Wild Kingdom

September 16th, 2013

Once a week or so, I’ll pull up my Instagram profile and look at the grid of my most recent snapshots, just to see where my focus has been.  Sometimes it’s all over the place. Other times, like this week, there’s a clear theme. I’ve obviously been living in a wild kingdom.


Grasshoppers have invaded our house. I spotted this one on the floor near my desk last week, and relocated him outdoors. A few hours later, one of the boys pointed out two more hiding between the crown molding and the ceiling. Yesterday, I was standing in the kitchen, when one just fell out of nowhere onto my chest. Anybody know many locusts constitute an official plague? 

The Little Rock Zoo outreach team visited our cub scout pack last week, and brought Wiley, the screech owl. I could not stop taking pictures of him. This is my favorite. Patrick has the exact same expression whenever I tell him we’re invited out to do something with people he doesn’t know.


On Friday, we were invited to dinner at the home of people we know and love, and were introduced to  their dogs for the first time. This is their Borzoi hound puppy, Gwyn.  We met when Gwyn accidentally got inside and sprang across the room to give me surprise hugs from behind. It was like being mugged by muppet. Definitely the most exciting moment of my weekend.


This is Gwyn’s older, plumper sister, Betty. Isn’t she a peach? My next dog is going to be a ladylike lap dog with ribbons on her ears.

This is our lap pet, Lucy. Not so ladylike.


On Saturday, I bought the Littlest Who a fish tank that we found at a yard sale. At five dollars, it seemed like a bargain. MANY MORE DOLLARS LATER, we have a new pet to inhabit it. When will I ever learn?


His name is King, and he better live long and prosper. So far, he seems to be thriving. We are all quite smitten with him. 

Later that day, we took Rosco for a long walk through a wooded park.


We’ve been walking through these woods since it was just me and Patrick and our first dog.


When the babies came, I would walk them in backpacks and slings. When they were toddlers, I’d hold their hands and hoist them on my back or hip when their little legs got tired. When they were little boys, I’d keep step with them, ready to catch them from tumbling over roots and stones.


 Now they are always ahead of me on the path, the distance between us lengthening with every season, as they move closer to the vanishing point on my horizon.

Like this elusive creature



We brought that first dog home the week after we were married. I suppose I thought it was a qualifying step toward parenting, little understanding that keeping pets and raising kids have opposite objects. We bring animals into our homes and hearts with a contract to protect them from the wild world outside, and the prayer to outlive them. We raise our children to release them to the world someday. To see them disappear into the vanishing point ahead, before we turn off the path.


4 Responses to “Wild Kingdom”

  1. marilee pittman says:

    beautiful photos and story.

  2. Cid says:

    What a wonderful post, a round up of all the funny things that inhabit our lives. We, too have an infestation, but it is from the crickets that escape from our leopard gecko’s tank. In the dead of winter I find myself listening to the sound of chirping from the vents and it reminds me of summer. As for the elusive teenager, the first heart a boy breaks may well be his mother’s. We have only heard from our Alpen-bound son twice since he left Labour Day weekend … heavy sigh.

  3. Lee Cockrum says:

    Love that last photo!!

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