Wildlife in the City

Riding the subway sometimes feels like a wildlife journey. This morning as I waited for the train to arrive on the outdoor platform, I heard the quacking of ducks. The sun hadn’t risen yet. It was dark. I couldn’t see the birds, but I heard them  quacking to each other incessantly. They had a lot to say and were passionate about it. Finally they took a breath and that’s when the geese started in with their honking. They were loud and vociferous. The ducks couldn’t take it and flew over my head with jet-engine speed.  FullSizeRender (23)

Yesterday as I boarded the train to go home a woman told me not to sit down. “Why?” I asked. “There’s a rat in here!” she said horrified. I look behind me and sure enough the rodent was zig-sagging across the aisle. The passengers were screaming, men and women alike, jumping out of the way. The rat scampered as fast as his little legs could take him in and out of the rows of seats. Women were lifting their legs. The screams got louder. It ran past me and onto two seats by the door. It found a hole in the back of one of them and disappeared.

We stopped at another station. People got on. The seats were filling up. The only two empty ones had the rat in residence. “Don’t sit there!” a man said to people who wanted to sit down. “There’s a rat in the seat,” he said. The riders walked to another car.

At another stop a woman got on and sat down. The same man warned her, but this time in Spanish. He just knew she was Hispanic. She shrugged her shoulders and said, “No me da miedo.” She was right. There was nothing to be afraid of. The rat was in its hidey-hole with a palpitating heart hoping nobody would rip the seat out and extinguish it. The rodent had nothing to fear. There wasn’t a soul on board with the courage to do that. Even the men, some in hard hats and fluorescent vests, big burly construction guys with tool belts around their middles, might as well have been ballerinas in tutus for all the help they provided.

It showed me I better be my own warrior.

It also occurred to me that the easiest way to hold a group of people hostage would be to unleash a few rats on a subway system. The entire system would be paralyzed in no time. 

Calvin says, “You humans. What’s a stupid rat going to do to you? Now snakes, there’s a thought.”  beagle

All In The Focus

I came out of the restaurant after a farewell luncheon for a co-worker from the office. I heard a voice calling from across the street. I ignored it. It called again. I looked. I didn’t recognize the woman. I assumed she meant someone else. I kept walking. The voice got louder. Then I heard the woman call my name. I stopped. I looked across the street again.

It was my daughter.

How embarrassing!

Okay, I was wearing dark glasses and that always mutes the colors.

Plus she was in the shadow.  cropped-img_0711.jpg

But my own daughter?

Alf tells me when I focus on things, I only see in front of my face.

I guess I’m that bad.

I think it has a lot to do with expectations. I wasn’t expecting to see my daughter, therefore I didn’t recognize her.

Now I know how magicians do it.

It’s all in the focus.

And when they get me looking at something else, out pops the struggling bunny from the top hat.

Meanwhile there’s a snake slithering across my feet.

Calvin says, “For me it’s my nose. The whole world stops while the scent lures me to the wild side.” beagle

 

A Little Drama on an Ordinary Walk

sudden breeze –
the dog sniffs the hisses
of a rattle snake

 

Calvin says, “Hey, that’s me in the poem. I remember that day well. We stood overlooking the creek, in tall grasses, poppies blooming, puffy white clouds in a periwinkle sky, but I wax poetic. It was more rustic than that. All of a sudden I hear a rattle. I freeze. Every nerve in my body is on alert, ready to respond, to sniff the intruder, and then bay my guts out. I have the victim in my sight. Who cares that he’s slithering straight at me, flicking his tongue, and rattling furiously. This is drama. This is adventure. This is what I was made for. You spoiled it by screaming and yanking me away.”

“I saved your life,” I said.

“You killed the joy.”

“You’d be a dead dog,” I said.

“I’d have gone down smiling.”

“I’d have gone home crying,” I said.

“Aw. You do love me.”