Monday, August 5, 2013



We are having truly marvelous weather at present in Seattle—so my high window, appropriately protected by a mesh screen—is open. The good news is that this cools the room. The bad news is that I can hear rather more stuff than I care to—and noise can be distracting.

Between you and me, I had thought that my hearing had been degraded as a result of spending far too long within yards of M1A1 tanks firing (a story for another day) but now I am not so sure. My hearing can’t be that bad if I can hear every munch my local squirrel is making.

He used to inhabit the dead tree, and I would see him regularly. Since that was cut down—to avoid crashing on a neighbor (anti-social behavior)—I have seen him less often.

This morning, he was crouched on top of a fencepost—perhaps twelve feet away—and I could both see and hear every munch.

I was much cheered.

When I was a child I had Siamese cats as pets and loved them dearly. Later, I seemed to be mainly preoccupied with babies—with the odd cat thrown in because babies like cats and the feeling seems to be mutual.

After that, though I get on fine with cats and dogs and babies, I became attracted by the idea of enjoying a pet while not really owning it. It appears I have a libertarian streak.

My first candidate was a bantam hen, who appeared as if from nowhere, and who liked to strut within my vision—while I was trying to write—until I had acknowledged him. After that, he would do his own thing. That mainly involved pecking for food, strutting, and servicing his harem of bantam hens. I had no idea where they came from from either, but they seemed to appreciate his attention. He was a beautiful creature and—as best as I could determine—consisted mainly of testosterone.

I christened him Yul Brynner because few people could strut like Brynner. I bought him and his retinue corn meal, but otherwise left them to their own devices. They took over my pump house to sleep in.

There is a great deal to be said for having a pet you don’t own.


Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

― Albert Schweitzer






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