Monday, April 20, 2020

“My Crickets: A Little Decameron #25”

In yesterday's The New York Times Magazine, author Helen Macdonald wrote about the new craze on Facebook and Instagram for pictures of animals, often wandering through locations such as Venice, Oxford, and German cities where they previously have not been observed (some of these testaments being quite false).
     She pondered why these pictures had become so popular, suggesting both a moral vision (nature was during our lockup getting the opportunity to redeem itself) and others of sentimentality (humans return to nature in times of crisis).
     Of course, nature has always been with us all along, sometimes, during our busy lives, intruding—coyotes can surely kill young pet dogs and cats, bears lumbering into backyards are a threat to human life, and former LACMA curator Maurice Tuchman's former wife, simply while gardening, was bitten by baby rattlesnakes and had to be rushed to Cedars Sinai Hospital in order to save her life—or simply ignored.
     But it's also quite apparent to me, we, locked up in our rooms, have become the zoo animals we often talk about, the crazy polar bears who endlessly circle about their spaces, the lions who roar every time they witness a human face.
     That is why I chose only to talk about, in Howard's and my quite limited space, animals who turned out to visit us. In a sense, my little diary is like a locked-up tiger's claw of our natural history.
     The stories I tell are not about lewd human behavior as much as they are about how natural beings enter into our lives to remind us of the lewd beings we really are.
      Having eaten delicious boiled shrimps and obscenely bad frozen potato wedges last night (my garbage reveals we ate all the shrimp and few of the potatoes), I fed our still active cricket smashed bananas and water. Even Howard, for the very first time commented, in the middle of the night, how our cricket (although he's not truly "ours") was busy with his legs.
      In a few moments our mourning doves will sing out to us again. Yes, just as I write, there they are at 5:48 in the morning.
      I wish we'd be visited again by hummingbirds, but they like flowers, and mostly we have only green plants. When all of this is over I intend to go to a plant nursery and buy several pots of flowers just to lure them into our patio.
      At 6:20 not a human being in sight (not even at 8:00, when I am editing this), no lights on except ours. Another sleeping-in Monday. I'm happy to still remember what day of the week it is!
      Terrible news: now 40,683 US citizens dead, and probably far more without testing.

Los Angeles, April 20, 2020
Reprinted from Facebook (April 2020).

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