Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Let the Sunshine In

Though I have spent the winter whining most of the time, I haven't been whining the entire time. Why just the other day I stumbled upon something I started on almost a year ago. So, I thought it would be wiser to dream dreams of summer than to wallow in the nightmares of winter.

Cuddles is now almost a year-and-a-half old now, and as the days get longer and the sun gets higher, she, too, is anticipating summer.

Let the Sunshine In

Not yet a year old, Cuddles the Cat is experiencing summer for the first time. The sudden burst of heat and humidity that dropped by the other day didn’t faze her, although she is none too happy about changes it caused in her routine. The disappointment can be seen in her dreary eyes, her sad countenance and her shuffling gait. Where once there were thrills, excitement and activity, there are now two empty hours in Cuddles’ day. Whether the old Cuddles will reappear in October or be forever lost, a victim of the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, remains to be seen.

From the day the clocks jumped ahead to savings time, Cuddles had derived great enjoyment from chasing the lively beams of afternoon sunlight that flit around our living room. I often joined in her games, using a book cover or the screen of my cell phone to transform sunlight into a frolicsome Tinkerbelle dancing on the walls. Cuddles loved the chase; she crouched in anticipation; she darted; she jumped; and finally she pounced and covered her prey. Seconds later, I made the elusive glimmer reappear, and the chase resumed. There were times when I didn’t know the game was on; times when I was unaware I’d become the source of jumpy sparkles. But Cuddles was always alert and always aware. And when one of the sun’s rays bounced off of a passing car and onto the living room wall, she eagerly pursued it.

Alas, the heat from the summer sun is too much for Cuddles’ primate friends. Now when the sunlight begins to creep in the front windows, the shades come down. A disappointed Cuddles is left to wander through the house, searching for a wayward shaft of light that isn’t there.

Cuddles is not a demanding cat; she asks for little beyond food, water and a clean litter box. She is content to spend most of her daylight hours doing very little. For the few minutes of the morning and early afternoon when slumber isn’t enough, a scrap of paper or a hair band provide all the diversion she needs. But as the dinner hour approaches, and the light from the westbound sun streams in the living room window, Cuddles comes alive and her predatory instincts come to the fore. Crouched in a corner, she stares alertly toward the window and, with her muscles taut, she waits for a darting speck of light, the elusive prey she loves to chase but never captures.

At least that’s what she did before the shades came down.

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