Let’s hope you do have another 20 years because I’m hoping I do, and I wouldn’t want to have them without someone like you around. And as active as you are, I cannot image you needing a walker. Tubes? I know nothing about tubes.

I guess we can agree to disagree on the squeekers.

It comes down to a bit of what you said, mankind destroying everything, which aligns with what the poet Robinson Jeffers was saying about us. We invaded the animals’ territory, not exactly understanding what we were doing but fully understanding why we were doing it.

They had no comprehension at all, merely suffered the consequences and continued trying to survive as best they could, adapting, which is what they continue to do. We continue hating and trying to kill them. They continue adapting and surviving as best they can, annoying us.

But it was us, knowing why we were doing it in the first place and doing it anyway, that caused this cycle. It’s the same between men and women, black and white, Brits and French, French and German, etc. And it never ends because it’s...people that are the central problem. Which is why Jeffers concluded the Earth would have been far better off without us around.

When I was a small boy my brother took me out to the woods to show me how to hunt and how to shoot a rifle. I was good enough to hit a target my first shot, but not good enough to kill it. It was a chipmunk. I had to watch it writhe and squirm with half its head blown away, something I had done with no purpose.

I had other, positive lessons along the way growing up in New York City. But mostly I’ve just learned to get along since then. I feed the squirrels, and that keeps them from gnawing too often on my wooden house. Just as I feed the woodpeckers to keep them from digging into it too often.

This is their home. Nature gave it to them. It isn’t my place to take it away. Nature didn’t give it to me. I stole it. I know that. I understand that. I wish I could give it back.

Possessor of Paul Newman eyes. Author of many things straightforward and strange. Some of them appear here. “Women zai shuo ba” as the Mandarin say. Born 2016.

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