Each year, come spring, a turkey hen appears in our neighborhood. She browses and grazes with a calm demeanor and kind-of acts like she owns the place. Where does she live the rest of the year? Not telling. Come spring, she comes home. I’m worried about what she might find this year.
In her absence, a bobcat has taken up residence in the area. Just last week, the fearsome bobcat was lounging under the little-used basketball goal in my driveway. It was practically wearing sunglasses and ordering a tropical drink.
Pepper and Daisy noticed.
“BOBCAT!! BOBCAT!! BOBCAT!!” Pepper barked, lunging at the window in the kitchen that looks out onto the basketball goal.
“Bobcat!! Bobcat!” Daisy echoed in her tiny, fierce voice, making high vertical leaps into the air behind Pepper.
“Why isn’t that bobcat paying any attention to me?” Pepper finally asked, as it studiously ignored her fits, barks, lunges, and threats.
“Yeah, why isn’t that cat paying any attention to Pepper?” Daisy echoed, with worshipful glances at her big sister.
“I don’t know,” I answered. “It really is surprising. You girls are making a big fuss. I’m impressed it’s still there, just basking.”
Pepper and Daisy considered.
The bobcat felt the warm sunshine on her skin.
Pepper turned back to the window and redoubled her efforts.
“BOBCAT!! BOBCAT!! BOBCAT!!” she barked, with feeling, and more lunges, and seriouser threats.
Daisy did a few more vertical leaps, then sat on her haunches and watched the bobcat and Pepper. She made her way over to my lap. I was reading a most excellent book.
“I think that bobcat has something important figured out,” she said.
“I do, too,” I answered, and we smiled.
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From The Comfort Book, by Matt Haig:
Peanut butter on toast
You will need:
Two slices of bread
A jar of peanut butter
- Place the slices of bread in a toaster.
- Wait a minute or two. Remove the toasted bread from the toaster and transfer to a plate.
- With a knife, spread the peanut butter generously onto one side of the toast. Spread the peanut butter with the knife always traveling in the same direction over the toast. I don’t know why. It just feels better this way.
- Don’t rush it. Set the mood of appreciation by moving the knife at a steady, Tai Chi kind of pace. This moment should have the integrity of a religious ritual.
- Take the plate of toast to your favorite seat. Sit. Compose yourself. Be fully aware of how wondrous it is to be sentient. To be aware you are not only alive as a human being, but as a human being about to eat some peanut butter on toast.
- Close your eyes as you take the first bite. Let your worries float by, untethered from their hooks, as you appreciate this living moment of taste and pleasure.
- If you really don’t like peanut butter, this ritual of gratitude and attentiveness has also been proven to work with marmalade.
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