I slept poorly last night, but woke at the usual time to lie still for a few moments,
wedged about with cats.
The daylight slotting through the shutters has a grey quality and I hear a swhooshing of wind.
The cats have an uncanny ability to register the exact moment when I shift from slumber mode to the first blinks of wakefullness.
A human awake is a human who should be tending cats!
While I stretch creakily beneath the covers and contemplate the ordering of the day, the cats tread heavily upon me; they meow; they purr. Furry paws reach from the bedside stand to prod, gently but insistantly. Mima plods across my pillow, pulling my long hair.
Charlie, sitting on the floor, reaches up to whack Mrs. Beasley, who growls.
Teasel brings her beautiful face close to mine, making throaty sounds of encouragement.
Lingering in bed is not an option.
In the livingroom I open the curtains and stand gazing out at the cloudy morning. Cats mill about my ankles, pleading for breakfast. They make meaningful dashes toward the kitchen, returning to herd me in the right direction. I fend them off long enough to heave two chunks of dry maple into the embers of last nights fire, then follow them to the kitchen.
This morning performance is not about lack of food or imminent deprivation of any sort.
It is a ritual as firmly established as our morning cup of coffee, and until that spoonful each of tinned food is doled out, there is no peace.
The weather report didn't call for rain, the air was warmish and it seemed a good day in spite of the clouds to wash sheets and let them flap dry in the wind.
Fallen leaves were scudding about the driveway and into the carport. When I opened the sliding door into the cat enclosure the curtains billowed and surged.
With the cats sorted I took my coffee in by the fire, opened my laptop to check email and skim through my favorite blogs.
Gusts of wind shrieked down the chimney. Cats hurtled in and out the sliding door, tangling in the blowing curtain, colliding with each other, hissing and snarling testily.
Catching their restlessness, I put on my wellies and a tattered hoodie. I stood at the edge of the carport watching Willis and Co as they chased whirling leaves and wrestled each other in the gravel of the driveway.
Pebbles spotted me and trumpeted from the edge of her pasture.
As I started up the path she pounded toward the barn, whirled, kicked out her back legs, and plunged back down the fence line, snorting.
J. emerged, drove the lawn mower out of the barn and began circling the dooryard, chewed up leaves and short grass spewing in his wake.
While bed linens churned in the washer, I dealt with litter boxes.
Approaching my litter dump at the far end of the back pasture I was startled by the sharp warning coughs of deer and looked into the woods in time to see three whitetails plunging into the dark stand of trees.
There was an undercurrent of disturbance to the morning--animals all acting twitchy as grey clouds billowed across the sky.
The air smelled of woodsmoke and woodpiles, of cut grass and decaying leaves.
I fetched a collander and snipped Swiss chard from the late summer planting.
Pebbles eyed us from the door to her lean-to--likely calculating the possibility that J. would unwittingly serve up a second breakfast of grain.
I headed for the house, to a hot shower and dry clothes.
The rain quit, leaving damp grass and a slick of wet in the driveway.
From the front window I noted a convocation of robins, perhaps two dozen of them, bustling and picking.
A half-hearted sun played hide and seek, glowing through the branches of the burning bush.
The cats found the yard too damp for their liking and sought warm places in the house to nap.
I kneaded a batch of bread, started supper. J. went to help G. construct a pet yard.
I fetched in the still damp sheets and bundled them into the dryer, put the kettle on for tea.
Evening draws in so early now, the days shortening toward the solstice, little more than a month away.
Twilight stained the sky with lavender behind the lingering grey clouds. The branches of the maples, bare now of their leaves, moved soundlessly.
In the east, the moon rode a sky of palest apricot.
I seldom take photos of the moon as the night time setting for my camera produces an effect darker than the reality.
I am intrigued by the tracery of bare branches and the moon caught in their frame.
Inside to stay as darkness falls.
The loaves are pulled from the oven, the kitchen is cozy with the smell of baking.
J. cuts a thick slab of bread while it is still warm.
I slice one for myself, turn the kettle on again.
We shut doors, draw curtains, settle into the house for the night.