Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Cat Who Was a Creamsicle

I love Welsh poet Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales. I love his work generally, but this is a particular favorite. And today, his description of the Christmas snow in Wales when he was a child fits us like a glove.

"Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards."

About 1:00 this morning a few flakes began to drift around, like stars looking for a constellation. By 8:00 am there was a full six inches lightly layered on the hood of the truck, like white icing on a licorice cake. By 10:00 am another two inches had been added. It is still snowing. We are experiencing a monsoon of snow.

Sal began at 5:00 am to pat my face and beg to go outside. He usually has two walks a day but he hasn't been out in a week or more, as he is a large orange cream puff. He doesn't mind the cold, and he's even learned to tolerate rain, but he cannot stand snow. But he wanted out so badly this morning! He would not be dissuaded by looking out the window, or even a peep through an open door. He held up a paw and promised that, if I'd only harness him up, he would go out in the cold white snow this time. Promise, Mama!

So I bundled up and put his harness and leash on him. He was so excited he could barely stand still. I tried to get to the door and stepped on his tail, as he was swirling around like a red tornado.

I opened the door and he looked at the inches of snow on the steps and hesitated. I swept the steps and urged him forward. He put on the brakes. I went outside and hauled on the harness. He came down to stand on the steps, turned and headed back inside. But he's been aggravating me for days and I was tired of it. It was time he got his feet a little wet, and learned that he doesn't really want to go out.

I hauled him out, and down the two steps, fighting like a hooked fish. Off the step into shoulder deep snow, since this eight inches is on top of two previous snowfalls. He reacted as if he'd jumped on a hot stove. In a whirling flurry of orange and white (does a creamsicle come to mind?) he turned around, dashed back through the open door and into the trailer.

I took the broom and swept the snow off the truck, fed the birds, had a chat with neighbours who were digging their pathways out, walked a bit, took a few pictures. It's -10 but that's almost warm compared to yesterday's -26. And it continues to snow. I'm not sure how we are going to get out of here if we need to before this melts. It won't be by cat sled!

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