For the past several years I have taught an environmental education class for which I collect nature items once a week. Unbeknownst to Pettigrew, he provides deep cover for my early morning forays.
As a woman walking her dog, I attract little attention. And, although I don’t miss the early morning hours, when Pettigrew insisted on walking at 6 am I was emboldened by the darkness, which masked my nefarious deeds.
Although I try to confine my collections to those items I find in public parks and on the strip of land between the sidewalk and street, sometimes there is an enticing bloom, or leaf, or piece of bark, in someone’s front yard. If my desired object is dangling onto or over the sidewalk, I feel little compunction about it plucking it. However, I have been known to reach over the line and grab my goody. Maybe even take a few steps on to private property or break off a branch if necessary.
When I’m on a collecting walk, I carry extra bags. The objects of nature go in one bag and I clean up after Pettigrew with another. To the casual observer, it’s hard to tell that I am transporting purloined goods. This works to my advantage.
This week my class was discussing squirrels and I needed acorns. I wanted acorns with caps and those without. Green acorns. Brown acorns. Acorns that were part green, part brown. Big and small. I wanted a variety to reflect the variety of oak trees.
Pettigrew grew impatient with my constant stopping. But what could he do? I stop when he wants to check out an enticing smell. He couldn’t very well rush me as I scooped acorns into my bag!