Before moving to Borrego Springs, California, Callie had free rein of the outside world. I was always vigilant about keeping her in at night but allowed her to explore her surroundings during the daytime. She usually stayed close to home and preferred to have me around so that the local tom cats left her alone. In the desert, it is not safe even in broad daylight, because of all the predators around that would love to have cat on the menu. We have a beautiful silver kit fox that hunts right outside of the backyard and coyotes, rattlesnakes, scorpions and even owls and hawks are abundant here. The coyote population is steady and you can hear them yipping and howling most nights. Michael and I see them during the day when we are on a hike or biking and even though they are shy, they wouldn’t hesitate to snatch Callie if they could. Because Callie loves dogs and when I watch her response to midnight coyote serenades, she has no fear of coyotes. She would probably let a coyote come up to her to touch noses and that is my worst nightmare. So, Callie cannot be left unattended in the backyard, and I have had to teach her to stay and not go over the wall. She is tempted and when we first moved here, she on several occasion, went butterfly chasing out into the desert. She knows that it is wrong now, but because of a cat’s nature, I don’t trust her in the least. So, in order to keep her safe and happy, and to feel some freedom off the leash and harness, most mornings we have a routine of climbing the olive trees. There are three trees in the backyard that she loves to climb. She usually flattens herself on the ground for a minute or two before dashing up the nearest tree and running as high as the branch will allow. She loves climbing trees and she is good at it. She will follow me from tree to tree and does her personal best at getting to the top of the tree before climbing back down and starting all over again. The sun is just starting to rise in the east and the light reflects off the foothills in the desert behind the house. It is a beautiful time of day and Callie and I both look forward to it. I can have a cup of coffee and watch her play in the trees and she can work off some pent up energy. Of course, there are hummingbirds that flit in and out of the foliage and she tries to catch them. It is fun for both of us. When she is finished with playing she is brought back into the house and served a nice breakfast. She has adapted to this routine and seems quite content as long as I find other activities later in the day to entertain her. It has been over a year now living in the desert, and except for the inferno during July and August, Borrego Springs has been a wonderful place to live and retire in… I think that Callie would agree with me. Extending an olive tree branch has kept the peace, and best of all, Callie is safe and sound.