Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, March 19, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 11

Mountain View News Saturday, March 19, 2022 



Meet CRICKET, age 5. 


This friendly and affectionate 
little girl is purr

[Nyerges is an educator and author of many books, such as “Squatter in Los Angeles,” 

fect! She's not only beau-

from which this column is derived. Information about his books and classes can be 

tiful, being a shiny, satiny, 

found at] 

soft furred feline, she's also 
alert, very smart, and loves 

During a year and a half period, beginning in 1977, I lived as a squatter in 

to play! Cricket has a sleek 

a small cinder block house, whose ownership was being held up in probate 

athletic body, like a mini-

court. It was on a large plot of land, and because it was at the end of a 

panther! She would love to have a fun kitty companion, as she gets along very well with 

dead-end street, neighbors were barely aware that the place was there. 

other cats, too. We can suggest one, or maybe you already have a friendly resident cat. 
Cricket will make someone a wonderful, playful com-panion. As do all of our cats, Cricket 

I wrote about that period of my life in my book, “Squatter in Los Angeles: Life on the Edge,” 

will come spayed, healthy, current on vaccines, and microchipped. We have a March Mad-

which can be obtained from Amazon as a Kindle book, or ordered as a hard copy book. 

ness discount of $25 off the adoption fee plus receive one of our popular fresh catnip socks. 
Find the adoption application on our website where you'll also find more adorable pix of 

During that period of my life, I derived great pleasure from experimenting and learning all 


the ways I could provide for my daily needs, and even my wants, using things that I made, 
grew, found on the property, or obtained from discards. I had two “roommates,” and though 
our lives intersected, I was free to try things and experiment and live a very simple life. 

Pet of the Week 

Simple, but not easy, and basic, but not without its challenges.

 Three-year-old Blaze is a high-energy dog who loves peopleand being active! His hobbies include playing fetch with a 

I read Thoreau’s Walden Pond for the first time during this period, and found my state of 

ball and watching television. Blaze can be strong on a leash, 

mind frequently resonating with the basics themes in the book. Remember, Thoreau wasn’t 

so he needs someone who can continue teaching him his 

a bum, or a drop-out, or an alcoholic. Actually, for that matter, he was no squatter either, for 

leash manners – and match his playful, energetic personality. 

the land where he was given permission to do his “experiment” was owned by fellow writer 

Blaze would do best as the only pet in the home so he can 

and friend Ralph Waldo Emerson. Thoreau built for himself a little house (a “shack” by most 

give you all his love! 

accounts), and did a lot of his writing there. He stayed there by himself, probably realizing 
even back then that many commercial interests in our society vie for our time and money, 

 The adoption fee for dogs is $150. All dog adoptions include 

finding ever-more clever ways to convince us that we need objects which previous millennia 

spay or neuter, microchip, and age-appropriate vaccines. 

of humans survived without. 

 New adopters will receive a complimentary health-andwellness 
exam from VCA Animal Hospitals, as well as a 

It would be accurate to say that Thoreau – like me – was profoundly interested in the very 

goody bag filled with information about how to care for your 

meaning of life and wanted to discover the point of all the rushing about to get somewhere. 


Unable to discover these answers in his town, Thoreau built and moved into his little shack 

 View photos of adoptable pets and schedule an adoption 

in the woods and learned how to grow the food that he ate, and found it nourishing and sat-

appointment at Adoptions are by 

isfying. He also ate purslane, an import from the old world, which even then was common 

appointment only, and new adoption appointments are 

throughout the eastern United States in tilled soil. He wrote “I learned that a man may use 

available every Sunday and Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. 

as simple a diet as the animals, and yet retain health and strength. I have made a satisfactory 
dinner off a dish of purslane which I gathered and boiled. Yet men have come to such a pass 

 Pets may not be available for adoption and cannot be held for potential adopters by phone 

that they frequently starve, not from want of necessities, but for want of luxuries.” Indians 

calls or email. 

and trappers would visit and talk, and somehow through this unprejudiced intercourse, he 
found that all people were more alike than different, and a life lived for purely material reasons 
is a life wasted. 

I found myself in a similar setting, though it wasn’t in the woods but a ruralish part of Los 
Angeles. There was purslane and chickweed growing right outside my door. I had no pond 
nearby, but I did manage to get over the Arroyo Seco which was as close to my personal 
Walden Pond as I felt I would get. 

At night, thinking over the day’s classes and studies, typing up my notes and insights, I often 
ruminated over how life should be lived, and wondered why we take up so much time and 
waste so much of life on trivial pursuits. I felt that it was important to live simply, to grow 
food, to discover nature’s secrets, and to find answers through thinking and through research. 
I wondered why others did not think like me. And with the purslane growing right 
in my yard, I could eat it for lunch in my salad and fancy myself some sort of urban Thoreau 
as I thought over these ideas. 

I did learn some years later when Thoreau was mentioned by the academics he was regarded 
as a brilliant intellectual who discovered the simple reality that was right in front of everyone. 
Be here now. Imagine. The kingdom is within. Which is why I naturally assumed that 
his own peers would have regarded him as a saint and savior. Wrong! I have actually spoken 
to descendants of Thoreau’s peers and they said that in the day, Thoreau was by no means 
universally respected. Rather, many regarded him as a bum, an outsider, someone who had 
rejected society to hang out with the Indians in the woods. I was starting to see that there 
were more parallels with me and Thoreau than were originally apparent. 

So I did my best – though not always successfully – to not be seen as a freeloading bum who 
chose not to work and who just sat around listening to the birds and who saw secret messages 
in the clouds. 




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