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Otter Summer 10.0.01-Two Cats

Just after two am, I noticed the cats have moved. Crash, who’d hopped up on the bed when I crawled in, knowing something was up (as he always does), had curled up at the foot of the bed, trapping my feet. I supposed that Rose, our spinster cat, had enthroned herself on the golden rocking chair, but neither cat was nearly close enough; so I tapped the duvet next to my chest and whispered, “Come here.”

The morning seemed distant yet and the neighborhood as quiet as it ever gets, yet I did not hear Crash come to my side or Rose curl in next to her big brother. They just appeared. Then, Crash commenced his scream purring with Rose contentedly accompanying. I scratched their heads and held them closer, and we reveled in our presence there in the dark.

These danged cats know everything before it happens. They certainly know several days in advance when The Muse and I will be leaving. They do not like us leaving; anticipating, I suppose, the empty hours and great inconvenience losing their dutiful caretakers will bring. I don’t like leaving, either, not even when leaving means great adventure and renewed perspective. There’s something about routine, even when reduced to mindless mundanity, that holds its master in thrall. Leaving feels unthinkable, an uprooting rather than a mere tilling of the soil.

But we three knew The Muse and I would pack our bags and leave shortly after sunrise, heading roughly North by Northwest, angling toward Cleveland’s western suburbs; the first leg of a three day passage from the mundane into the unknown.

By my count, this will be the eighth Otter Summer. Granddaughter Sara, aka The Grand Otter, first summered with us as a child of seven, and last summered with us when she was twelve going on twenty-three. Last summer was Otter-less for us, and rough for our no-longer a child but nonetheless grandchild. She’s a woman by all appearances; pink, purple, or blue hair and septum piercing not withstanding. She’s still The Otter to us.

Cuddling the cats closer in the velvet darkness, I wonder as I always wonder at the start of another Otter Summer, who will she show up as this time? Who will we be together?

The two cats seem sanguine now. We have a boarder who will care for them in our absence. The weather has been cooperating with cool evenings and tolerable humidity, and the new place comfortably holds our occupancy. The gardens offer endless expanses of easily turned litter for Crash and plenty of birdlife for Rose, who no longer chases but still watches bird flits with her appreciatively mischievous tail snapping.

Flitting might be the proper initial metaphor for this grand adventure. I’ve been en-mired for months, daily failing to complete my latest project; suffering through an apparent allergic reaction to my life. Head stuffy, nose running, ears plugged, mind muffled as if swathed in thick cotton bats. I could use a few days up out of this swampland, even if those days unfold in freeway miles. I could use the company of The Muse, whose presence seems almost shadowy otherwise, here in the daily mundane, though I know she’ll disrupt my sacred same-old, same-old, like I will disrupt hers.

We seem strangers sometimes in that vast territory between the Otter’s visits. I suppose every adult needs disruption, periodic weedings of the spirit. We become over-grown otherwise, a tangled mess; too much in our own heads. And these two cats need our absences, too; some time to fall back into their more feral foundations. Crash and Rose becoming an Oscar and Felix odd couple for a time, feet up on the couch, hair balls casually discarded behind the Queen Anne chair. Who will these two cats be by the time we return?

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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