—From EF—

I have one more day to work on kitten-proofing the house. This, in the midst of finishing a collaborative edit of our upcoming novel with the publisher’s very good notes, fighting an unfinished battle with our very healthy weeds, and re-rehearsing King Lear for the Sebastopol run that commences June 15. You’d think that after performing the bugger for more than two years we wouldn’t have to do any prep work, but you’d be wrong. We have a short piece we first performed in 1974 and have done literally thousands of times, but if we had to do it tomorrow, we’ll still have to run lines. Such is life in the fast lane.

I’m really looking forward to the kittens, but I’m not entirely sure what constitutes kitten-proofing. Could they really jump way up THERE? Could they get stuck behind THAT? Could they rip our novel to shreds? How long will it take them to not freak at being in a strange place?

I remember back in 1968 when we’d moved to Columbia, South Carolina, for two years of teaching at USC. We’d rented a big cheap house and had no furniture at all yet, so when we brought kittens home, their howling had a fabulous echo-chamber. They survived, and so did we. I look forward to the first cuddle, the first purr. At least they won’t tweet at 3 AM. Could we get 45 a scratching post?

—From CB—

I was set to write a mordant piece about the violence that splatters us daily. We all want to climb the hill and add our howl to the chorus, though the choir of grief has held the same high discord for millennia. But today I lacked the breath for it.

Instead, as we took our Sunday picnic on the Arched Rock cliff above the ocean, a question occurred to me. If shipwrecked sailors can’t subsist on salt water, how do sea creatures do it? Do fish, gulls, dolphins drink bottled water? Do they have portable desalination organs? Do they just harden and sink?

Clearly they don’t seem to have a problem, and I could probably search out the answer via Google much faster and more accurately than I could apply Aristotelian logic to it. But it’s nice to know, first, that there’s a question you don’t really need to answer. Second, that no animal will be harmed in solving this conundrum. Third, that my mind can get lost, at least for a moment, in the mystery of things. There’s a still, small part of me that remains a clueless child.

So while I welcome revelation, and while I’m mildly disheartened that having a Ph.D. doesn’t put the answer at my fingertips or insert it into my cerebellum, I’m immensely grateful for the luxury of pondering the irrelevant. I know that out there the blood splatters, but at least for today I don’t have to bleach it out of my shirt.


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