Installation Shot

About this Conversation

Little Cayman, poem by James Stone Goodman

Kim's blog on Neve Shalom

Joan Lipkin

Kim Mosley

Joan feeding baby Mr. Crisp cheese popcorn (mouseover)

Little Cayman, British West Indies
Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dear Kim:

Little Cayman is home to a bird species with the funny name, Red-footed Booby.

It is said that as much as fifty per cent of the world’s birds stop off here on their migration from north to south every year.

I am not a birder—one of those people who delights in spotting birds they have not yet seen—especially if they are rare, and cataloguing them in a journal.

I like to see all kinds of birds, virtually any kind of bird, whether common or rare. I could care less about the names of things. This got me into some trouble in science class. But we are not talking about science here. Or are we?


I know there is a value to naming. But my joy comes from sitting quietly so a bird sees I mean them no harm. I like to slowly throw bits of fruit to see how close they can eventually feel comfortable coming to me.

Junior, one of the waiters, knew I was interested in eating fresh coconut so when he found one on the ground, he split it open and brought it to our table. My sister was a little grossed out that I chewed some of the coconut to throw little bits of it to the birds.

Maybe it was a bit gross to a bystander. It didn’t even occur to me. Do you think that makes me strange?

(Kim: A little.)

Laurel can have her wild side but says she draws the line at regurgitation. She is almost always more appropriate than I am. In all things. And when I see animals, especially birds. . . ? Well, let's just say that most of my socially sanctioned behavior goes out the window. I want to sing and talk with them. My palm fairly itches to make contact.

One of my happiest memories was feeding my cockatiel, Mr. Crisp, from my mouth when she was a baby to establish trust. Toast, cheese popcorn, chocolate ice cream. Those were our favorite foods. Ironically, I eat little of that today.

I wonder if Crisp misses those things. If eating them at such a young age ingrained them on her baby bird palette.

Although I didn’t agree with Laurel, I am often willing to submit to the protocol of polite society, especially if it concerns her.

(Kim: Laurel appears that she doesn't want to be noticed, while you are a socially conscious performance artist using many public occasions as an opportunity to change the world (I hope you don't read that as judgmental).)

I apologized and resumed feeding the birds. This time, with bits of melon from my plate. It was breakfast time and it didn’t seem right to be the only one eating.

I gave the iguanas bits of egg.

I don’t know the depth of pleasure that Laurel experiences from scuba diving. It is hard for me to imagine much that is more pleasurable than having breakfast with her, birds and iguanas in the shadow of a palm tree, each chewing in our own fashion, each doing the thing necessary for all forms of life: eating.

(Kim: It forever amazes me how different we all are. And tied to that, we are not very accepting of our differences. We have different views on everything, from what constitutes a clean sink to whether a war intent on freeing people from a mean dictator is justified.)