Cat Tails, Seven in a Row
by Ric McDermott
(goose poop farm)
Hellen Keller (blind in one eye)
This morning was one more of those frigid cold mornings that we have had all this week. The cold is draining not only for the animals but for me as well. The morning routine is pretty much a set of motions performed to get the task done. Hauling water ranks at the top of the dread list. More times than not sloshing water from the bucket ends up running into the top of my boot and soaking the felt liner which is supposed to keep my feet warm and me happy.
My usual morning routine starts with looking out the patio door to a gaggle of cats all intertwined in front of the door capturing heat from the loose fitting door. (note to myself; do a better job of weatherstripping next fall.)
This morning was different - no cats to greet the start of the work day. I step outside bundled up and glance up to the weather gauge to see how cold it is. Minus 25 degrees. Ok, it's cold, the barn is warm, and the cats slept in like I should have.
The cats get fed first. It took awhile to figure this out. The reason is, if I wait, once the coop door is opened the sassy chickens round the corner and head for the barn to finish off the cat food.
Standing on the deck, giving myself a moment to reflect on this particular morning with no cats weaving in and out between my legs, I notice Frigid cold has a sound all its own! Walking, I hear the deck creak with a higher pitch, the noise Very Cold makes on the paths of packed snow. And the added bonus of frigid cold, the way you can stand on top of snow without collapsing down.
The sun is rising over the alfalfa field, now a blanket of perfect white with a kaleidoscope of deer paths meeting up with my own manmade spider web of paths. This morning I notice refraction of light; it's breathtaking! My moment of solitude is nearing its end, I am getting cold, and work hasn't even started yet.
I forget my feeling of being cold when I look towards the barn, and I chuckle finding humor in the everyday. The walking paths are deep, shaped like a wagon wheel leading to all the work activities on the farm. First I notice one black tip above the path, then another until I see seven tail tips in a row heading to the deck. Watching it is funny. The cats reach a low area along the path, and all I see are two ears and a black tail tip, then another and another. They have awoke from their slumber and have arrived, greeting me at the end of the path. Now a chorus of meows. I hear it in their voice: it's cold; do not dawdle; it's time for breakfast. My day has begun.
I keep smiling. It's not a time clock I punch to start work; it's the voices of nature. Am I lucky or what!