The snow and sleet of the past day were finally over! Cautiously, I opened the back door and stepped out onto the cold, wet deck. Shirley, a squirrel, who is also my friend, waved to me. She and two of her offspring were raiding the bird feeder again. The last few days had been so miserable and frigid that I did not scold her, but waved my paw at her. "How have you been, Shirley?" I meowed.
"Thanks for asking, Henri. The kids and I have been doing well. We had enough to eat and the nest is really cozy. You should come and visit us sometime."
I shook my head. "I'd love to Shirley, but my tree climbing days are over. I'm just too old to go branch hopping any more," I answered.
"If you change your mind, just let me know, Henri," she chattered and then, in a flash, she had leaped from bird feeder to tree truck. Seconds later, she had disappeared among the branches of the tall pine tree.
I did not venture far from the deck as the ground was still covered by a thin layer of ice. I looked up at the sky. The clouds had separated in some areas and patches of blue had begun to appear. And then I saw it! It was just a few feet from my eyes! It was a butterfly! It was a beautiful butterfly! I reached out with my paw! And as quickly as this beautiful creature had appeared, it disappeared!
I rushed into the house, my heart pounding! "Spring is here!" I howled. "Spring is here! I just saw a butterfly!"
Helen sauntered into the kitchen. She had been asleep on the living room couch. "You saw a butterfly?" she meowed, stretching her legs. She began to wash her paws and ear. "No you didn't, Henri. You've been hitting the catnip again."
"That is not true!" I growled. "I saw a butterfly! It was just outside the kitchen door! It was flying over the deck, back and forth, back and forth!"
Sidney had joined Helen and me. He was sitting on one of the kitchen chairs, smoothing his whiskers. "You know, Henri, when a cat gets old his brain begins to turn to mush. You must have been hallucinating. Butterflies don't prance around the backyard when the temperature is below the freezing mark. I think you must have been sleep walking. It was all a dream. Or your mind has really gone around the bend."
"Well, if you two don't believe me, just ask Shirley. She probably saw the butterfly, too," I hissed.
Helen tilted her head to one side. "Well if you want to believe you actually saw a butterfly, Sidney and I will let you entertain your delusion. It will harm no one. I will inform every cat in the neighborhood that you have gone off your rocker. When they see you, they will speak softly to you and give you a pat on the head to show how much they will offer you sympathy in your hour of declining intellect." Helen smiled that strange cat smile of hers. "No need to thank us, Henri. We do understand your poor aging brain."
I was so angry, I stalked away from my two housemates and once again stepped out onto the deck. I waited a few minutes until my paws began to get cold and stiff. Then I saw it again. It was flying above the rose bushes, as if it were hoping blooms would appear and offer it sweet pollen and nector. Perhaps it had awakened from its winter sleep too early, because it would find nothing here in this garden of brown branches and ice covered ground to give it hope or nourishment. Or perhaps this lovely creature was only a part of my dreams.

Pat my head to return to my homepage!

Saturday, March 17, 2007 8:13:31 PM