Submitted by Don Doman.
I stepped outside to pick up the morning papers. It was gray and cool. No cooing doves welcomed me, no bunny sitting in the grass and watching for movement down the hill. Perhaps, everyone was sleeping in this morning. There weren’t even tiny ants crawling on the steps . . . of course I had sprayed the day before, but still it seemed that only I was up and awake. Oh, but no, as I began writing I saw from my office window a gray squirrel running on the telephone wires and leaping with faith to a birch tree branch below.
Just a few days before I had walked out from my house and was greeted with cooing from trees across the street to the west. To my left there was cooing from trees to the east almost as a reply. Our resident rabbit sat by our Jennifer Weddermann sculpture. An hour later when I came back out to water my wife’s plants, I turned to see the bunny again, but it had been replaced by a Northern Flicker in the same spot. Later in the day we had a small flock of Northern Flickers in the back yard, hammering into the baked earth and finding insects. I love the Pacific Northwest and especially Pierce County. I love the trees, plants, and wildlife.
Over the weekend my two younger sisters joined me for a family yard sale. We didn’t sell a lot, but we did talk. There’s a big age difference between us. I was born in Missouri before my parents moved to Tacoma. Fifteen years later Marsha was born, followed about three years later by Deedee. They grew up in Ponders Corner where my parents owned a motel. As we chatted and laughed we stopped and watched two eagles riding circular drafts almost directly overhead. While I’ve seen eagles fly near our house, it had been a while. After a few minutes the eagles moved further south. Our conversation turned to animals.
When Deedee first arrived on Saturday, a buck stopped by. He was down the driveway across from my office. I told her to take him an apple. She came back later with a big smile on her face. She got to about five or six feet away and then rolled the apple to him. Wild animals are unpredictable, but so interesting. When I give them apples I make sure none get behind me. The antlers and hooves can do a person harm. I wasn’t too worried about Deedee. She used to run a pony ring for my cousin Bobby. Shetland ponies are mean!!!! Deedee could handle them. Sometimes my daughter Andrea would help her. Andrea could herd her two younger brothers so I was never too worried about her, either.
My sisters had stories of their girlhood about skunks at the motel. One had to be chased off the play ground and the other was a surprise. From their house they could see people looking towards the office. A car would pull up, look and then back away. They finally looked out to see a skunk just sitting on the steps outside the office. Ponders corner is bordered on the southside by I-5, so unless skunks were really good at dodging bumpers or knew to use the overpass, they probably didn’t come from that direction. East and west were primarily highway and commercial establishments, which only left north. Directly north of Ponders is Nyanza Park, which is a well treed development close to Gravelly Lake and the Tacoma Country and Golf Club. I doubt skunks could afford a home at the country club, so my guess is they populated themselves in Nyanza. As I child, I did release a hamster into the wild, but he probably died of loneliness.
Here in Madrona Deer Park (just above Point Ruston), we’ve seen skunks, possums, raccoons, rabbits, crows, deer and the occasional coyote. We talked about the animals at the yard sale between customers, many of whom brought their dogs with them. Marsha’s husband, Keith loaded and unloaded and did a few handyman tasks for people on both days. My wife Peg served ice cold water, talked with visiting neighbors and then took a nap.
While Peg slept she missed friend Denny Flannigan, who had heard about the yard sale from pal Dick Dorsett. Dick had stopped by Saturday with his wife Liz and two visiting bicyclists from the U.K. I told Dick to help himself to the DVDs. He could have taken all of them. I think he chose six. One of the UK bikers bought a collectible Texaco tanker from (still in an un-opened box from twenty years ago) from Deedee.
Denny joined us and our table under a umbrella. It was a gorgeous sunny day. Denny remarked about the Power Paddle to Puyallup canoe event by our Native American friends. The News Tribune reported “As the welcoming ceremony began Saturday, a bald eagle flew overhead.” I wonder if the eagles started their flight over our place before swinging downtown and the Puyallup River? Denny and I shared a number of lies and then he was off to his sister-in-law’s home, where he had left his wife.
When we called the yard sale done in the later afternoon we began clean up in the heat of the day. I checked messages on my computer and headed for the shower and then to bed for a nap. As I closed my eyes I could still see the eagles floating in the air . . . their feathers moving ever so lightly as they adjusted their flight pattern. I love the Pacific Northwest.