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May 14, 2011 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Nose to screen – Reading the breeze.

R.C. monitors the prevailing breeze for neighborhood news: nose pressed to window’s screen. Not above yowling if the window is slow to be opened.  Everyone has their routine.

It’s a tight time frame.  Resident Cat lurks just below the window sill with sharp tense ears and narrowed eyes focused on the 3 inch slit opening…waiting…waiting…waiting. Suddenly,  uncoiling like a spring and hurling – full force – WHAP – against the window with an unearthly growl. It’s the daily “surprise” attack against the large desperately-needing-a-personal-trainer grey cat from next door.  The fuzzy feline lump wobbles out with her owner every morning to get the paper…only the cat gets distracted (every morning) and wanders over to our front porch window (every morning), and stands considering for about 30 seconds (every morning) – until jolted into rapid retreat by R.C.’s shock and awe barrage. Every morning.  Seriously, I don’t think they will ever be friends.

Then R.C. can settle comfortably on the sill. Start the daily routine: nose to the screen – reading the breeze.  Noting: what dogs have walked past, which kids have already run to the bus, which perfumed lotion the next door commuter is wearing, which yards are being mowed, which dryer sheet is being used down the block, is it garbage day, if any lizards have climbed past, and will that tiny bug make it under that crack? Just the general neighborhood stuff.

If you think about it, it’s quite an advanced evolutionary adaptation. Sniffing the news is so much more environmentally friendly than reading a paper newspaper or even reading off the web:  no chopping down trees or paper mill processing…no burning coal to power up the recent events.  Nothing to pick up – nothing to throw away when useless. Weird how mankind pretty much discarded this sense.  But human’s worlds are necessarily wider.  Humans have been trained, of course, to slave in offices in order to provide cats windows to sit in and can cat food on which to dine.

Don’t think cats are intelligent?  They were smart enough to lose the “thumb” on their paws – a handicap that prevents them from working with tools or keyboards.  Except a few throwbacks like Earnest Hemingway’s famous six-toed cats.  Polydactyls all.  Did they not get the memo? Or maybe their clan decided the path to fame and perpetual care was to adapt and attract the attention of this one human of great potential.  In hindsight, good choice?  Dependent on humans or manipulating them?  Well, if you ask a dog person, most will say that the reason they don’t like cats is that they are just too aloof and too independent – and you can never get them to do what you want!  Sounds pretty much like R.C.

Nose to the screen: interpreting the strength and type of breeze, measuring for composition and humidity, sniffing the level of salt from the south or pine from the north…all signaling the weather for today.

Today R.C. had company for the morning vigil. I joined to gaze out – searching. Any sign R.C.? It’s the “red sky at morning, sailor take warning” thing. We need rain.

Lumpy towers of dark clouds looming from the coast. But it’s early and not hot enough yet to trigger rain. These clouds will sail over. Later in the day, the clouds will draw a line in the air and begin to stack up like slices of bread in a loaf backwards towards us.  And if the wind is right, there’s enough heating left in the atmosphere, and if the stars are properly aligned, we might get rain.

Come on, R.C. Read the breeze.

Wistfully yours,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

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