Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21: Creature Comfort

Last night as I lay reading in my spartan little bedroom under the eaves of the Monhegan House, enjoying the sounds of surf and foghorn so close, I was surprised to suddenly hear a "meow" from the other side of my window. My room, after all, was on the top (fourth) floor! But sure enough, I pulled back the curtain, and on the other side of the screen was my favorite island cat. I slid the screen back so she could come in, and she settled down on the bed with me until I got up to brush my teeth. Then, mindful that she's not allowed in the inn and that she does have an owner out there who might be wondering where she is, I carried her downstairs and put her out the front door.

About 15 minutes later, she was back. I let her in again, worried that if I didn't she'd be stuck out there on the roof. She settled in again until I got up one last time. Again, I put her out the front door to go to her proper home. But just as I was dozing off, she returned. This time I let her in and didn't get up till morning. She slept on the bed with me all night long, curled up on my arm most of that time.

In addition to the crazy novelty of having a cat show up at my fourth floor window, this experience touched me deeply. I still grieve for my beloved cat who passed away this past winter, to the point that I still can't imagine replacing her. But for one night, I was comforted by this little cat. I'd like to think she singled me out, that she knew I needed her company, but truth is that my window is closest to the fire escape, which she must have scaled to get to the top floor window ledge in the first place.

When I ran into her owner today, I mentioned to him that his cat had been sleeping around the night before. (Carrying her downstairs to sneak her out the front door early this morning felt amusingly illicit!) He said that she's been known to do that, but that he never worries about her. He said she scales scaffolding all the time, and one time climbed up on someone's roof and scratched at their skylight to be let in.

Even in this heat
I can still appreciate
a cat's warm comfort.

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