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February 4, 2011
Ben is so -- what's the word?   Present.  Ben is so present.   I arise in the night and quietly  the bedroom door. I hear a quack from the other side -- he has been waiting for me.  They all have.  Last night they struck pay dirt: Q was up briefly before I was, and I didn't know it. So each of us gave them a layer of dry food in response to the annoying chorus of their voices swearing that they hadn't been fed.  Then one of them celebrated the success of this ruse by throwing up on the oriental rug outside the door, right where we couldn't help but step in it. 

Not that I'm complaining.  After all, isn't this why we have oriental rugs, for cats to throw up on?   Their design is so busy, you can't really tell who did what, where --  this line of reasoning is known as the Stockholm Syndrome. Hostages come to adopt the views and goals of their captors.  I didn't always have it.

It is cold outside and all of them are indoors with us.  The other three seasons of the year are different: naps in a patch on sunlight in the garden, a snooze in a shady place in the summer heat, a quick turn around the perimeter to see what's new and to chase away foreign cats.  But in winter, they have cabin fever, and they show it in just the way children do   -- in petty turf wars over who gets to be in the kitchen, in lots of hissing and growling, even the occasional out-and-out physical skirmish, dramatic and noisy.  It doesn't last, but it lets off some steam.  Sometimes I make them all go out on the porch for a little while -- you really can herd cats, if you know what you're doing.  

The weather this winter has been a bit harsh for this part of the country, and February always feels long, though it is the shortest month.  But consider this:  even now,  the days are lengthening.  Even now, the buried shoots of plants lie suspended in their preparation for the signal they await: More light!  It is time!  Head toward the light!  Even now, their tiny hearts foretell the green leaves, waiting to pierce the surface and unfurl, offering their green faces to the life-giving sun.

All the snow is water.  So is all the ice. We've had a goodly amount. The flowers will be wonderful this year.

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