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June 2, 2007
The black cat looks down at the white dog from the safety of her person's arms, and curls her tail protectively beneath her body, just in case the dog gets any ideas about pulling it. Juneau is a still a puppy, and can sometimes lack impulse control.

Doggies don''t eat croissants, I say to the fluffy white beggar who has accosted me in my hosts' kitchen.

This one does, she says with her brown eyes.

She's lying, of course: Juneau doesn't eat croissants. She eats Max Mini Chunks, a dry food that's very good for her and which she truly enjoys. Juneau is an American Eskimo, a smaller version of a sled dog -- hence the name.

Sometimes doggies get little treats, you know, she says.

This is not one of those times, I say firmly.

We have encountered a lovely couple of dogs on this trip south -- the very sweetest of all black cocker spaniels at the Burnhams' yesterday, and this white puffball today. We did not leave a dog at home, but seeing these animals make me miss our cats, even What's-Her-Name, who is probably stealing our car while we're away.

Guess who I saw today when I was over checking on the garden, my daughter said on the phone.


A hummingbird! It was green with a red band in front. I didn't even realize it was a bird at first.

All first human sightings of hummingbirds begin that way. Green with a red band -- that would be W.C. Fields. Ethel Merman hasn't returned from her sabbatical yet -- or, if she is, she's keeping a low profile while W.C.'s around. Ethel doesn't think much of men, and she and W.C. seems to have some unfortunate history between them.

I filled Corinna in on a few quick hummingbird facts: that they use their long bills as a conduit for their even longer tongues, to go down deep into whatever the nector source is. That the girl Ruby Throated doesn't have the red throat, but that they're all called Ruby Throated anyway. Talking about them makes me miss them, even though I saw some flourescent goldfinches at the Burnhams' feeder that made my heart sing.

We'll be home tonight. The birds will be there, and the cats, and all the plants we have missed for a solid week. The poppies will be out, and more roses. Much will have changed. I can almost taste it.
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