Taken two minutes apart on Halloween of 2014, Ellie teaches Boo how to wait by the door so they can greet me when I come home from work (he was always eager to take her spot after she got up). Our first cat Templeton used to wait by the door for me, then Scout learned it from him, and Sam and Emma from Scout. But after Ellie arrived the cats learned to hold back a bit as her feet started dancing but she was looking at me and not at cats who might have wandered underfoot. Sam and Boo sometimes greet me at the door now but not with the consistency of the old days.
From 2007, new arrivals Sam and Emma play in the guest bedroom while in isolation from Scout. I spent most of their introductory period with Scout since we were so tightly bonded but I’d relieve my wife at times and keep the youngsters company.
The other sparrow I see in large numbers here are black-throats. While the source of their name is unmistakable, like the white-crowns they also have white racing stripes running across their heads, presumably to make them faster as they zoom-zoom across the desert.
We had a variety of sparrows on display in Oregon but during the winter at my favorite refuge the big flocks I’d see were golden-crowns. I have lost count of the many ways the desert has surprised me but one was that here too I’d see flocks of sparrows in the winter, only now it’s white-crowns and black-throats. I saw white-crowns in Oregon but not nearly in the numbers I see them here, it’s such a joy to stand still as the sun rises and watch a flock flit about me as they make their morning rounds.
Two white-crowned sparrows greet the rising sun on a winter’s morning on the Marcus Landslide Trail. The young one in front has the striped crown of the adult behind but not the bold black-and-white coloring, that comes later.
It is not necessarily a death sentence when an old giant loses an arm, they seal off the wound as best they can to prevent water loss and go on to live their best lives. While a new arm will not grow where the old one once stood, sometimes the saguaro will slowly push out a phoebe in its stead.
When I get home from work Sam starts giving me the business if I don’t settle down on the couch quickly enough for his liking, as he is waiting to jump into my lap and start purring to beat the band. There are lap cats, and there is Samwise.