Our ginger cat, Claudius, rising from his morning snooze on the bed, longed to go out. Whoever owned him, before my mother got him from the Humane Society, cruelly declawed his front paws, and he was always an indoor cat until he came to us, so we don't let him out by himself. He gets lost easily, disoriented and panting, without someone to watch over him. He was a biter when we got him, crazed by his incarceration. He was so pitiful when we first let him out, uttering little cries of relief. Would he not be seized and hauled back inside, as he was used to before when he managed to escape?
So out we went. He is not much trouble. I have a portable gardening bench that I follow him around with, along with a book and a cold drink. When he ventures too far into a neighbor's yard, I will bring him back to ours. He wanders to various spots where he reclines to watch other animals, squirrels and birds. He will stalk squirrels, but when they run up a tree and chuck angrily at him, he runs away.
He crept through the azaleas, and found a spot under a nandina bush along the side of a neighbor's house, from which he could observe a sunny patch of lawn, and cock an eye at the brown thrasher who chirped out a warning from a limb above to the other birds. He settled there, and licked his paws. I waited at a distance, wishing him some time to take his ease.
I looked up at the thrasher, and at the blue sky and the clouds, a swatch of heaven hemmed round by the tall trees in full leaf of spring. Cicadas chanted their great Om in the heat of the day. I had been here before: 1972 Houston, sitting in front of Ram Das Conscious Cookery on my break between lunch and dinner, watching the tops of the pecan trees tossing in the hot Texas breeze, cicadas buzzing so loud that all thought gave way. Glory be.
Pierce Pettis sings of a imaginary, rural Southern town, Moontown:
Tourists stop for gasProbably someplace like Mayo or Cross City, but I know what he means. Even Tallahassee gets dreamy in the summer, when the students and the legislature are gone. We are a long way from anywhere else: 5-6 hours to Atlanta, New Orleans, or Orlando, and why would you want to go to Jacksonville? Now that I think about it, why would I want to go anywhere? Mark Hohmeister, writing in the local paper, knows what I mean.
All heading southbound for Orlando
Wondering how we could ever stand it here
Stuck in this dry county, no Budweiser
No Black Label
But we can dream you under the table
Here in Moontown
It's thirty years ago today since Father George Kontos, an Episcopal priest, baptized me on Pentecost Sunday, in the company of an infant. Glory be.