The Story I meant to deliver in May!
Torpid. That’s how I feel as I lie on my deck in a puddle of
sunshine. The thermometer says 78 degrees, my angel fountain is
splashing merrily, all my flowers have burst open and my kitty
duo is lazing beside me in a little wire cage I devised to
enable them to experience the great outdoors.
My birthday is three days away, and because it seems most every
cat I’ve lived with has been born in spring, I celebrate theirs
at the same time. This brings a tear to my eye, as it’s
Truffle’s first birthday since his death day. He was my soul
brother cat, dressed in the white and smoke pantaloons of a
Spread eagle, with a stack of magazines at my sunbathed feet, I
hear the faint sucking sound that hummingbirds make. “Wow! Mom!
Look!” The cats are saying. It’s their first humm-bird, as I
call it, sighting and their eyes are as round as Frisbees. They
talk in chirping sounds as the emerald bird’s back glints gold,
and its cravat shines like rubies. It sucks nectar from my
peach-colored lilies and then teases the cats by hovering near
Call me sentimental, but I believe this is contact from Truffle
and my father, who was also born in May.
So, after about half an hour, my fur friends get fussy and I
return them to the great indoors. I, on the other hand, can’t
get enough of the sun so I return to the deck with this
computer. I’ve told myself that I can take all week off from
work, but as I read articles in the magazine I’m published in, I
long to fire up the keys lest I lose my talent.
Midway into this monologue, I sense something shadowy from the
corner of my eye. It’s Rocky: a gorgeous orange-bellied squirrel
that has made a few visits to me since Truffle’s death. I call
him Rocky with reverence, as I was lucky enough to sit and
interview the man who created “Rocky and his Friends.” In fact,
Alex Anderson is in my book.
But back to the tale: If I’d stayed still I swear he was headed
to the glass back door and to chat with my cats. But when I
stir, he scrambles back over the fence and eyes me with his
bulging chocolate peepers.
I place several shelled peanuts on a long branch but this time
it’s a stand-off. Twice before, he came to my hand and shyly
took nuts from it.
“Hi, friend,” I say to him. “Thank you for coming back. I won’t
hurt you. I love you.”
And I marvel once again when he minces down the fence and
perches within reach. I gingerly extend a hand and he politely
takes the nut in it. He repeats this thrice, flounces his bottle
brush tail and whisks up the tree to sit in high branches and
chatter at me.
I return to the great indoors where my two house squirrels are
coiled together on a chair, dreaming. And I feel blessed to be
in the company of animals . . .
No Wimps Allowed!
OK, not to be confusing, but I’m writing this at present on a
splendid autumn day. I’m sitting on a park bench that I
assembled myself – oh, man, is it cockeyed – and looking across
our yard to the sea beyond. It looks like a blueberry pie with a
meringue of the Santa Cruz Mountains on top.
The sun’s benediction is short-lived bliss, however, because the
shadows of the surrounding towering Monterey Pines are extending
themselves earlier and longer each day. There is a subtle play
of golden light, warmth and chill now that harkens winter and
laces my joy with a sense of longing. I reminisce about my
morning . . .
To take the head off my sadness, I take a bike ride along Ocean
View Boulevard in Pacific Grove and notice a couple dozen other
cyclists pedaling two abreast. This irks me and I think, “Outa’
my way, morons!” as I pass them, red helmet down, a finger
poised to strike my bike bell without warning.
I’m so nice.
They’re wearing colorful (fey) biker skivvies and have orange
numbers on their tail lights but don’t seem to be speeding. Is
this a race, or what?
A great V of pelicans seems to be guiding them, until a few stop
to rest for a moment. Ever the reporter, I dismount and ask them
where they’re going. I’m blown away when I find out they are
peddling from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
“Wow! That’s about 400 miles, huh?” I enthuse, all friendly now.
“No, about 500,” replies a mouth from beneath a helmet that
resembles the new BMW hood. “We stop every day,” she adds, like
I muse that if I were her, I’d want a massage, haute cuisine and
satin sheets on my pit stops.
I loop back and notice shards of glass in the street. One of the
cyclists warns me about it and I thank him, guilty that I ever
had a nasty little thought in my head. Then I decide to pay it
forward by plucking and kicking as much glass out of the street
as I can.
Technically, I have not done a good deed because I’m telling you
about it. You’re supposed to keep it to yourself. But if it
inspires you to do a little good after you read this, then I’ll
gladly be a braggart.
Anyway, on my way back home one of the group members flags me
“God, it’s a beautiful day,” he says. “Do you live around here?”
“Thirty-three years,” I brag, wanting to add “among the gray
whales and the monarchs and the otters and . . .”
“You are one lucky lady.”
“How do you get to Pacific Grove High School?”
At this point I make an arse of myself because I can’t remember
the names of the streets. This isn’t Mental Pause because I’ve
never been able to figure out the strange convergence of streets
near the school.
Anyway, I point him in the general direction . . .
About half an hour later, as I pass the high school in my car,
what do I see on the football field? A sea of multi-colored pup
No Ritz-Carlton for these troopers. Obviously, biking treks are
not for wimps . . .