Monday, February 27, 2012

The day after

The day after the snowstorm the world is brilliant. Yesterday the gray sky sent fat snow flakes in a steady shower to fill up the spaces in the forest, great sheets of white blew past our windows to coat tree trunks and heap upon outstretched branches.

Today the woods glow with the first whispers of morning light. It awakens twilit blue before blushing to soft peach and creamy yellow. By the time the sun settles into its arc across the cloudless sky, skimming the treetops, the forest seems to produce its own light, highlighting every twig, every needle. Even the shadows are lit a soft blue. And the dogs are in heaven.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rumble in the kitchen

Noticing his prey is distracted by something shiny, the jungle cat makes his move...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


The moon, hanging around into the cool blue light of early morning, blushes a deepening peachy yellow, caught out by the sun. From my bedroom window I watch as it slides silently towards the mountains glowing with a warmth that betrays its character. Just hours before the moon splashed cold, silver light into this room from a black sky and cast hard shadows across the floor.

It sinks quickly against the lightening sky and I watch as the mountain swallows it inch by inch until it is a sliver of orange light, and then it’s gone.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cleo plugs in

“If they made an all-cat version of Star Wars, Cleo would be Jabba the Hutt,” Morgan said one day as we eyed Cleo’s spreading girth just about spilling over the sides of a kitchen chair.

“She does look extra fat when she lies like that,” I said, trying not to sound too insulted on her behalf. “When she’s walking around though she’s…” What? Stout? Plump? Rotund? “Round,” I finally say. “She’s definitely fat but she’s not THAT fat.”

Morgan just looked at me.

“Poor Cleo,” I said and bent down to plant a kiss on the top of her head, which at that moment did look particularly small. “Cleo’s far too pretty to be Jabba the Hutt.”

If Cleo was to be anything other than what she is, I always imagine her as a great opera singer. She bustles on stage, lost in character; the world melted away and yet every eye and ear keenly tuned just to her. Or, perhaps she would be a ballet dancer, with her dainty little feet tip-toeing gracefully across the stage, kind of like the hippos from Fantasia.

But lately Cleo seems to be having her own identity crisis without me piling on. “What’s up with you?” I ask her as she awkwardly attempts to settle herself onto my lap, tucking in her roundness about her pointy little feet and staring with her bright green eyes directly into mine.

Cleo is not a lap cat, nor is she particularly social, but over the last month she has become curiously engaged in our lives, storming across the kitchen floor every morning with urgent meows, leaping onto my lap, purring her quiet whispering purr, torn between settling down and butting my chin with her head, desperate for affection.

This is not like her. Cleo is the least social of our animals, keeping us all at arms length as if she were a scientist observing the life of a “typical” family of humans and dogs, oh yeah, and that shameless brother of hers who will sit on anything that remotely resembles a lap and purr at the drop of a hat.

Cleo used to spend entire days in the crawl space beneath our house. We could go a week without really seeing her. There would be sightings, mostly by the food dish, but we at least knew she had not escaped into the woods to feast on songbirds or be eaten by an eagle.

Her sudden involvement in anything other than what’s going on inside her own head loosely corresponds with our first real cold snap of the season. As temperatures plummeted to –37 C overnight, encouraging the ice on the inside of our windows to creep higher up the glass in great frosty u’s, Cleo seemed to become a lot more friendly, seeking out blanket-clad laps and actually staying a while.

But I don’t know if the temperature really has anything to do with it. It has since warmed up again and she continues to demand lap-time. Plus, we’ve been through deep cold before and Cleo carried on her merry way, vaguely aware of our lives whirling around her, occasionally tuning in with a startled expression on her face as if to say, “Oh, you’re all still here. Wait. Who are you again?”

Whatever it is, this new social behaviour, it’s suspicious.

She must be up to something.