It was 27 degrees this morning at 8 AM. Now that may not be very chilly wherever you might be but right here near the Mississippi Gulf Coast, that's killing cold and I don't suffer the cold well at all. But there I was outside anyway: walking all the way across the back yard past my vegetable garden and through a re-wilding area to reach the big magnolia on far corner of my property, then it was a climb over the fence, through a small piney wood, and onto my neighbors' circular drive (with a short detour to look at an early blooming hot pink azalea that somehow avoided the hard freeze) to get round to the back of the house, climb the stairs to the porch, and greet the day with their three cats.
My backdoor neighbors are in the City this week, enjoying all the Carnival parades leading up to Mardi Gras, so I'm taking care of Spike, Patch, and Little Girl (I'm pretty sure she has a real name but everyone just seems to call her that and she really is a tiny little cat, unlike her two big brothers).
It's a funny world: I can't imagine any enjoyment being in noisy crowds but Neighbors love it better than anything; and Neighbors can't imagine why I genuinely do not mind my solitary visits to their cats. In fact, sitting on their back porch bench watching the beautiful sky with a cat or three on my lap or nearby is one of the great pleasures of my life. It's truly something I treasure, and Neighbors don't realize what a gift they give me by trusting me with their dear pets and their lovely home.
But I'm not a morning person, even on a good day I move slowly, and today was Not a good day. My disability was being a nuisance so I did not feel well at all. Truthfully, when I realized how absolutely yucky I felt, I had to go back to bed for an hour before I could manage to get up again. It was hard getting out of bed. It was hard getting dressed. It was hard forcing myself out the door into the cold. But I would never let down those sweet cats who were waiting for me. And it was worth it. By the time I reached the porch steps I had begun to feel better. The most important thing is to be doing something good for someone else and to get moving about.
After I checked water bowls and poured out kibble, I sat on the porch bench watching the beautiful blue clear sky behind the spires of tall spiky Longleaf pine--God's own wilderness is better than any cathedral man could build. Cold or not, there's nowhere I'd rather be than home in Mississippi, and there are few places better to realize exactly that than on a back porch in the morning sunshine in the company of cats. I truly am filled with gratitude.