The Nature Report: Whose cat is this?

Courtesy of Nicholas Tillinghast

The flowers are finally starting to peek out. The bulbs I planted around campus six months ago (as seen in Nature Report #5) are finally blooming. On a more solemn note, the mulch is still growing by the day and shows no signs of stopping. But hey, at least we got a cool new bench out of it.  

Along with my flower finds this week, I ran into some otherkingdomly organisms that required the council of fun fungi guy Miles Harris ’25. Now, my instincts told me that this fungus I had found had to be the mushroom known as “chicken-of-the-woods” because of its orange color and my propensity towards satisfyingly named things. But, Miles informed me I had documented slimy little fungus instead. He also complimented my additional pic of some shelf mushrooms. 

Courtesy of Nicholas Tillinghast

I am still a bit cloudy on whether I consider the weather part of my nature-ly duties, but I thought, just for this past weekend, I’d make a column within the column, the title being “The Nature Report: The Weather Report.” Friday night’s epic downpour brought the worms out en masse. Of course, the day after, the robins and house sparrows were out there like it was Golden Corral.

Courtesy of Nicholas Tillinghast

 I suppose if I’m writing about the weather, I might as well predict it, too. Friday, April 15, will be a semi-clear day with a 10 percent chance of seeing an elephant-shaped cloud. Saturday will be a calm 60-degree day with a high of 96. It’ll just kind of spike out of nowhere at 3:20 p.m. and then immediately cool down. You could say predictions fall into horoscope territory, but they’re just so darn fun to write.  

Something about ushering alone at the music hall at night makes for weird animal encounters. I begrudgingly let in a latecomer and immediately after, a raccoon-like fellow sauntered in front of the doors. It scurried out in front of me and immediately down the side staircase but not before I captured some cryptid-level photos and confirmed that it was, in fact, a cat. It was the middle of a concert, hence, most of my official duties as an usher no longer mattered, so I decided to venture out and pursue it.

I had some concern that if I left the music hall, the front door would lock and I wouldn’t be able to get back in, so I utilized the ol’ “shoe in the door” technique in which I wedge an unoccupied shoe in a door. If you think about it, most objects are not the right size or sturdiness to properly hold a door, but an empty shoe almost seems to be engineered to keep a door partially open. Now, I don’t typically carry a spare shoe on me, so the shoe I utilized for the ol’ shoe in the door technique was the one I was wearing.

Despite kicking with my left foot, the decision came down to my personal favorite foot, (the right one) and so I protected it accordingly and put my left shoe in the door. Walking across pavement in a sock isn’t necessarily the best feeling, but I’ve seen people travel around campus with far less footwear. I hobbled over to the stairwell, but the cat had disappeared.

I was particularly excited about this cat encounter because back on my home turf, it’s not unlikely to see a free-range cat or two. I’ve befriended quite a few strays over the years, such as the gray cat Boyd and a sandy one Tre’davious. Now, I’m not quite sure what to name this fellow yet, but if I see them again, I might settle on one. Latissimus has a nice ring to it. 

 

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