When I used to look out at the Corniche from our apartment in Beirut in the 1980s, I’d see a lot of guns, partly because a makeshift military post had sprung up
one night in the field in front of us, and partly because there was a war. People still found away to walk the Corniche for a breath of fresh air from curfews, and a few, a very few, stray dogs milled about too. The military post is now permanent and people still walk on the Corniche for fresh air, but the guns have diminished greatly and there are no stray dogs about. Both the guns and the dogs have been replaced by cats—so many cats that their different shades form the mosaics for the beach rocks, almost like beach blankets made of cats. Sometimes they work as optical illusions, too, as they spring in and out of the rocks, where they camoflauge as good as, if not better than, khaki. I’m not a huge fan of feral cats, but, as long as they don’t want to bite you, they are a lot more amusing than guns.