Sun 7 Apr 2013
As a regular reader of The San Francisco Chronicle’s Jon Carroll, I recognized an echo of the divine in his March 5 column, which was headlined: My legs are frozen and I can’t get up.
The column, which focused on his cat named Bucket, asked: “Do you inconvenience yourself just to please a cat? ….Do you allow your legs to freeze and tingle because the cat on your lap does not feel like moving just now?”
Indulging cats in this way is not another sign of modern Americans’ excessive solicitude toward their pets, many of which are better fed than impoverished citizens in some African countries. Rather there is historical and religious precedent for being especially considerate of sleeping cats.
I’m thinking, of course, of a cat named Muezza that, according to Muslim lore, belonged to the Prophet Muhammed. Legend has it that one day when Muhammed heard the call to prayers, he went to put on his robe only to find Muezza asleep on a sleeve. Rather than disturb the cat, Muhammed cut off the sleeve and wore the mutilated garment to the mosque.
An India peacock walks next to Mitchell cabin.
As has been noted here previously, a lone peacock showed up on this hill several months ago and eventually began hanging out with a flock of wild turkeys. He can often be seen bringing up the rear as the flock hunts and pecks its way across the fields.
Occasionally, however, the peacock gets separated from the flock and begins its shrill cries as he searches for his companions.
A peacock by the chimney.
Last Wednesday Lynn repeatedly heard the peacock’s cries coming from somewhere near Mitchell cabin. We both went out on the deck and scanned the fields uphill and downhill but saw nothing.
Eventually we went indoors only to hear more of the peacock’s cries, which always sound a bit like anguished screams. So we went back outside, but again we couldn’t spot it. I was about to go indoors when I heard some scratching on the roof. I looked up, and there was the peacock looking down at me.
After a minute or two, the peacock flew awkwardly to the ground (they’re not good at flying), crossed a field, and departed with a stately strut down the driveway.
Another colorful visitor during the past fortnight was this tom turkey. The wild turkey could be heard gobbling after a disinterested hen he was pursuing. The gobbles were noisy, but they didn’t compare to the peacock’s screams.
This bobcat, like the peacock and turkey, is a regular visitor to Mitchell cabin. Unlike the birds, however, it seldom makes a noise. A couple of weeks ago, my neighbor Didi Thompson called to let me know the bobcat was in my field, and I was able to shoot this photo of it, as well as several others.
Shaili Zappa Monterroso arrives at Larkspur Landing after taking a Golden Gate Ferry from San Francisco.
One visitor last month who doesn’t drop by Mitchell cabin all that often was my youngest stepdaughter Shaili, a student at the University of Minnesota. Shaili grew up in Guatemala and lived at Mitchell cabin during the months I was married to her mother, Ana Carolina Monterroso.
Shaili turned 20 while she was visiting and is seen here celebrating with Lynn.
Although her first language is Spanish, Shaili speaks better English than some of my friends who grew up here.
Of recent, I’ve noticed people having trouble with homonyms, words that sound the same but are spelled differently and mean different things: sum and some, weight and wait, wear and ware, or there, their and they’re.
Homonyms are one reason why it’s better to get news from newspapers than from radio or television, for it is obviously easier to distinguish between written homonyms than spoken ones. This is particularly important when it comes to one’s “burro” or his “burrow.” A “burro” is an “ass.” A “burrow” is a “hole in the ground.” Listening to the radio, it’s sometimes hard to tell one from the other.