Start the Day

There is something orange in the long green grass. She stands at the kitchen window, barefoot, still nightgown clad, looking into the backyard at the long stretch of overgrown garden that they’re going to turn back into lawn. The grass there is now almost a foot high, tall enough to sway and ripple in the breeze. The coffee pot gurgles and sputters beside her and outside the orange thing leaps.

Well, it really was no springing bound and barely fox-like. The second attempt at a hurdle ends in an ungraceful galumph. But kudos for getting out there and trying to act like a normal cat, she thinks. It can’t be easy.

She has noticed him before in her yard just passing through, looking like a short and rotund fuzzy orange blimp. The fattest cat she has ever seen. This jumping thing is new. There must be lots of creepy crawlies in the long grass that need pouncing upon and he’s giving it his best shot. Surging vault number three. But this one appears to have done him in. He sits and nonchalantly gazes off somewhere in the distance to give the bugs the impression that he no longer cares.

She pours her coffee and leans on the counter cradling the hot mug in both hands, takes that first invigorating sip. Watches the cat pause, consider; perhaps in this ones case, catch his breath.

Suddenly a magpie flaps his way overhead and lands with a squawk on the flat board on the top of the fence. He turns around, stomping his little bird feet, and then he gawks down at crouching orange thing in the grass. Cocks his head. Waits for what will happen next.

The wait is not long. There is no spring left in the cat’s repertoire this fine morning. Perhaps he has had previous altercations with magpies and does not fancy another one at the moment. Or maybe someone just called him home for breakfast. Either of these reasons, or some other mysterious cat notion, gets him up and off and running. Okay, more like lumbering, but moving away from the bird at a pace that’s faster than his normal calm meandering.

The magpie squawks some more. Where are you going? What kind of cat runs away from a bird? Hey! I’m talking to you! And then he takes to the air and is off in search of better less lame adventures.

All is quiet in the garden plot. She was going to get out there this morning and weed whack that long grass to start the process of getting it ready for sod. Maybe today, maybe not. There’s no hurry, really. She tops up her coffee cup and turns away from the window.

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