Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Cat No One Wants

Part of the view outside the kitchen window is the roof of the garage next door. A mulberry tree leans leans over its black tarred surface.

By late spring the roof is covered with fresh mulberries. All summer doves and squirrels visit to feed on the dried mulberries. First come the birds, then the squirrels. They chase each other back and forth for berries. Some days the roof is covered with doves. The supply seems endless.

I also see outside on occasion an old tom of a cat, with a dirty white coat, ears torn from fights, tail bobbed. He goes anywhere. No one seems to like him. "Shoo, shoo shoo," I hear from one backyard to the next.

Recently he's taken to visiting our backyard. I hear him screech at the cat from downstairs, and I catch our neighbor shouting, "Get out!"

So now he just visits from the top of the walls that enclose the yard. There are so many vines that cover the wall that he can rest all day in the shade of their leaves. And it's just a small leap to the roof. To the next backyard.

One morning more recently, I heard feathers ruffling outside. Whomph! I glanced outside. A dove hung in the dirty cat's mouth.

I miss the morning chatterings I used to hear. The roof is empty now.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Door, A Gun and a Store For Rent

I never saw the gun until I stepped back, unique among Blissville's grafitti.

The AK-47 was developed in 1947 by Mikhail Kalishnikov, in Russia. It's 60 years old but remains the world's most popular assault weapon because, I am told, it's easy to use and never malfunctions.

Two crossed AK-47s lie in the center of Mozambique's flag. Other AK-47s have found their way into the coat of arms of Zimbabwe, East Timor, the flag of Hezbollah, and the logo of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

But how did this one find its way into sleepy Blissville?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Summer's End

Once grandmothers sat on the bench and watched over the little girls entrusted to them, all summer long.

Christina, one of those girls, back when she was ten, told me that she was never going to leave Blissville. She pointed to the brown shingled house in front of the bench and said that was where her great grandmother had been born, where she, Christina, lived now, where her whole family lived. Christina said she planned to to marry and return to live there, for the rest of her life. This house, this neighborhood, they were the world she knew and loved.

No one sits on the bench any more, either to rest or watch over little ones. Too many houses have air-conditioning. And Christina, now with two daughters of her own, has moved. As have her mother and her grandmother, another part of Blissville's history gone elsewhere.

But the bench is not entirely unoccupied. Tucked inside the London plane tree that serves as its back was a flowering of coprinus micaceus, inky caps. Edible, but not recommended.

Monday, August 27, 2007

An Apology

To my loyal readers: I have been away for reasons too trite to list. I apologize for my absence. And I thank you for your thoughts and comments, your support and participation over the year. I am back again, and I hope you will return, too.

In Blissville, others promise more than they can meet, too. This garage is no different than the others on the main boulevard, Van Dam Street. It opens at 8 and closes at 6. The sign, which has hung for at least ten years, is just a remnant of one of its owner's hopes.