(22-25 November 1993) after William Shakespeare

The squirrels love our flowerpots but disregard the flowers. They dig small holes all over the yard, burying and searching for nuts. The walnut tree is all for them— the nuts to eat, the limbs for safety, the leaves to make their nests. The neighbor’s old cat crosses the street to cover its dung in our flower bed. Our backyard neighbor feeds the birds, attracting younger cats who wait patiently on the top of the fence to kill the songbirds when they can catch them. Raccoons have eaten goldfish after goldfish from our little pond, tearing up the water lilies, but it’s either keeping fish to feed the coons or mosquitoes to spite ourselves on the warm evenings. Our house is along the walk to the park, and some dogs, morning and evening, can’t wait. The proclivities of nature in dogs and masters conspire to trample and defile our ivy. A mocking bird perches on a TV antenna and sings a hundred melodies. But the stellar jay bullies it’s way everywhere it goes with its jaip, jaip. Wherever I dig in the yard, the mole reestablishes its subterranean dominion over worms that wriggle into its neat, cylindrical tunnels, lined with fine, soft, white roots. Grubs, ants, hummingbirds, and the roof rat in the garden shed— animal life. Don’t forget; tolerate nature’s ways, for you are an animal, too.