Saturday, February 23, 2019

saturday with a small s

At around midnight, I made my way to the bathroom to do the usual presleep stuff. I looked out the window at a beautiful night. I kept the lights off so that I could take in the singular light of a heavenly wintry tableau. And that's when I saw Whiskers. He was walking slowly from the garage. He paused by the picnic table, hopped up and sat there, perhaps looking at me. We watched each other for a long time. Eventually he got down, walked back to the garage, but just for a minute. He left along his usual path -- toward the writers shed.

I had opened the window to listen. Everything was so very quiet. Were the other cats ignoring him?

I don't think so. As I write this (Saturday evening), I'm throwing facts together to create some kind of plausible story out of them and the best I can do is to conclude that the three cats were, by then, already gone.

The night was a grab bag of winter noises, of the kind you don't necessarily want to hear: ice pellets hitting our roof and our sky light, winds gusting, branches crackling. By morning, we crossed the magic line and the ice pellets turned to something that was exactly halfway between rain and ice.

I'm up early. I want to take food to the garage to reassure the kitties that despite the weather, they'll be fed.

Stepping out, I am immediately discouraged. The ice build up on the walkway is tremendous. I take out the heavy duty shovel and work away at clearing it. It's hopeless, really. The farmette is coated with ice.

farmette life-8.jpg

Still, I create a walkable path. I put the shovel down and head to the garage, loaded with food.

Well, you'll probably have guessed that I found nothing there. Only empty spaces and a few overturned containers.

Who did that? More importantly, who scared the kitties? Or did they just go off? And the disturbance that I see has nothing to do with their departure?

Every new day brings new information and it never fits with what I had learned the day before.

I leave food in the garage for the little guys and Stop Sign. Ed leaves food for Whiskers by the writers shed. We retreat inside. It's really nasty out there. Yes, ice can be photographically pretty, but today, it's it's just mean out there!

And this is when I decide to do my taxes. Misery outside -- meet misery inside.

But first -- breakfast. This is perhaps the highlight of the day for us.

farmette life-15.jpg

I spend the rest of the day's hours filling in numbers and correcting mistakes on a new set of IRS forms. Things are different this year and that's a headache. New boxes, new supplemental forms, new scroll down options -- it's all really messy. Just know this: if you live in this country and if you usually spend two hours filling out your annual returns (because you know, like me, you have a very modest and simple economic situation), plan on four hours this year. Me, I took seven, because I made a mistake and struggled to then find it. Without Ed's help it would have taken me eight.

Every hour, I open the door to the porch and shout Stop Sign's name. Nothing. A pretty winter scene, but no sign of cats.

farmette life-18.jpg

By evening, I am done with the taxes and the rain and ice have let up. And this is when I see Whiskers doing his rounds -- from writers shed to garage and back again. (He does not touch the food in the garage. He has his own dish and he sticks with clearing that one.)

What's the significance of this?

Once again I have no explanations. I don't know what chased them off or when they will come back.

One last poke out into the cold, wet night, one last call to Stop Sign. (Could I be more dramatic?)

Sigh... It's just cats. Sweet little ones and their mom. And a cold, wet night. And a newly forming layer of ice and complicated tax forms that took way too much time.

Never mind. Ed pops some corn and we settle in to watch a really terrible movie (that I first saw when I was just a tad older than Snowdrop). Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain, though your dreams be tossed and blown... Why does even a tragic Rogers and Hammerstein song remind me of cats?

I think February does loopy things to your sensibilities, really I do.