A Year of Morning Thanks
'Tis the season for crickets. Happens every September, I think--somehow, someway, one or two or three or a half dozen slicky-slicky into the house and end up down here, in my basement study. Perhaps I could live with them if they didn't insist on screaming at the top of their wretched lungs. When they sound off, I feel like putting cotton in my ears. I'd whack them in a minute if I could find them.
We often say that we are blessed to live in our cat's house. He allows us convenient space to live and eat and have our being here, but rarely enters our lives, it seems. His domain is the living room, and as long as the weather is as warm as it is (ten degrees warmer than normal), we are merely accessories, as interesting, say, as a coffee table book. When it gets cold, he wanders in and warm human laps are called upon to keep off the chill.
He just left again--the basement, I mean. He comes with me and goes through a ritual of morning rounds when I come down in the morning. I have no idea why he needs me to come down the basement, but he regularly follows me in the darkness, itches himself on various items of furniture and mess, then heads back upstairs, where, quite likely, he simply goes back to sleep.
But he's got this thing for crickets, which is I deeply appreciate this time of year. He is as bothered by their infernal chirping as I am, so he seeks them out--this morning, beneath the workout walker. And often, he finds them, which is more than I can do.
Cats are merciless killers. Once he's trapped that stupid cricket, it's not lights out immediately--the pray becomes his devilish game. The art of torture, of course, is to keep the subject alive and suffering. Cats know that. They wrote the book.
Soon enough, it seems, he delivers a frantic cricket somewhere close to where I'm sitting, and I pick up a sandal, and the cricket's fate is finally sealed. My killing it is really a mission of mercy.
We make a team in September, Benny and I--Benny the cat. But it's no big deal to him. There are no victory celebrations, no high fives. Already, back upstairs, he's likely fast asleep.
Nice of him to stoop. This morning, with the squashed corpse of a cricket yet to be picked up beside me, I'm thankful for silence, a condition both of us prefer on dark September mornings.