City wildlife

Aren’t they all gorgeous? Doesn’t H.o.p. look deceptively sweet? Not that he isn’t, he’s sweet as can be. He’s also a major imp and T. Wrecks.

I had two hours of sleep last night and then H.o.p. got me up at 5:30 a.m. He was wide awake. I promised blueberry muffins after another hour’s rest and he settled down readily but he wasn’t getting back to sleep and I wasn’t either. I said ok let’s get you a bath and I’ll make the muffins after a bath. We heard, presumably, George taking a trash bin from the back to the alley. The way things are done here, since the homeless go through the bins and strew everything around the alley, the bins are kept in the back and in the morning George pulls a bin out into the alley where residents can dump their trash as most prefer not to go into the back. So, I go into H.o.p.’s room to pull out a fresh pair of boxers and look out and see in the alley light a rat sitting on top of the bin looking for a way in. I know that what people want are pictures of birds and deer and eagles and butterflies and such, but I figure you make due with what you’ve got and so went to get the camera and by the time I got back there were two rats, and then a third came running up along the top of the fence and joined his buds, hopping onto the top of the bin. They found their way in. I tried taking some shots but nothing turned out.

I need a vacation. In the desert. Y’know, where you wake up in the morning and find things like scorpions in your shoes. But being able to ride around and see beautiful big rocks somehow makes up for it.

Anyway, hope my sister-in-law doesn’t kill me for this, but here is a much more pleasant form of city wildlife captured at my birthday last week. And I believe I can qualify it as “wild” because of H.o.p. There you have H.o.p. with his Aunt Marye and her daughter, his cousin. Marty was over lighting the birthday cake (cute candles looked like little balloons) so H.o.p. would have been looking over at his uncle, my brother. We had a great time. The birthday hats were H.o.p.’s idea. He insisted that no birthday party was complete without them.

A friend sent me a didgeridoo for my birthday. I have a small one from Australia that is primarily decorative but can produce a nice rich, full sound. She sent a long one made of some kind of twisted pipe (twisted pvc?) with a separate mouthpiece you beeswax on. A lovely painted design. 8 coats of varnish. Agh, as it turns out I can’t play it. I tried and within a short time my face was burning and broken out in a rash, I think from the varnish fumes? In the meanwhile, H.o.p. had also tried and had no problems. He has since watched the video that came with the digeridoo about 20 times over. It is only the maker pleasantly relating how to attach the mouthpiece, birds singing in the background throughout, but it’s about digi and H.o.p. is fascinated with the digi so he watches. The long one is too much for him so I gave him the small one and showed him how to make a sound through it. No, not circular breathing. That would only frustrate him. Besides which it’s been years since I played and circular breathing, for me, is not like riding a bike. I would have to practice to get it back. It took me a while to even begin to acquire the knack of it when I was practicing and the circular breathing was always a struggle. Marty would come in and say I was really getting the circular breathing down but I always felt I never did get it.

H.o.p. has decided (at least for now) that every night I am supposed to give him digi lessons. “I know, every night you can give me lessons,” he says. He’s always liked the sound of a digi. It was seeing the big digi that sparked his interest I think. I put it up in its sleeve and he pulls it back out. He has learned from the video that he has to be very careful to place the bell on a rug in order to not chip the varnish and several times daily he pulls it out of the sleeve and tells me all about how one has to be careful. He doesn’t like for the new digi to be put up. He has to see it.

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Juli Kearns

Juli Kearns is the author of Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine and Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin. She is also an artist/photographer, and the person behind the web alter of "Idyllopus Press".

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