As I said in a previous post, I wouldn’t try to compare myself to the late Bernard Baruch in any other way, but he was known for conducting business from a park bench, and I’ve found that to be a really good way to do that.
My bench -- I’ve come to think of it as my “writing bench” -- is in a park-like area of the senior community I live in. It has figured in another post or two on this blog. I keep coming back to it not so much to look at the scene, although that’s really soothing, but to listen to the quiet. Most days the breeze is off the ocean and there’s no sound; you don’t hear anything. True, airliners go over periodically at a few hundred feet on the flight path to the airport eight miles to the west, but that’s less an annoyance than a reassuring reminder that you’re still part of the world outside your little community. You don’t want to become completely disconnected from the world, wars, and famines.
There are squirrels that live here with us, and I used to feed them at this bench (the final piece of the picture of the Senior Citizen) but since coyotes discovered easy pickings on the campus I can’t do that any more. It’s considered fattening the squirrels for the coyotes, who became amazingly bold at one point, inviting an eradication program to be put in place. Now if a squirrel looks like it’s coming toward the bench I get up and leave. One day I had to watch as one actually hopped on to the bench to see if I’d left anything for him, and of course I hadn’t. I’ve stopped carrying peanuts.
Between stiffing the squirrels and knowing the coyotes are being euthanized it’s a bad time for an animal lover here. Last hope is the rabbits, whose babies start to appear about this time of the year. They’re prey animals, of course, but they’ll have to carry the ball; the rest of us are sidelined.