bunt sign

Thursday, August 23, 2001

For all the wildlife I see in my yard and nearby, it still doesn't make up for not having a pet. I'm content to live without the companionship of a pet, since that's one of the landlord's requirements for allowing me to live here. And I definitely enjoy the visits from creatures of different types, with so much variety that they often send me scrambling for a field guide to identify them.

I even feel some affection for the gopher or mole, which I've never even seen clearly. I saw the rear end of something that size waddling beneath a shrub once, but that's the closest I've come. I see evidence of its presence every morning, though, when I flatten down the mounds and fill the holes it's created during the night.

Still, gophers are not pets. Nor are wild birds, lizards, mice and deer, all of which I've seen closely enough to reach out and touch them. But, of course, they wouldn't let me, and that's the point. My garden can be filled with birds, but as soon as I get near the door, they're gone into the trees on the other side of the yard.

The little spotted fawn has been back the last two days, munching on the wildflowers that are growing up through the dry grass in my back yard. The photograph I tried to take of it doesn't even show a blur, because it was gone at my first movement. If I stay back and still, I can watch it through the screen, but it's a skittish little thing.

buzzard at rest

Buzzard — sorry, "turkey vulture" — on my fence post.

On rare occasions, the turkey vultures that patrol the fields around here get close. Unlike the deer and the other birds, they aren't intimidated by my presence in the yard. If they want to land on my fence post or swoop down over the tall weeds, they're going to do it, whether I'm standing there or not. In this case, even if they wanted to eat out of my hands, I think I'd still keep my distance. So they're not pet material either, and wouldn't be even if they weren't so ugly.

buzzard in flight

Buzzard overhead.

Not that I feel deprived just because I can't have a pet. I've been content to live alone since my cat Webster died a few years back. But I'm pretty sure that if it were permitted, I'd have a dog out here in the country. It just seems right somehow. I won't ask, though, at least until I've been here longer and have a little stronger relationship with the landlords.

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