Right now, the only thing in the pockets of my shorts are my keys and my Chapstick. I generally feel pretty safe if I know where my keys, wallet, phone, and Chapstick are. I just finished teaching an intro to creative writing course, where my primary focus was on the details. Most intro writers want to embellish their life's story with elevated diction and a wild abundance of adjectives and adverbs. This is predictable, and fine. So I set out to have them think only about small, concrete and/or sensory details. It sort of worked. Or, it worked for me. I've been thinking about smaller and smaller details in my own writing. 

I've also been volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation center. We take in just about anything except birds of prey (there's a different place where those go), bats, and skunks (both carry dangerous diseases). I've been trained to feed/care for squirrels and all kinds of birds. Each shift I work, I gain a huge amount of information. And each time I feed a tiny thing, I notice all the small details. If you reach your arm into the cage of barn swallows, they'll line up on your arm; they'll line up on anything. 

I'm not (yet) allowed to feed the corvids, because they're so smart. If a person makes eye-contact with them, they'll remember the eyes and try to find that person once they're let free. I'm not kidding. My general advice is, never do anything to piss off a crow. They will tell their friends about you, and you will have problems. The only way for a farmer to get rid of crows is to get a dead crow and put it out on their land. The crows will come and have a funeral, and then avoid that area because it's obviously dangerous. They will spread the message far and wide. Because of this, if farmers come across a dead crow, they pass it around. 

Generally, robins are the only polite baby birds: they wait their turn to be fed and seem to appreciate it. The rest are just nonstop, "GIVE ME FOOD!" When they get older, and are off the formula, they get a varied diet, but they all looooove meal worms. 

I'm (hopefully) teaching creative writing again this fall (if it fills). I so wish that I could just have my students work at the rehab center and write about it. Caring for any tiny thing gives a whole new perspective on how things work: what matters, etc. I appreciate that there are so many people who are dedicated to giving these little lives a second chance. Animals usually end up at the center because of some human-related mishap. I'm glad we get a chance to redeem ourselves in the larger cycle of things.