One of my only regrets is that I haven’t been able to travel more. The circumstances of my life have required me to stay for years at a time without leaving the southwest desert. I did manage to get to Great Britain and vicinity a few years ago, and I’ve gone to the Midwest too many times to attend one funeral or the other. But traveling for the pure love of it hasn’t been in the cards for me.

I mentioned all of this to David, as we sat in our chairs on our back porch, preparing to watch the evening floor show of birds going to bed and lizards heading towards home. We started talking about all of the animals we have seen from the vantage point of the east end of the porch, which required us walking less than 25 feet to enjoy.

Some visitors have been particularly memorable, like the juvenile hawk who came regularly for a few days while he was learning the ropes of being a raptor. We also hauled a coatimundi from the pool, who ran up a nearby eucalyptus tree and sulked. Bats have come and gone, including a fascinating one with a long snout just like a hummingbird. The bird parade is nightly, and is usually led by quail, myriad doves, hummingbirds, and cactus wrens. We have had a coyote or two, and some other serious wildlife.

However, the most startling visitors we had — the ones that actually startled me — were the feral mother cat and her tiny little kittens. They stayed for a day or so under our oleander bushes. I first became aware of them when I was working in the yard, and one of the kittens — about a third of the size of my fist — exploded out of the bush at my head, its claws extended and its tiny little hiss torqued up to rattlesnake volume. I literally rolled backwards out of the way of something that probably could be mailed for less than 50 cents.

He was all black, and his tongue was red. I didn’t have time to see whether or not he had teeth, but I am sure his eyes hadn’t been open for very many days. I went into the house and let the mother cat and her kittens have as much privacy as they wanted. To reduce the amount of hunting they would do during their visit, I did put water and food out where they could reach it conveniently.

I would still like to get out of town this summer. In the meantime, I’ll be on the porch.