Monday, January 24, 2011
Outside it is still. Nothing seems to move in the muffled white world except for a few flakes sifting down from the sky. Through the window I watch mini avalanches of snow tumble from the tops of trees and shatter into a million tiny shards like the spray of a great wave crashing over branches so heavily laden they are transformed into white drooping blobs of undefined shape.
On the stove the kettle begins its rush to boil and brings the white noise of a cascading waterfall into the kitchen. Cleo stomps by, stiff-legged and full of purpose as Chestnut watches from the stairs. His amber eyes track Cleo across the room as he sinks into a crouch.
There’s the pick of claws in carpet as Chestnut launches himself off the second step, then a whump and a surprised hiss as he lands on top of Cleo. They tumble across the floor in a jumbled ball of flailing limbs and whipping tails, bony elbows and knees clonk loudly against the wooden floor.
Tufts of creamy white hair flurry around them as though a feather pillow has burst a seam. So much fur settles to the floor in their wake I am surprised later when I don’t find any bald spots on their bodies.
They roll to a stop and leap apart then stand still for a moment poised on their haunches. Each holds a front paw at the ready, ears pinned back, eyes slits, tails swishing. With a jerky fluidity, they begin to circle each other.
“Get him Cleo,” I say. I usually cheer for Cleo, ever since the time Chestnut bit her ear too hard and left a tiny notch along its papery thin edge.