It was a doozie of a snow storm last night. I slept thought most of it and I am glad. I did wake up at one point to hear the wind. From the comfort of a bed filled with the little snorts of doggies and the not so little snorts of my hubby, I knew I was safe and fell back asleep.
But I had one haunting thought that had been with me all day. What about all the little animals out there? The temperature this morning was – 5 degrees and it has warmed up to -1. The wind has calmed down but they were talking wind chills of -30. That to me is incredible. Who can live in that kind of climate? But I know the animals do and have and will.
My garden is my retreat. I have many animals that I know remain there with my blessings. I have had a toad that comes right up to me on the deck. We have chipmunks and squirrels of course that are huge. But we also have a resident bunny. She lives under the shed, or in the shed and under one of the decks. We see her all the time and the dogs give chase to her if we let them out without checking first. We have secured her safety by making sure there are escape spots under the fences which we maintain in a variety of places. She is also very fast.
I have been thinking about her all winter. I put out bird feeders which nary a bird has visited. It does bother me that I do not see my cardinal family which has been around for a long time. Matters of fact, Mrs. And Mr. Lou Cardinal (as in baseball connection) were so used to me that they would sit very close. One day Mrs. Lou flew into the house, flew around for a bit, left a poop and flew out. That was before we had Magoo the cat, who does not go outside ever.
We often see the squirrels hanging off the feeders. I do not mind but I would like to see birds. If I whisper “Squirrel” Browny gets all excited and goes charging out the door if I let him. He has run right past the squirrel sometimes, other times he sees them and charges. If the squirrel keeps eating the bird food Browny may catch him. But I am not worried. Brownie cannot climb trees.
Back to my dilemma about Mrs. Bunny: We noticed the other night that she was coming up on the deck attached to the house to get dropped birdseed. So I put a feed lower to the ground in hopes this would work for her. And it does. But I am not sure this is a good food for her.
Last night, I opened the door and she was right there. The dogs crashed out after her and started to run. Then everyone just stopped for a moment. Mrs. Bunny turned to look at them and they just stood still. Then she took off and went under the deck out back. The dogs left her alone. It was too cold.
So yesterday I did two things. I hiked out to the back deck which was hard navigating. The path was filled with bumps of frozen snow and powder. I took a couple of carrots and tried to toss them under the deck where she has an entrance. I felt terrible because I knocked snow into the hole, but I think she can still get in and out. Then last night I left a bit of salad greens, some carrots and a sweet pepper out on the deck, out of the wind for her. For some reason, I worried about her all night and with great anticipation this morning, I checked to see if there were new bunny toe prints. There were.
This is a simplistic story about me and my “Crazy Cat Woman” mentality. Yes, I would have a household full of animals. But I only have one cat who is currently curled up next to me on the kitchen table while I write, serenading me with her rumbly song. We only have the two little Papillions. I would have a gaggle of hounds, but the town only allows three dogs to a residence. I long for a big dog again, but the fear of having to carry the animal in an emergency prohibits us from adopting one. I will never go through what we had to do with Bishop.
I am trying to find that place in the world where we say “this is my life’s purpose.” I have been struggling with this for a while. I am paying attention to the things that bring a reaction from the core of my being, good or bad. Being with and tending to animals comes from a place beyond my soul. This tending to the flock, so to speak, resonates so deep inside me. Nothing brings me as much joy as connecting with an animal. That is why I love the River as I am surrounded by such a variety of lovely creatures. I feel the most at home outside, especially in my garden or on the River. However, not in minus 30 degree temperatures.