I’ve heard that a few times lately, I‘m not really sure what it means. Surely every winter has a finite number of days, but maybe what people mean is that this winter seems to have cursed us with a higher than average number of wintery days.
I’ve been working from home a day or two each week for the last few weeks. I’m working on a project (with a deadline) that demands a lot of reading and evaluating of very 'data dense' material. 30 years ago maybe I could have done this work while answering the phone, gossiping with the girls, and otherwise functioning in an office environment. But I’m ‘old skool’, meaning I’m generally a linear thinker and it seems that my ability to ‘multi task’ has diminished in that time.
So, on a break from dense reading and terse writing, I stood looking out at the sleet coming down sideways in the back yard as I sloshed my tepid coffee. The cat was skulking in his little house, also surveying the wintery scene. He’s been acting like he’s got cat cabin fever lately: You know, in and out endlessly, simultaneously craving attention and then biting and scratching when he gets it.
Shortly he took on that electrified posture that means he saw something out in the far flower bed then I didn’t. He did his slinking stealth cat sneak across the lawn (white cat/dark green lawn). As he got closer to the rhodys the chickadees began to flutter up from the flowerbed into the trees. Of course by the time he got there, all that remained was scent of chickadee. He sniffed a bit and then sat disgustedly in the cold rain. Then he casually moseyed, almost absentmindedly toward the feeder. I’ve seen him do this before.
At the feeder there were a few small winter birds, chickadees, juncos, and a winter wren. The closer he got more and more of them flitted off into the trees until of course when he arrived under the feeder, they were all gone. He sat, staring up at the feeder.
The ‘feeder’ is an old piece of scrap plywood I nailed to the top rail of the fence, about 4 feet off the ground. I spread seed on it and the birds seem to know what to do. One bird remained, a mourning dove. The dove either didn’t see him or didn’t think white cats can jump. The dove pecked away, and then turned such that his tail feathers stuck out over the edge of the board. Instantly Chairman tensed, crouched, and then leapt, ‘cat like’ straight up. He didn’t quite make it to the feeder, but in one fluid move reached up and over the edge with one paw and nailed the bird. There was a small puff of feathers, and the dove exploded into the air, sprinting off to live another day.
He came away with a mitt full of feathers and probably bruiseses to the ego. For a few moments Chairman hung from the top fence rail by his scrawny forelegs, in the cold sleet. Easy to see why some think it's been a long winter.
We’re looking forward to warm summer evenings when some of us can sit out on the patio reading with a cold drink, tending the barbeque half heartedly, while certain others of us hunt through the long grass for unwary prey… crickets.