Somewhere under the rainbow...
A couple of weeks ago, I was suddenly struck with the urge to get up early the following morning and go for a walk. Do not ask me where this came from--I'm the sort of person who's devoted my life to avoiding early mornings and exercise. But the idea was irresistible, so I did it. And it was lovely. And I've done it every morning since. Summer mornings here could not be more perfect. At this latitude, it starts to get light by 5, so the east-facing windows in my bedroom wake me with the morning sun a little after 6. By 6:30, I've stretched myself awake and have taken care of my first and most important duty, feeding the cats. If you think I'm going to be able to leave the house without doing that, think again. The temperatures are in the 50s at the hour, so I need a sweater or hoodie over my shorts and T-shirt. The air is so fresh and cool, and all the neighborhood cats are out, stalking the early birds and the squirrels. This is a very cat-friendly area--every other house at least has a cat or two. Some watch me warily without moving a muscle, others run and hide, and others come running up to rub against my legs and be petted. I'm pretty sure they're the ones whose humans don't get up early to feed them.
The late, lamented Maeve, the first cat who came to stay
I adore cats, and currently have four of my own. I grew up in the country, and we had alls sorts of pets: cats, dogs, rabbits, frogs. The cats, to my distress, were never allowed in the house. I had a beautiful Siamese/Burmese mix named Serena, who produced several motley litters that included cats of every color before we had her fixed. I was allowed to have a dog inside, a toy poodle. I know, stop laughing. Yes, she was white and she came with the name of Precious and she and I adored each other, so just hush. But what I really wanted was a cat I could keep inside. This didn't happen until I was grown, had been living on my own for some time, and had bought a house where no nasty landlord could tell me what to do. One cat arrived, and led to another and another and another, as they tend to do. They're such elegant, independent creatures. It's the independence that I admire above all, I think. I am extremely uncomfortable with clingy, dependent creatures--I would have made a dreadful mother--but I respond very well to cold and aloof.
Today was, for the first time since I started this routine, a bit misty--a foreshadowing of the cool, wet mornings to come, when this new whim will be put to the test. It was cool and lovely today, though, with the smell of rain added to the jasmine, honeysuckle, and roses on my route. I love seeing what others are growing in their gardens, noting what does especially well in our little meso-climate, and getting ideas for next season. It's almost time to order fall bulbs, incredibly. So strange, because our tomato plants are only now beginning to set fruit. I think I saw a hint of red on one this week.
This Friday's cocktail/market/dinner combo featured local beers at the bar on the roof of a local hotel, with marvelous views of the mountains and the valley. Whenever I go up there, the fact of that I live in a picture postcard is brought home to me yet again. Really, it's ridiculous. The market had fresh albacore tuna an clams, which my brilliant, creative hudband turned into this:
Soooo good. We sat in the garden in the twilight, finishing the wine, watching the stars come out, and talking of many things. He's taking off this week to visit family and friends in Memphis and Oklahoma City (and to enjoy the heat-and-humidity festival), so I will have no cocktail companion or chef. Back to omelets and pasta for me!
I must go and deadhead some flowers, and cut a bouquet for the house. One of the great advantages of having a garden is the luxury of a free and constant supply of fresh flowers for the house. Honestly, I almost prefer the pleasure I get from that to the satisfaction of growing food (although picking berries for breakfast is one of my favorite things). One is food for the body, the other for the soul. Sometimes we forget to nourish both. Like my walks, for example. Although it is no doubt benefitting me physically, it's the beauty and the quiet that give me the most immediate pleasure. For me, as usual, it's all about the aesthetics.
For those who don't know about Booktryst, the blog I write for in a my professional capacity, I'd like to link to the post I wrote this week on J. P. Morgan's librarian Belle da Costa Greene. It's one of my favorite things I've written.