My first day of summer and I should be able to sleep late.
5:15 a.m. A cold nose presses against my face echoed by a soft, squeaky mewing. I try to ignore this, but after another dozen wet, cold kisses (and now my traitorous bladder joins Sleep's enemies), I sit up, swing my legs off the bed and grab my cane. Back to bed a few minutes later. I hope getting me off the bed will be empowering enough for Her Pookiness for at least a couple more hours. Who am I fooling?
6:15 a.m. The furry disruptor moves to sit beside my head on my pillow. Her soft tail slaps across my cheek. I open my eyes just in time to see it snap, make its way back toward me and slam into my nose. Whoever is responsible for choosing the mule as a symbol of stubbornness never owned a cat.
Okay, here I go downstairs, one step at a time. A broken foot garners me little sympathy from my cats. H. P. sits on the large pillow next to my foot when I prop it, but she also takes it over if I leave it for any amount of time, and adopts an occasional 'tude when moved back to one side.
The feeding ritual is done: split one can of Science D. onto two plates, wash the bowls and fill with one-quarter cup Science D. dry. Fill the water bowl at the water dispenser and wait for the shoulder-butt. Here it is, soft , but intentional. Big Bear rams his head into my left shoulder from his morning station on our kitchen table next to the water dispenser. At twenty pounds, he can buckle your knees when he bestows these affections from the floor unexpectedly. But, from the kitchen table where he lords, purring like a mountain lion, he closes his amber eyes softly. He is happy. I place the water bowl on the table for now; his purrs grow louder as he laps.
I don't know how these animals train me to their bidding or how these routines become fixated in my everyday life. The origins blur themselves when I try to remember the first morning he purred while I filled the water bowl. I think his motor must have revved when I set it on the table instead of on the floor, giving him first dibs at drinking . Still rewarded for extra low rumblings, I am now obliged to do this every day.
7:30 a.m. I'm still up, now seated at the kitchen table with B. B., as my Muse also chooses this morning to show her face after a month-long hiatus. She conspires with Ms. Nature who sends an Eastern Towhee and the wild baby rabbit into my view. I hobble quickly to get the binoculars, paper and pen and seat myself facing the bay window. Of course, they're both gone before I return to sit. B. B. places his paws on the corner of my notebook and purrs. I begin to write.