There is a menagerie in my front yard. It is mostly comprised of various birds, a pair of Cardinals, a pair of Robins, the occasional Blue Jay, and an assortment of Finches. The squirrels have made a nest out of cardboard and cellophane tape in the Crepe Myrtle next to the feeders. One feeder holds small seeds that are gravity fed into a small tray around the bottom. The other feeder is a square shelf that holds corn, peanuts, and sunflower seeds for the squirrels and larger birds.

Our front yard faces northwest so we have plenty of shade in the afternoon. It makes bird watching a calming and relaxing endeavor. Our cat likes to sit on the table in front of the window and watch the animals frolic. We tell people he has pet squirrels that he keeps in the front yard. He is not amused. But he is entertained.

Every time we open the front door, our youngest Maltipoo decides she wants to explore. The front yard, however, doesn’t have a fence like the back yard does. We live at the end of a cul-de-sac so there is not a lot of traffic, just enough to worry us greatly when she runs blithely into the road.

In general, I don’t believe in punishing animals. In this case, I have to make an exception. The dog thought we were playing with her. I had to sternly scold her and pat her on the butt to let her know that this was not a game but a serious situation. She started behaving immediately.

I am getting a feel for how it might be if I were to retire. It might be slightly different after we get the current pandemic under control but I have the impression that we are going to be wearing masks in public and social distancing for quite some time. But then being a writer doesn’t necessarily call for doing much more than sitting in front of a keyboard and putting one word after another.

The anxiety in the air is tangible when we venture out for necessities. Here in the Deep South we have our share of ignorant people that refuse to wear face masks. The rest of us scurry around trying to stay as far away from them as possible. I’ve noticed that the discount stores, where the poorer people tend to shop, seem to have a larger percentage of their customers that don’t wear masks. For that matter the cashiers aren’t even wearing masks. It is enough to make you totally rethink how necessary that bargain bird seed was after all.

When we get home and refill the feeders, it is immediately clear that bird seed was a necessity. We just don’t need to shop at the discount store for it. There are plenty of shops that observe prudent health protocols.

On the one hand, I understand that I am lucky to have a job that allows me to work from home. But that doesn’t mean that I can ignore safe health practices when I do go out. Both me and my wife are sixty five and we both have extenuating medical circumstances. We need to be particularly careful not to come down with COVID-19.

Be safe, wash your hands, and appreciate the little things.