Early on a spring morning before my hiking came to a screeching halt, I saw a great horned owl sleeping in a palo verde on my favorite trail. I knew I’d have a better look a little further up but as the trail undulated up the hill my view of the owl was blocked and when I popped out in the spot where I expected to see it again, I could find no owl.
They fly silently but I thought it unlikely it left its perch given its sleepy mood, so I backtracked down to where I first spotted it and immediately relocated it. Back I went up the hill and once more the owl disappeared. This repeated a few times until I was finally able to not only relocate the owl but place it as I had hoped, with saguaros in the background. Thankfully only the owl was witness to my ineptitude and if it noticed it didn’t feel the need to rub it in.
If this seems like a picture of an ordinary living room, it is, and it’s why I love it. When we first adopted Bear we kept him in our large bedroom as he would sometimes chase the cats. I wasn’t too worried he was going to physically hurt them but he needed to be calm around his furry masters so they wouldn’t live in terror of him. He had lived with cats before but I didn’t see much indication of it and felt if he didn’t get better quickly we wouldn’t be able to keep him.
I took the picture in April on a day off when I brought him into the living room and had him stay on his bed and let the cats come as close as they wanted. The cats grew up with Ellie so were willing to give him a chance but not if he was going to chase them. The first day I had to keep him on a pretty short leash but on this the second day he was much more relaxed. When he fell asleep I got up and sat on the couch and Trixie came in and sat behind me, eventually even Boo worked up the courage to sit beside me. When they were both a little more relaxed I got up to take a picture of the three of them, and while I did Boo stole my spot. Some traditions must be upheld even in the presence of a scary dog.
I’m thankful to say Bear’s cat manners did improve as he got used to the little ones and he eventually earned his freedom to roam the house. With Boo I would feed both he and Bear some of Boo’s favorite treats and Boo would come right up next to Bear for those, which helped them get used to each other. I had to laugh when one day I came home from work and both Boo and Bear came to meet me at the door, with Boo standing underneath Bear, a sign of how far we had come. Trixie was less afraid of him from the get go but I knew she was getting used to him when she was sleeping on my legs and Bear came in and gave her a good sniff and then licked her in the face and she took the indignity in stride.
Oh this hurts. Sam’s heart failed and we had him euthanized a little while ago. He died peacefully, curled up in my lap and purring until the anesthesia took hold. I’m glad he didn’t suffer and that we could be with him at the end, but his loss is going to sting for a while. This was my view for most of the past fourteen years, Sam asleep in my lap. The background behind him changed at times, as did the cast of characters curled up beside him, but he was my constant companion throughout his life.
I’ll write more later when the tears aren’t streaming so steadily.
If it looks like he’s being punished this is how Boo chooses to sleep many evenings, when I sit down on the couch he wedges himself into the gap between me and the edge of the couch. The Great Boneless Boo excels at squeezing into tight spots but the problem is when I’m working on my laptop my right elbow wants to go where a smushed up Boo resides. Sometimes he’ll curl up on my legs as he is now, the other night when his siblings came in to join him the problem became that with a Sam / Trixie / Boo train running down my legs there was no lap left for the laptop.
Good problems to have.
Boo in my second favorite of his sleeping positions, the one I call The Full Louganis as his perfect tuck reminds me of Olympic divers. Despite appearances he does have arms, but our boneless Boo doesn’t always follow the laws of physics. I’m about 90% convinced he’s from this universe and about 70% convinced he’s from this planet.
Sam sleeping on our bed late on a winter morning. When I get home from work he’s usually either sleeping here with brother Boo or sitting on my footstool, waiting for me to come home. As soon as I sit down he jumps up for a snuggle, he may have the expected muscle loss for a cat his age but he is as sweet as ever.
Mathematicians may want to prove the Riemann Hypothesis, physicists a Unified Field Theory, but I’d be happy just to understand how Boo can go headfirst into such a small box and turn around inside it.
Trixie sleeps on a throw pillow in the fall, in between the sound and fury of the summer monsoons and the gentler winter rains. Even in winter if the rain comes with a bit of wind she may sneak beneath the blankets, just in case. So spare a thought for her and her brothers with the storm coming on Monday, as we’re getting the roof replaced. And unlike the house in Portland, there’s no respite two floors down where you can hide, this house is but one floor.
Taken on New Year’s Eve but I could have taken the same picture many times this winter. Sam has the bed to himself at the moment as Boo is curled up on my legs.