The sun is setting; the day is winding down with the sounds of the day’s work. The lawnmower finishes its last row of grass; the trash cans travel to the bottoms of driveways; the garage doors descend.
On a clear night, stars light up the sky. The anatomy of a star is somewhat of a miracle. I’m no astronomist, but the thought of giant balls of gas burning for billions of years – and so far away that by the time their light reaches our eyes here on earth, they’re completely burned out and dead – seems nothing short of miraculous to me. How can we see something light years away with our naked human eye? That something like that even exists in the universe we live in seems almost unbelievable.
Tonight, I can’t see any of those fanciful flaming miracles. But I know they’re there. The sky still glows orange and pink, and I know that it’s almost time to head back inside before those oranges and pinks fade to black.
But not everyone is bothered by the impending night sky; I stare at her for several seconds, and decide to wait a few more minutes.
She sits, poised and at the ready, yet unmoving, like a gargoyle staring down from its perch. Not a hair moves on her entire body. She eyes her prey intently:
A robin, hopping along the lush green grass, evidently unaware of her eyes fixated on its rust and chocolate feathers.
It bounces through the grass, pecking down between the blades before lifting its gaze back up. Another robin lands next to it and the pair skip together amongst the tall stalks. What they’re actually doing seems irrelevant; they could be staring at a piece of wet bread and she’d still be mesmerized by them.
Her tail twitches: the gargoyle awakens.
And with that instant flick of her tail, both robins fly away as quickly as they arrived.
Her head jolts upwards to follow them while her jaw chatters swiftly, eking out the softest of chirps as the pair of birds fly away.
She must now locate a new target.
Her ears dance around her head as she listens for another critter in the vicinity when her co-conspirator lets out a shout—he is stuck.
Somehow, she pays him no mind, but his meows take me out of my reverie. I stand up off the porch step and stretch my shoulders (I didn’t realize I was hunching over so much), and then take three steps to my left to scoop him up and untangle him from the bush he seems to have wrapped himself around eight times over.
I plop him down with a soft thunk, so he can walk across the sidewalk to get himself caught in the bush on the other side. I roll my eyes as he walks away, knowing I’ll be rescuing him again in mere minutes.
But for now, I sit back down, prop my chin up with my hand, and stare at her again underneath the starless sky.
I take in the magnificence of this creature: this tiny little nine-pound animal, with bright, orange eyes, and white socks on her feet. With a silver rings cascading down her tail, and purplish-black toe beans with a nose to match.
This little living being, who recognizes the sound of the garage and waits patiently behind the door so she can greet me as soon as I walk into the house.
Who flops down into my chest cavity every single morning as soon as my alarm goes off so we can snuggle before I get ready for the day.
Who chases the dog’s toys when we throw them because she wants to play, too.
Who plays fetch with her own curlicue pipe cleaners because she likes to feel like she has successfully vanquished her prey.
Who climbs my back like a mountain to sit on my shoulders and get pets from me as soon as I get out of the shower.
Who loves sitting in open windows and watching birds, squirrels, rabbits, and any other living, moving critters she can see.
Who glues herself to my side when the darkness of depression hits and I can’t see anything else.
Who delights me with her very presence every single day.
She astounds me.
My heart swells with love and awe as I stare at her fluffy body, sitting on the rock. The sky has gotten darker still, but I can’t bear to bring her inside just yet; something has caught both of their attention, and they are staring at something that my poor human eyes cannot see. It must be something awfully interesting, though. She sits motionless again, as does he. I notice how his grey-brown-black coat makes his rounded body look strangely like a rock.
So I sit, watching the gargoyle and the rock stare at whatever critter is underneath the neighbor’s blue pine.
How is it I’m this fascinated with her? She’s a cat. It’s not like she’s a supergiant star.
Yet she radiates light, confidence, and love. She makes me feel loved in ways I have never felt before, and she inspires me with how authentically she lives her little cat life. She meows and plays and snuggles and eats and does all of the seemingly mundane things that cats do.
Why am I so captivated by her?
Because she found me, and she has taught me how to love deeper than I anything I have ever loved on this earth. She is a gift to me – a beautiful, marvelous, perfect little furry gift.
I continue staring at her as she stalks her next critter, as mesmerized by her as she is by her seemingly imaginary prey.
I don’t even notice the stars dotting the sky above us.
… … …
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