Things you see in the backyard

» The squirrel darts from branch to branch to trunk to branch again barely able to evade the snapping beaks of the two robins in pursuit. Their wings flap against leaves as the squirrel’s claws scratch on bark. They shriek wordless obscenities at each other—the robins out of righteous anger, the squirrel out of indignant terror. Dark feathers and fur circle the maple in a fury of chaos.

» The cat stands almost nose-to-nose with the groundhog in the doorway of the potting shed. The groundhog fidgets back and forth, visibly annoyed by its visitor. The groundhog has things to do today. The groundhog doesn’t have time to make chit-chat with the neighbours.

The cat bristles with youthful enthusiasm, determined to make friends and catch a peek at what the groundhog has been up to in that potting shed. The groundhog gruffly snorts, the cat perks up its ears. With a huff of dismissal, the groundhog turns on its heels and shuffles back into the shadows. Its going to get back to work. The cat is not welcome.

The cat takes a tentative step into the shed.

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