The Occasional No

A close-up view of the head of a female northern flicker with her mouth open, taken in our backyard in Portland, Oregon

Last fall I experimented with taking pictures out of my office window of the birds that visit the backyard, such as this female flicker at the suet feeder. At first I tried shooting through the glass but the pictures were far too soft, so I opened the window just enough for the big telephoto to fit through.

The smells and sounds of the outdoors brought the cats over to investigate, one by one, but I shooed them away so I wouldn’t have to worry about them jumping through the opening to freedom, sweet freedom. Scout grunted when I pushed her back, looking puzzled. We were so rarely at cross purposes that she had to be sure I hadn’t mistaken her for one of the other cats. She tried for the window again and I gently pushed her back, then again, and again, before she finally wheeled about and walked out of the room with her tail raised high.

She asked for so little, but what she wanted, she wanted. Usually what she wanted I was happy to give her, but even I sometimes had to tell my beloved Scout, “no”.

As soon as I closed the window and returned to the couch, having forgiven my insolence, she jumped onto my chest and purred.

She was the best.

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