Today’s post is an excerpt from our collection of poetry, Two by Two: Into the White. It is available for purchase for just 99 cents on Amazon!
rounded mountain back
dip of concave shoulder blades
swish, swish, flick
periscope tail never wags
soft paws, rough tongue
white chin, green eyes
eighteen claws, twenty-three whiskers
lick, lick, lick, never done
stripes and spots standing on end
crouched down low to the brown
brown carpet of earth
among the tall grass
of dining chair legs
The inspiration for this poem was Billy, the Most AMAZING Cat!. We’ve been family for nearly eight years now and I have spent a lot of time just observing his movements. That might sound creepy to some extroverts, but to introverts, observing is our number one hobby. The introduction to the “nature” section of Two by Two reads as follows:
dogs and deserts and domestic shorthairs
dancing on the mother earth
daring to do, to live, to be
while we admire and provide rationale
I think that really captures why we love animals so much. This poem is a vignette of Bill as he goes about his business. He doesn’t worry about how others perceive him. He doesn’t second guess himself. He just is.
A great lesson for us humans.
Even though I am a twenty-something, every once and awhile I like to pretend I am a kid again. One day, while channel surfing in the morning, I came across a PBS educational cartoon called Peg + Cat and was intrigued solely because it had cat in the name. I flipped it on and about ten seconds in Peg exclaimed, “the most AMAZING cat!!!” I, in turn, looked at my cat and exclaimed “the most AMAZING cat!!!” and snatched him up.
My cat’s name is Billy and to me, he is definitely the most AMAZING cat. He is a mackerel tabby, weighs about 14 pounds, and is going to turn 8 years old next month. Here he is!
Earlier this month we talked about Nana the Brave! and how we spotted her in the window at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona’s Shop at the mall. Well the same thing happened when I adopted Billy.
We were at a different mall and we walked by a sidewalk adoption setup by the Pima Animal Care Center. I spotted a wire kennel full of kittens. I scampered over and ducked my head down to inspect them. I had no intention of taking one home, but that all changed when I spotted this cute tabby boy with green eyes. My heart melted.
From that day forward, we have been inseparable. He follows me around the house like a shadow and has no problem demanding attention by standing in front of the computer screen.
I guess everyone thinks that their cat is the most AMAZING cat to them. I truly believe that mine is. Sometimes we forget to stop and appreciate our furry friends. Peg + Cat helped me to remember exactly how amazing Billy is.
The next animal in our Tucson Festival of Books roundup is Rue, a North American Porcupine, and a resident of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. Thank you to Robin Kropp, Education Specialist from the Museum, for taking the time to show us Rue!
Rue is around six years old and guess where she was found… Downtown Tucson, on a porch! Being a desert dweller for most of my life, that really surprised me. I never would have guessed porcupines lived in Tucson.
Rue weighs about 22 pounds. North American Porcupine’s can vary in size and color depending on where they live. You can see a map of the range of the North American Porcupine on National Museum of Natural History’s website.
In the southern United States, like in Tucson, these porcupines are smaller and of lighter color than those that live further north.
As soon as Rue stepped out of her kennel, I fell in love with her. I felt like the emoji with hearts in her eyes. You know, like this: ?.
Look at Rue’s precious face! Look at it!
Porcupines can live 15-18 years. In the wild, these tree-climbing rodents consume the sweet inner bark of trees, bugs, leaves and flowers. Porcupines can retreat up trees to escape predators or wedge themselves into a hole and use their quills as protection.
Rue’s quills are hollow and have small barbs on the end, which allow the quills to burrow deep into the predator’s flesh. A porcupine has about 30,000 quills all over her body except her face, belly and paws. They shed their quills like hair and regenerate more.
Porcupines usually give birth to one porcupette, but occasionally have two porcupettes. That’s really what they’re called!
The young are soft when they are born and then the quills harden a couple days after birth. Porcupines are very solitary animals and not very attentive to their young. These creatures do not have a good sense of sight however they have an excellent sense of smell.
I read a funny thing on Wikipedia about porcupines, but couldn’t find it’s original source. Usually that means I won’t quote it, but I think this is too funny to pass up.
“The porcupine is the only native North American mammal with antibiotics in its skin. Those antibiotics prevent infection when a porcupine falls out of a tree and is stuck with its own quills upon hitting the ground. Porcupines fall out of trees fairly often because they are highly tempted by the tender buds and twigs at the ends of the branches.”
Isn’t that adorable/cute/sad/adorable? Not sure if it’s true, but definitely adorable
What do you think of the beautiful Rue? Of porcupines in general?