My large tubs of begonias brought in to winter behind the piano which presently serves as a room divider.
There was a strange lack of cats on my side of the bed when I woke a bit before 6 a.m.
I stretched, snuggled more deeply into the quilt.
After a few moments small sounds seeped into my sluggish awareness.
Small thumps and pouncings from the livingroom.
Scuffing down the hallway I came upon a rogues' gallery of cats who were viewing the above
desecration of my angel-wing begonia.
Caught in the act was Willow, happily scrabbling potting earth, rattling dislodged bamboo stakes.
Her brother Wilbur [who still dislikes humans] did not appear to be actively involved in the
vandalism at this point.
At my smothered cry, "OH, NO! What have you done to my plants?" Wilbur skittered under the table.
The rest of the feline pride arranged their furry faces into expressions of disapproval: "We would
NEVER do that!"
This left Willow, a dainty paw still lifted in the act of smacking at lumps of potting soil.
The spray bottle of water which we sometimes use in vain disciplinary actions was nowhere to be seen.
"Bad kitten!" I moaned. "What a mess!"
I picked the battered disinterred stems of the begonia out of the scattered dirt, laid them tenderly by the kitchen sink, fetched the broom and dustpan.
As I began moving plant tubs and whisking at the strewed potting soil, I chanced to notice Willow.
Far from leaving the scene in contrition, she had folded herself into a demure pose on the kitchen floor and appeared to be watching me with great interest.
I swept up the worst of the mess, brought a sack of potting earth from the garage, carefully inserted the traumatised roots back into the pot and stood the broken stalks in a jar of water.
When J. emerged I lamented afresh, "Can't have anything decent with all these cats--furniture shredded, plants uprooted--impossible to display a bit of china--"
I set out cat food begrudingly, slatted about making coffee, still grumbling.
Standing at the counter, waiting for the coffee to perk, I felt a familiar warmth sliding around my bare ankles:
Willow's slim stripey body weaving about my slippers, her small warm skull rubbing, amber eyes raised in winsome appeal.
I picked her up. "Purr. Purr, purr."
Vaccuum cleaner trundled out, various plants moved downstairs to the old table under the flourescent light--where they may not be safe from the prowlings of cats who decline to stay on the floor.
I am seriously considering the incarceration of my treasured [battered] begonias in the coat closet overnight to protect them from curious cats!