" When I get asked the question about the cat, I ask back,"Does it smell like a cat?" People just assume I fit the stereotype. Single woman, into the healing arts, with a bookish air, earth-motherly type of woman should automatically have at least one cat on premises. Not so. Not in my house. I have allergies. Asthma to be exact. Constant breathing problems would plague me if I were to have a cat or a dog. Everyone deserves to breathe. I choose not to have fish. I do not want to clean the tanks out. I do not want a turtle. No to reptiles. No to rodents of any flavor. Basically, I do not want to clean up someone else's shit. I think about a bird, and then I look outside. Seven doves perch on the ground under my patio table and chair set. A chipmunk sits on the round of wood and cleans his face in the morning sun. A red male cardinal and his tawny mate frolic as their two beaks meet in a kiss. Mocking birds land on the umbrella as they jump to the fence and feeder. Jays circle in, and sometimes the woodpeckers poke around my back yard. I sit at my dining table and watch squirrels move in death defying contortions in order to reach the suet and meal cakes that hang in a green mesh cage. Goldfinches and purple finches flock at the feeder with their families a few hours before dusk. Innocent titmouse twins peck away at the millet looking for peanuts. Junkos, sparrows, wrens, and thrashers scratch the dirt border between the golden oregano and the muscadine vines. I buy the birdseed and keep the feeder stocked. I keep fresh water in a copper dish set on the aggregate patio. I watch the cardinals drink from it, not to mention the chipmunks, squirrels, doves and red wasps. I sweep the sidewalk clean, and I pick up the empty sunflower shells. I tend to these wild creatures. If I have neglected to supply the feeder, the birds squawk in a relentless banter. Once the feeder is full, the twitter changes. The birds song becomes a charge of revelry. One more thing about feeding the wild birds and animals...I still have to clean up the droppings.