Sometimes, I lay on the grass in the yard, near the back door. Before I do this, I open the kitchen door wide. Then I call the cat, LiLi, who spends most of her days sleeping on the yellow quilt on our bed. She never fails to jump down from the bed, down the five stairs from the bedroom into the hall, through the kitchen, to rush out the back door to join me on the lawn. As she comes to sit with me, I watch her from the ground, my view of the earth close to hers.
LiLi is not an affectionate girl, but for a few minutes as we lay on the grass, she rumbles next to me, leaning in just so – just so she is in the shade that my arm forms. It seems to me that we must both enjoy the same things in those moments: the smell of the grass, watered for a few minutes before dawn, the sunshine, and the shade, the good company of another being.
I almost hold my breath when she’s with me; soon her nose is moving, down, down, down to the earth, and her eyes narrow into slits as she surveys her surroundings. She moves slowly, but she crawls away, her body close to the ground, her nose down, to the bushes a few feet from where I lay. Someone interesting must have visited that spot during the night, because she spends a few moments sniffing. Then, she places one foot gingerly in front of her, then another, and she moves into the shadow of the rose bushes or the rosemary bush.
She doesn’t come back to me. I’ll have to wait for her another day.
I think about these moments with the cat, in the winter, when it’s raining. When I pass the step into the yard, I turn my head to look at our place. I think about the sun shining, I think about the clear air, the smell of the earth, and I see the two of us – me and the cat – lying there, on the grass.