Life seems to roll along in eccentric ellipses. The painting of the conure above was done when I was twelve. Painting – art lessons more generally – was part of my parents anti-reading campaign which started when I was six and was still going strong six years later.
Thirty years further on and I was still painting conures. As you can easily guess from the skill of the painting, I was still reading a hundred hours for every one that picked up a brush.
Over the past forty years, I’ve written a number of stories about critters that I’ve kept, caught, tried to catch, or killed – some on purpose, some accidentally. The dead critters, at least when I was a kid, wound up in my mother’s freezer, or in jars of formaldehyde, until I could clean them down to the bones, dissect them, or both. What I didn’t keep, despite being a pack rat, are the stories. Many of them were in letters (before the advent of email) and there is chance a few of them still linger, forgotten, in the drawer of an old friend, an aunt, or in the unsorted papers of a grandparent. Many more stories were sent by email and they’re gone. I’ve experienced a few utterly destructive computer crashes; others were lost to the simple expedient of the delete button when my memory seemed low. Drat. Populating this blog would have been a lot easier if I could copy and paste about a dozen of those stories. I did find an early draft of the Rabies experience in a notebook, so I’ll work that back up on the keyboard, but it won’t be the same story I wrote before. They never are when twice told. There’s also, I’m sure, a copy of the skull boiling experience around here somewhere, but I’ve got boxes and boxes of notebooks to dredge through before I find it. A decent story, set down and ignored, always winds up in the last place you look for it.
Once found or re-written, or written for the first time, you can expect:
The Possum Keeper – a pet opossum, rabies testing, and John the Baptist
The Embarrassment of Anoles – smuggling & lizards on a plane, gone gonzo
Ringmar, The One-Legged Duck – how a duck, who once walked like a duck, became a happy hopper
The Viking Send-Off – companionable dogs, death, bonfires, and Elysium
How to Boil a Skull – in my mother’s kitchen, to the horror of her plumber
The “Rabid” Bat – yanking the girls’ goats with a sleepy bat
Rabies, Attenuated – or, how I caught hydrophobia and learned to love the needle
Snake Handling – A few of the snakes in our grass
Some of the tales linked above do have animals attached to them, which is why they’re linked above; still, they are miscellaneous enough that in the “Stuff” outlines they’re tagged under Miscellany and not Critters.
And, I’ll add more critter tales as they emerge from the progress of our times:
Oh, Snap! – On rescuing snapping turtles, and not dying.
And just because monkeys are the coolest of critters, here’s a painting:
This was one of Henry’s artworks which decorated Seahorse Cottage in Nevis.
And, for now, I’ll end this page like I started it, with one of my paintings. This one is a watercolor of a frog, done after a picture I found in a book of frogs, so it’s my art, but not my original image. Freehand sketch followed by Daniel Smith watercolors…one of my Seattle loyalties.