photo of the week

A Meal, a Toy, or Merely a Curio?

Critters large and small, as snuggly as a baby or as wild as the devil, do their part to help us keep our sanity.  They also remind us of sane boundaries.  There is benefit in periodic consideration of the values they provide.  This big boy has probably gone to tiger heaven.  As best I remember, I shot the tiger on film more than 20 years old at the Little Rock Zoo.  As he looked at me, I recall wondering if it was as a meal, a play toy, or mere cat curiosity.  He made me think about spiritual stuff.

the Critters around Us

Sunday, November 10, 2013
Pine Buff, Arkansas

Thank goodness for the critters who add to our lives that which can come from no other source.  Though the domesticated critters are closest to us, the wild ones provide succor for the troubled soul as well.  Though few will admit it, most of us at one time or another fall in the “troubled soul” genre whether we want it or not.  It’s part of being a human being on this imperfect planet with its imperfect societal and personal collection of morasses.  It’s also why the Almighty sent us these vessels of relief.


Cleo with the Long Name

When you wake up in the morning and look a 110-pound Rottweiler square in the eyes, and she seems to be saying “Oh goody-goody-goody, you woke up, just what I’ve been waiting for, can we go outside pretty-please?” it is hard to feel ill at the world.  She exacerbates any misguided guilt by adding some serious nub wagging.  Meet Celopatra Shamika Beatrice Glover-Dempsey, AKA “Cleo.”

oak squirrel

Denizen of the Oak

Our yard has a lot of board-feet of mature oak, most of which are homes to Fox and Gray squirrel communities.  They seem to get along just fine (there’s a lesson there).  My wife is their benefactor as she keeps a smorgasbord available for them most of the time.  As a reward, they provide entertainment for us.  On the flip side, they provide a sense of frustration for our cats, whose attempts to catch them have been a 100 per cent failure.  I suspect if one of these domestic cats caught a live squirrel, they would learn a lesson of avoidance in the future.


Kodakamus Orlando Junior the Third AKA Kodak

Our critters continue to warm us with their memories.  This is the late Kodakamus Orlando Glover-Dempsey, Junior, the Third, AKA “Kodak.”  Kodak tolerated most people, but for me, he was a loyal and attentive companion.
I composed a song to call him as he matured from kitten to his full 13-and-a-half-pound cat mass.  When I pulled the truck in the driveway, rolled the window down, and sang the Kodak song, most of the time a yellow tabby streak zipped to the carport to welcome me back to our mutual lair.  One of his greatest pleasures was curling up close by as I read my books.
Last year, Kodak began to show the inevitable signs of the clock catching up with him.  And then one day, he was down to the last of his nine lives, and went somewhere and spent it.  It is not sad, it is reality — and a lot of good memories of time well spent.

Critter therapy is good for the soul.  If they are close by, take a look.  If they are at your feet, give ‘em a scratch and say thank you.  If you have neither, seek out an animal encounter.  In the words of Henny Youngman, “it can’t hoit.”

Photo Notes

Tiger, Nikon F2, Tamron 300mm f2.8 D, Fujichrome Provia; exposure long since forgotten; Cleo, Nikon P7000, ISO 200, AF VR –1/9th @ f3.5, Squirrel, Nikon D7100, ISO 400, same lens, 1/100 @ f5.6; Kodak, Nikon 300, ISO 2500, same lens, 1/250 @ f8. All post processed with Photoshop® CC.


see more
See more critters
including Cleo and Kodak,
at Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.
Be advised:
the critter considerations continue!

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