Sunday, September 26, 2004

Bird watching with Sasha 

Sasha loves to watch birds, and seem to particularly like watching them with me. He lets me know when he wants to be picked up for bird viewing: he finds me, looks up at me and mews in his tiny voice, walks away when I reach for him, and stops next to the nearest window, arching his back fetchingly until I gather him up in my arms. He begins to purr when my hand reaches under his chest, then goes limp as a rag doll as I scoop up his hind legs. I clasp my hands together under his belly, and he lets his front legs and one hind leg drape over my arms. He keeps one hind paw on my arm, either for balance or some sense of control. He rests his large head in the crook of my elbow, and purrs. We're ready to go.

I walk from window to window, stopping at each to see if any birds are visible. If, after a few moments, no bird has appeared, Sasha makes a half-hearted cackling sound, as if to ask where the damn birds are. We continue on to the next window, and the next. When Sasha spots birds, the commentary starts. He cackles, in that funny jerky-jawed way that cats have; his chin does not leave my elbow, so his cackling is for me as much physical sensation as sound. His long, bushy tail twitches, then beats a rhythm against my side, then slows to a lazy wave. And through all of this, he purrs. He is content to watch, and talk to me about the birds he sees, for minutes on end. I am quite content to oblige him, holding his warm, soft, rumbling body until my arms tire or the birds fly away.

Friday morning was cool, cloudy and damp. It looked and felt like rain. When I went down to the kitchen to make coffee, I looked out the window to see northern flickers, sparrows, robins, and a few others that I couldn't identify. They were fluttering about, pecking at insects or seeds on the ground. Did I finish making my coffee, and take it back upstairs to drink while getting dressed? No, I did not. Instead, I went to find Sasha. I gently picked him up, and carried him, half asleep, to the window in the back door. "Look, Sasha. Birds," I whispered against his fur. He caught sight of a bird; I felt the purring start in his chest. Cackackackackackack. Thwap, thwap, thwap. Cackackack. I smiled, and kissed the top of his furry head.