Wednesday, March 14, 2018


It's the season when my doors and windows are opened to the cool outdoors before my wood stove has reduced its first batch of fuel to large, glowing embers. My cat, Romeow, has snuck in through one of those openings and staked his usual position on the small rug in front of the stove door, that coveted, glass portal that fills my living room with visual and radiant warmth without the toxic air of combustion. Romeow will not be moved. Truth be told, I don't have the heart to move him, and the dog is too scared to do it. Romeow knows this.

The flames have died. It's still just a little too cool outside to go without fire and I'm not about to close the windows. I kneel in front of the stove with Romeow undisturbed in the small gap between my shin and the floor, my toes flexed straight against it to make just enough room for him. He's still purring. I choose another large piece of wood from the rack beside me and contort to get it into the stove without disturbing him. He doesn't even raise his head from between my knees. There are so many ways I could squash him like a bug. "I hope you appreciate this," I pause to scold him. He meows a halfhearted acknowledgment without moving. I finish and return to the window to enjoy the breeze. The breeze. That's what we call it in my neighborhood when a carefully cracked window throttles down the perpetual blast outside to something slightly less than a hurricane. This is another reason Romeow likes the (his) rug.

Do you see it yet? Some days, you and I are Remeow and God is the one trimming the fire and cracking the windows in his (my) house. So what that I snuck in. From his own experience as one of us, he has a soft spot that lets us indulge in undisturbed comfort sometimes, even while he contorts to work around us. He takes a trusting purr or halfhearted meow as reason enough to let us stay for a while. But the weather is warming. Soon there will be no reason to allow laziness in front of the stove. And soon you will be shedding, profusely. And that's something you will have to do outside where a good bout of rolling in the stiff, brown grass will remind you how invigorating it is to shed the old and give the spring wind something else to blow away.

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