Tuesday, February 1, 2011


In which we consider the Ire of the Frost Giants and take hope from the Compelling Composure of Cats

It's about twelve thirty in the afternoon, time to be out feeding the feral cat colony. The four indoor cats have been well taken care of today; a can of cat food split four ways to start things off while I had my morning coffee, then their bowls filled with their favorite dry cat food for snacking at their leisure. Litter boxes all serviced and fresh. At the moment, they are all four lounging in favorite spots in the office, grooming and dozing, contributing as they always do to the writing of this column. I certainly couldn't do it without them.

We are a cozy kaboodle.

 The situation is completely different right outside my window. A sound like dry autumn leaves which rattle together in the wind is constant and loud, but it's not leaves in the wind. It's ice pellets, rattling down from the sky. Our screen door was frozen shut this morning; the spousal unit had to take an ice pick and butter knife to work it free, before he could venture out for the morning commute.
I worry about him, out in this. Fortunately, he is on public transit, bus and train, and so does not have to brave the icy highways and reckless drivers from behind the wheel of a car. He sent a text, this morning, to say he made it safe to work. I send up a prayer (or two or ten) that the return trip will go smoothly for him as well.

Street from my front door
I ventured outside for a bit myself earlier. The colony cats are nowhere to be seen. I checked their water; thank goodness for the heated water bowl keeping drinking water liquid and available. There's no point in putting food out at the moment. It will be covered in a solid sheet of ice in a matter of moments. I keep an eye on the storm, waiting for it to abate even a little, so I can get food out to the colony. I see no sign of them whatsoever while I'm out. They, like we, are hunkered down, waiting out the storm. I pray their hidey holes are warm enough, dry enough, sheltered enough.

The power company has been sending out warnings for a couple of days; the storm has the potential for disrupting electrical service throughout the region. The power company is referring to it as a potential "Storm-a-geddon." I don't like the sound of that.

I see on the tree branches outside my window, ice already a quarter of an inch thick, perhaps more. The power lines running along the alley fence sport a coating of ice, and long, beautiful but deadly spikes of icecicles weighting the lines down. A snapped tree branch coming down on those lines, and an entire block will lose power, will lose heat. It's definitely not a day to be without heat.

The greyness of the day, worry over the cats, over the spousal unit, over whether or not we'll keep power; the constant sound of the ice hitting the windows; it feels like bombardment from the Frost Giants. I begin to lose focus; I feel the great downward spiral of depression looming as anxiety mounts. I consider going to bed and pulling the covers over my head.

Instead, I look at the four furry felines, my writing and editorial staff. I consider their beauty, their grace. Their poise and aplomb, even as the icy grey sky is falling. Shifing from one cozy position to another, Simba looks at me with her big golden eyes, blinks once, then settles back into her snooze. I think, Why borrow trouble?

Cats are nothing if not masters of the moment. I have never known anyone to so enjoy the pleasures of each and every moment as cats do. This is something to aspire to. All the sages seem to say so.

At this moment, this very moment in time, I am warm; I am dry. I have air to breathe, and water to drink; I made a very nice breakfast of biscuits and apple butter, coffee and juice. In this terrible economy, the spousal unit is employed, and his salary is enough to cover our basic needs. He likes his boss, and his boss seems to like and appreciate him. I have friends; I spent the hour over coffee this morning chatting with one on the phone.

And there is so very much more. I'm healthy. My children and friends are healthy. One dear friend who, over the summer, feared she might not walk again, is indeed walking and dancing and so much more. I rejoice for her! My children, biological and bonus alike, make my heart swell with pride. They are good, honourable people. They are awake and alive. I smile as I write this, happy in thinking of them.

I can read. (How many in the world can't?) There are no armies patrolling my streets; the police and the neighborhood patrol do the job quite nicely.

As I stood in the door this morning, steaming mug of coffee in my hand, looking out to see just how bad it was, my neighbor across the street was busy cleaning the ice off his red pickup. We waved at one another through the snow. I have neighbors. We are building our village.

I ponder these things, and the anxiety recedes; the hole of depression at my feet, the inviting downward spiral, closes. The fury of the storm increases; I acknowledge that, then let the thought go. It is what it is, the storm. Right now, I and the housecats are warm and safe inside. Sufficient to the day are the troubles thereof.

We hunker down to wait out the storm.

stlcatlady is a poet, blogger, and freelance writer of shortstories, news articles, and other such oddments, many of which center around her favorite subjecs: cats , philosophy, and folklore. You may contact her by sending email to stlcatlady1 at gmail dot com.


  1. Brrr! Saint Louis is looking to be cold. Hope the cats stay warm and safe!~~Jen

  2. Clever girl! What an exellent use of you kitties as a psychotropic therapy! I know I use my pups the same way.

    Keep warm my dear and continue telling us about your cats - much love, Nancy