A new bird has taken up residence in our yard, and he has troubling tendencies. I’d seen evidence for several weeks – plenty of evidence – but caught him in the act just yesterday. A towhee perched on the passenger side mirror of my car, pecking like crazy, pooping up a storm.

Pepper and I were sitting on the front porch, reading and/or relaxing, when I noticed that the bird had alighted on the mirror.

I stood up and slowly approached my car – and him.

The towhee continued pecking at the image of himself until he caught sight of me. We exchanged glances. “You are a silly bird,” I told him, gently. “Go defend your nest. Find some dinner. Enjoy the green of the world in summer. Or even just take a nap! Really you’re wasting your time with that towhee in the mirror. You’re upsetting yourself.”

He didn’t respond and in fact seemed to think I was a bit off. He looked at me like I was a crazy woman talking to a bird. He flew away, and I returned to the porch.

“What a foolish towhee!” I said to Pepper as I sat back down with my book (The Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner, an excellent read).

Pep was lazing in the shade of the porch, drowsy, happy. She’d already caught the frisbee many times that day and – very proudly – had treed a squirrel.

“You can’t blame him,” she said. “He sees what he thinks is an enemy. He’s trying to scare the enemy away. He’s maybe a little afraid himself.”

“But can’t he see that he’s really just attacking himself? What a waste of time! To peck at yourself. For things you are, and are not. For things you say wrong. For things you could have said righter. For things done – and not done. You should allow yourself one clear-eyed look – decide how you will be better – then move on. There’s no need for pecking, pecking, pecking.”

Pep had fully woken up at this point. She came over to the chair I was sitting in, licked my hand, licked my calf, licked my toes where they were poking out of my sandals.

“It’s important not to peck,” she said softly.

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Pep at rest after successfully terrorizing squirrel


Unselfconscious roses in the yard

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For more stories about Pepper, see Pepper and The Very Rainy Day or Pepper and The Gorgeous Dog or others under the heading “Pepper and Poems” at the top of the page.

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It’s interesting that the phrase “Happy Memorial Day” has started to feel not quite right for many. I get it. See short article at Quora here. All warmest wishes to Bacon friends today, in the spirit of what we all share and what we all have to be grateful for – and to mourn.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

From ABC News:

“Poppy flowers will add a huge flash of color to the National Mall this Memorial Day weekend.

A pop-up installation of 645,000 red flowers, encased in a translucent structure, was installed Thursday night and will adorn the southwestern side of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

The “Poppy Memorial” by the United Services Automobile Association and the National Parks Service is on display near the Lincoln, Korean War and World War II memorials to honor men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military since World War I.

Each poppy flower symbolizes a life of a fallen service member and their sacrifice.”

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