Archive for the ‘Total Mysteries’ Category


“Keetkeetkeet! Keetkeetkeet!” Every year around this time the bird would return to my bedroom window and start knocking. “Keetkeetkeet!” his little beak would tap against the glass.

I’d look at him and he’d look at me, staring deeply into my barely-awake blue eyes with his beady black insinuating eyes, turning his brown head with scarlet beak from one side to the other, surveying the scene as I drowsily awoke. If I turned away to burrow into the covers, “Keetkeetkeet!” he’d start again.

Stray cats are my specialty. And when we lived out in the countryside on a lot of acres with a lot of hay and big pond, stray dogs. Stray birds. I never knew they existed.

This guy was not a housebird, not an escapee from some dreadful tiny cage with a bar to sit on and a bit of salt cud to chew, imprisoned within wrought metal walls with a piece of removable paper to poop on. He was a real bird, a free-winged bird who lived by his wits and his instinct. And his instinct, just like the instinct that had led many a stray cat or dog straight to my door without bothering to stop elsewhere, had led him to my window.

But as I looked into his beady little eyes, I knew something about him. First, I knew he was a he and not a she. That was the simple part. The rest of it came upon me in a flash – as if he had sent it from the center of his bird-brain directly into my eyes for clear and unyielding comprehension. He was not just a bird, a mere bird. He was a guy, a human guy – who had somehow gotten trapped in the bird’s body. It was also clear to me that he was a Jewish guy from New York. Brooklyn, to be exact.

Would I have known if he was Catholic, or Southern Baptist, or Hindu? Yes, of course. This is not about religion. It was just who he was.

“Keetkeetkeet!” his beak hit the window.

I fed him breadcrumbs that day, tossing them onto the ground straight from the fresh bag of bread, feeling them soft and dense between my fingers as I crumbled them. I was freezing, standing there in socks no shoes with a coat hastily tossed over my nightclothes. Running back inside to my window, I watched as he ate them – then was surprised to see him fly quickly in a little darting motion, back up to the window to look in for a minute. “Thank you, that was good!” His head angled right then left, as he offered a polite little smile.

It was clearly my duty to feed the guy some decent food, so I went to the market and bought some birdseed and suet – along with a birdfeeder to hang from the tree that was growing so close that it seemed to embrace my window. Once in a while as he dined he would look in at me, but it was only on those days when the seed had been all eaten up, the feeder empty – that he would fly back up on the outside windowsill and knock. “Keetkeetkeet! Keetkeetkeet! Hey!” he’d say. “This thing is empty! What’s the deal here?!” and naturally I would fall sleepily out of bed and out into the chill early morning air to give him breakfast. I had no choice, really. He would just keep knocking at the window till I answered his demands.

When we moved out of that house, I wondered what would happen to him. But he was a pretty savvy guy, having escaped the noise and smells and down-drafts of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to carve out the life of a free-winged bird who could knock on the bedroom window of a house just as if it were a take-out food place and actually get fed a decent dinner. I don’t think I need to worry.

Sometimes I think about him, and wonder how and why he became a man inside a bird’s body, and whether he would like to be a human again.

I believe he’s quite happy as he is.

Read Full Post »

To be a locavore, it’s possible that I might be able to give up tomatoes out of season.

Bananas, yes. Of course.

And really who seriously cares about kiwis?

But bubblegum is another matter. I do not believe that ‘gum base’ grows in my area.

If it did, I could be locavore. I could make my own bubble gum.

Then I could get a bumper sticker and put it on my car so everyone would know.

I’d tool around here and there in my car while blowing bubbles, placing my earnest gaze with a gentle hint of ever-so-slight underlying contempt upon those who know no better. But not too much. Gas miles to food consumption and foodie show-off factor – there is an algebraic formula that must be followed, of course.

Those glorious huge perfect pink bubbles would be emerging from my lips, as I turned my head right and left (and once in a while backwards as much as possible) so that all could see the gently glowing orbs the color of ballet slippers that would add just the right touch of glamour to my personal aura.

Pop! One would shatter, and quickly I’d have to be sure there was no elephantine flap of flattened pink gum hanging over sideways onto my chin. Then right on to the next bubble!

It’s but a dream, though. I haven’t made my own bubblegum yet.

But will it come out as good as DoubleBubble? As good as Bazooka? Where will my little comics come from that fit inside the wrap? These are small questions, really – in the face of my own potential artisan bubble gum, my own possible locavorism that will ring with absolutist purity in the Face of the Industrial Machine.

Pardon me. I must go think, and think deeply. And I will, right after I shove several of these shiny new bubble gum pieces into my mouth and have a popping spree.


Image Source: foto_decadent/Tim Walker/UK Vogue December 2008/Tales of the Unexpected/The Marvellous Mischievious Magical World of Roald Dahl

Read Full Post »

On Christmas Eve, all animals can speak.

I know this because in my great desire to maintain cultural literacy, I’ve come across an animated tale of Beatrix Potter’s book ‘A Tailor of Gloucester‘.

When the children were smaller, we watched this video each year on Christmas Eve Day. Then we’d go out to toss our reindeer food in the front yard hoping they’d stop for a bite and enjoy our gourmet offering of raw oatmeal, seeds, and glitter the best of all – and maybe let out some exclamations we’d hear through our sleep like “Wow! Dude! Mark this house on your list of Places to Leave a Couple of Extra Presents At!”

I’m hoping that Pavlova, our cat, will tell us sometime tonight where it was she went to – and what happened during those months of her disappearance.

Meanwhile, we have some clues. My daughter found a photo of Pavlova in a Russian fashion magazine.

Could our Pavlova have wanted to take up the career of an international spy? Or alternately that of a supermodel?

And if so, how did she make it to Russia and back, ending up in the now-cold and barren hayfields of Appalachia still safe and sound?

We know for a fact that it is Pavlova in the photo. We recognize her.

Mysteries abound.

If you have not yet discovered that animals can speak on Christmas Eve – and would like to learn all about this, here is the tale of The Tailor of Gloucester on YouTube. This is Part One. The other parts can be found on YouTube by the mere click of a finger.

This segment is memorable for the beautiful rendition by carolers who come to the door (of the house where Beatrix Potter is starting to write her tale) of ‘The Sussex Carol”.

Christmas is simply not the same without it.

Happy Christmas Eve!

(Image Source ‘Dazed and Confused’: The Fashion Spot )

(Another mystery to solve: Why do they make the word ‘Gloucester’ impossible to ever spell right – time after time after time?!)

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

I just got back from a drive which started three hours ago. And I have a gift, an unexpected one.

I have our cat.

Our cat disappeared four months ago.

We’ve had her for seven years. But when we moved to this new house in August, she got out too quickly – and must have become lost, unable to find her way home.

We walked all around the neighborhood, calling her name. We put up posters. I searched the ads for ‘found cats’ and even called a few. But no luck. She had disappeared – it seemed for good.

I told myself and the children that she must have gone across the street to where the fields roll on for several miles, verdant with hay, trees in the distance, cows grazing here and there. She was always a good hunter, I said. She just wanted to move out to the real countryside.

We still missed her.

But Christmas is coming, and it was time to get a cat in the house. I don’t really believe in homes without cats. I’ve had them, but there is an aura missing from the moment one walks in the door.

We looked at the cats for adoption at the pet store, on ‘petfinder.com’, in the posters tacked up at the market. None of them seemed exactly right. But this weekend I’d decided we were going to get a cat (or two) and I called the shelter to find out if they were open tonight. Yes, she said, they were open. We could come down and fill out an application.

Adopting a cat has become a bureaucratic business. You have to have references and prove that you have a proper home for the cat. You must wait until you are ‘approved’ by the ‘agency’. Then you can dole out the close to one hundred dollars per cat that it takes to adopt and take your cat home.

I was getting rather tired of this whole thing. I remembered when we first brought Pavlova home, from the local vet where we lived out in the countryside. Cats and kittens were valuable and beloved things in this rural area, but they were readily available without too much fuss, to anyone who was ready to care for them. But those times were gone, and town living demanded the paperwork and the proofs.

But I’d go pick up the kids from school, I said to myself, and off we’d go to the shelter to do it.

For some reason, just before walking out the door, I clicked onto Craigslist/Pets. I’ve never done that before. Scanning down, I saw a few for adoption. I was hurried, it was time to go – I was already almost running late. I was just about to click off the site when I saw it:

Black female adult cat, six toes on each front paw, found in area, for adoption.

The note had been posted three weeks ago. Could it be Pavlova?????
I called the phone number, and was astonished when someone actually picked up the phone.

To make a long story short, our cat is home.
How she got to be an hour-plus drive out into the countryside, over hills and dales and one-lane covered bridges in a small two-room ramshackle propane-heated house on a dirt road where two lively young white-tailed deer stared at the car as we drove by staring at their beauty, to stay with a kind woman who fed her along with her own two cats till this rather miraculous day twelve days before Christmas, on the exact day I was setting out to gather one or two other cats into our own home – is a mystery.

Pavlova can sing. She purrs and mews and will not eat her supper unless I sit with her to keep her company. But she can not talk, to tell us what happened.

But Pavlova is home.

Pavlova, is home!

Read Full Post »