Thursday, April 17, 2008

Island Life

Whidbey is a different kind of place than I have ever lived before. I've lived in small towns but never in a place where wildlife was so prolific and outnumbered me right in my own yard. I live a little way out of town on several acres of grassy, blackberry-ed, alder-ed, conifer-ed land and every day I see bald eagles and hawks overhead, in addition to numerous small birds. I see deer on my grass and bunnies on the edge of the blackberry brambles and under the forsythia thicket.

This morning as I was driving to the gym which is just a little too far to walk on a darkish morning, I realized I hadn't seen my resident deer for a few days and remembered last summer when a deer carcass remained by the side of the road for days because it was a holiday weekend and the roadkill crews weren't on duty. I sent up a little prayer that my three-doe herdlet would survive another year.

And then I saw an ominous lump on the shoulder up ahead. The limp body of a young doe lay sprawled on the side of the road, clearly the victim of someone who couldn't stop in time to avoid her as she tried to cross the road. I don't know if she's one of my girls or not, but I have a bad feeling about it.

In other news, I've been letting Max go out on the deck with the other cats now and he is obsessed by the wider world this opens up to him. With his white coat, he's much more visible than the other cats and I always watch for predator birds overhead, but he's a happy boy right now----if he's outside. Otherwise he's scratching at the door, mewing piteously and looking quite frantic. After all, there are huge, slow flies out there and he is "desperately needed to eradicate them for the safety of the whole household, Mom, don't you get it?"

We have now gone more than two weeks without "an incident" and I am hoping the worst is over. Everyone seems healthy and happy, including me, except for the remnants of a cold that make me sound stuffy.

On Sunday, I will travel down to Palisades retreat center to join my colleagues in a three day R & R retreat. I am the "Odyssian" this time, the person whose turn it is to offer an evening session describing my spiritual journey. I've been working on it for months and am just about ready to go, except for putting together the mementoes I want to display.

I'm ready for a little R & R and time with friends in a beautiful spot. It's been a long winter.

UPDATE: Max managed to get off the deck today but I found him before he could get too far. So the deck has had to be further fortified to foil him. We'll see what happens next.


LinguistFriend said...

Well, Max eventually will get off and prowl on his own, but he is
at a "terrible two" stage where he could run into things he cannot deal with (do you have raccoons?).
That is what carnivores do. You can hope that some little electronic signal-emitter device to hang on his neck will become affordable so that you can find him.

ms. kitty said...

Fortunately, I don't think I have any resident raccoons, but I do worry about the coyotes and foxes which roam my briar patch and woods. My son says eagles, hawks and owls are probably not strong enough to lift a squalling cat Max's size very far, but they could inflict some major damage and drop him from a height he couldn't survive.

But I'm going to do the best I can and hope it all works out. Today we're having wet snow flurries, so if he goes out, he'll find it's not so pleasant.