Lewis Shiner, squirrels, owls

Today’s post is part of an email (used with permission) that Lew sent to me in response to my recent book. Lew is an old and cherished friend as well as being a great, great writer. His most recent novel, Dark Tangos, deals with Argentina and some of its more terrible histories. He writes:

We have squirrels on our back deck whom we feed (we buy dried corn on the cob and put it on little squirrel feeders–okay, we haven’t done it in a while, but we have done it and will again), and who share the bird seed we put out. One day I was standing in the kitchen, watching a squirrel sitting on the deck railing, when an owl swooped down and took him. I was maybe ten feet away. I could see the squirrel’s face as the owl flapped upward, still alive, her talons buried deep in his neck, the awful resignation.

How do I reconcile my love of owls with my love of squirrels? How do I reconcile the love I feel for the generations of doves we have watched hatch and grow up and fly away on our front porch (we have two nests in the eaves that are regularly used–there are two week-old babies out there right now) with the knowledge that our cats, whom we love, would torture and kill those babies without hesitation if they could get their claws on them?

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