The sun had already set, but the twilights this time of year are long, especially up on the hills. I carried a book in my hand, and a pencil, because sometimes I like to argue with my reading material. I climbed the slope up to the vegetable garden with Snake, my favorite barn cat, rubbing in and out of my legs. His mama was here before we moved in and he was born right on my kitchen porch.
I sat criss cross applesauce on the rough and weathered wooden bench overlooking the raised beds, with the hill and woods and pond at my back, and opened my book. Snake was having none of it. He walked across my legs bumping and rubbing on my book, my arms, my elbows, back and forth, over and over, trying to share a flea or two because he’s generous like that. After some negotiation we settled into a rhythm of simultaneous reading and petting. The darkness began to spread through the light but I barely noticed.
Suddenly, Snake looked up. Something over my shoulder had caught his attention. His ears cocked forward, eyes wide, whiskers trembling. There was movement in the brush behind me. A bird? Deer? Ax murderer?
You have never seen a dumpy middle aged woman move so fast. I rolled down the hill. Once at the bottom, I looked back to see that the cat was headed toward the barn, but there was no urgency in his saunter. He had done his good deed for the day in saving my life and now he was off to the Jellicle Ball.