You're going to have to move, I tell Ben when I return to the dinner table with a postprandial cup of tea to find him sitting in my chair. He does not move. I must set my cup down, pick him up and hold him in my lap for a moment. Then he jumps down.
The two boy cats chase up the stairs. How can they make so much noise? Whatever happened to the fog coming on little cat feet? These two sound like the Lipizzaner stallions. At the top, they howl at one another, grappling like professional wrestlers. Kitten attempts to sink a fang into Ben's jugular vein. Ben escapes and leaps four feet straight up to the top of the dresser, knocking all my pill bottles onto the floor as he does so. Kitten just waits down below. Ben glares at him for a long time from his superior perch. Then he jumps down, and they thunder off again. This goes on all night.
They were so impossible yesterday while I was trying to write that finally I drugged them with catnip, making two little piles of it on the runner in the hall. I try not to do this too often; they rumple the rug and the pad underneath beyond recognition as they paw for the bits of weed, and it's heavy for me when I try and straighten it out. Again, I fail to understand: how can two small animals, weighing 11 and 7 pounds respectively, levitate a rug that a grown woman finds difficult to lift?
You're going to have to move, I tell Ben again. I am in my nightgown now, ready to turn in, and he has arranged himself perpendicularly across my side of the bed. He's warming it for you, Q says. Meanwhile, Kitten is at the foot where Q wants to put his own feet, waiting for Ben to get comfortable so he can pounce on him and begin another night's carousing. You guys are impossible, I tell Ben, who is now on my chest, staring steadily at me while I stroke his chin. Kitten is creeping up along the edge of the mattress behind him, his tail twitching back and forth in stalking mode.
I don't know why they do the things they do. But then, I don't know why people do half the things they do, either. I'm not even clear about my own reasons, sometimes I look back at some of the things I've done, and realize that -- sometimes, at least -- I am a good deal less rational than I appear.
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
-- by Carl Sandburg
This Thursday, the Geranium Journey continues at St. John's Cold Spring Harbor. Lunch and conversation with Barbara Crafton. Come at noon and bring a bag lunch -- drinks and desserts are provided. For directions, visit www.stjohnschurchcsh.org