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Another Day in the Country

Gratitude for small things

© Another Day in the Country

A rumbling purr reverberating in the darkened room announces her presence.

It’s the cat.

That purr is so loud that sometimes I think she’s right there in the bedroom with me, and instead it’s a train idling on the tracks at the edge of town.

It’s only a matter of time until I can feel her alight somewhere on the bed. Knowing this is off limits, she’s very careful as she moves, testing each footfall so that she carefully lands on the other side of any outstretched limbs lying askew. She moves with stealth, sometimes with a paw hovering over a potential landing spot that needs to be adjusted. It’s as if she’s jumping rocks in a fast moving stream and doesn’t want to get wet.

Her human companion has never been one to sleep with pets. Skeeter knows this. But according to her feline clock, it’s time for me to get up and at it, even though it may be dark outside, whether it is daylight savings time or not.

It is only a matter of time until she gets brushed off onto the floor.

“Don’t make me talk out loud, Skeeter,” I think to myself, prematurely pulled up from oblivious sleep. Perhaps if I can ignore her, she’ll tire of this waking game and go somewhere else. There are plenty of favorite nooks, spots she has claimed as her own, in this big house where we cohabitate.

I manage an incoherent plea in my sleep-boggled head — “So stay out of the bedroom” — and pull the covers higher. “Just a little more time in this cozy, drowsy place before the light breaks through.”

But she is restless for food, for solace, for entertainment, for conversation, for company. Her night started at a much earlier hour. She doesn’t read books.

There’s a brief respite as my body waits expectantly, in spite of itself, for her to land yet again on this forbidden plateau of down. Is she here? Or not?

I’m awake in spite of myself. This has become a test of wills.

She doesn’t make a sound, but moves with concentrated stealth, choosing a new corner to make her entrance. Yes, there it is, that purr — but is it really her, or is it the ceiling fan?

I will not give her the pleasure of opening my eyes. I can feel her Sphinx eyes looking at me, even though I’m burrowed deep, and deeper still, under the duvet.

This is a losing battle. I know who wins this waiting game.

If one hand comes out from under the covers, her cold nose is there to greet it into wakefulness. If one warm nose comes up for air, her whiskers will twitch and tickle it ecstatically. If just one foot dangles over the edge of the bed, she rubs and pushes and pretends to herself that she is being petted and loved.

Is this love? Or is this just a game, some test of wills and wit, some familiar pattern played out between the two of us sharing space?

Soon, too soon, the day will start and she will tell me of her wishes more explicitly.

Food! She wants food. Not that kind, this kind that’s kept in the refrigerator. Then she wants out the door; not that door that leads to the porch, this door that leads outside. She signals with her tail, the tilt of her head, trotting on ahead.

At the doorway, she warns me of intruders, mostly of the feline variety. I can tell what’s lurking by the set of her ears.

I wonder, can she read my body language in the same way?

For this small blessing, which sometimes vexes me, sometimes soothes with her familiarity, I give thanks; but most of all, now that the day has officially begun, I’ll relish another day in the country.

Last modified Nov. 23, 2017

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