Cat on the Fence, greeting (sort of) visitors to the homestead one late afternoon in September, photo © 2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
Something about October’s approach. Strange things start to happen.
Earlier this week I drove up the long drive to our house. There on the mahogany fence was The Cat. I don’t know where she came from—originally that is. Probably came with the house, along with the 1950s powdercoat-yellow metal lawn chairs, left behind by the former owner.
I do know that Sony the Pug mangled the poor tabby and that Jim keeps her (the cat, not Sony) because he has likes to move her from place to place around the yard. She lounged in the wide Y of an old cottonwood all summer long, and then suddenly there she is, sitting on the fence one late September afternoon, looking as real as real can be.
Then yesterday when I got up, I heard rustling in the laundry room. The tea kettle was about to whistle, and I had just come in from dumping the day-old coffee grounds out onto my ice plants. I could hear the noise, like a rummaging through paper. I hit the light switch; the sound went away. Turned off the lights and went back to my morning routine, disturbed by the notion that a mouse must have gotten into Sony’s dog food bag and couldn’t get out. (Of course, I planned to wait for Jim to get out of the shower before testing that theory.)
Moments later as I approached the kettle to pour hot water into the French press, I noticed a dark blob moving across the linoleum. Oh no, I thought, a hurt mouse! I moved closer. It hopped. And hopped and hopped, toward the Chambers stove. I thought it was going to hop right into the crevice between stove and cabinets and back behind the appliance where I’d never be able to capture it. There it would hide out for years only to emerge five times fatter and bumpier. I held out my hand and turned away as if I were picking up dog poop. It took me several tries but finally I caught the toad and took it out the shade garden.
This isn’t the first reptilian visitor to the house. Week before last I had to escort a young bullsnake out to the garden. I found it trying to slither across the floor in our bedroom. It wasn’t getting far, thanks to the miracle cleaning product vinegar-and-water; in fact, it looked more sidewinder than bullsnake.
And this wasn’t the first snake, either. Jim found one once when I was traveling. Nor are snakes and toads the only reptiles that like to visit us inside the house. We also once found a box turtle making its way down the hall, and one night I caught a lizard that had fallen asleep under a lamp near our bookshelves.
The great outdoors has been making its way indoors through the doggy-made doggy-portal, which is actually a large right-angle slit in the screen door that Sony the Pug (yes, she is a bundle of chewing, scratching energy) created so that she wouldn’t have to wait for us to let her in and out.
What is it about fall? Harvest moons and long shadows.
Tonight Em spent an hour brainstorming Halloween costumes. Last year she was a Porta-Potty. This year she thought maybe she’d go as something more stylish—Lady Gaga, for example. But her older sister warned that everyone and their brother will be Lady Gaga this Halloween, so the search continues.
We’ll keep our eyes peeled for unique costume ideas. Hey, maybe we could dress her up as one reptile-creature that I hope to NEVER see in my home. The chupacabra.