A Thousand Nights

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BEDAZZLED The Queen of Faeries looms over my garden. Photo by Mark Fernquest

Fluff and other stuff

Few things are as sublime as West County in the summer, where the days are so balmy that I wander around the garden in my camo shorts all afternoon, shirtless and shoeless, pulling weeds, squeezing tomatoes and bowing to the giant sunflower that is gorgeous and a bit scary at the same time. At nine feet tall, that Godzilla flower looms over the yard like the Queen of Faeries. I literally want to leave it offerings of sea shells and incense, and that worries me a bit.

I have a cat, if you must know. He keeps me company and my heart lights up every time he trots over to say Hi. He’s a naughty little fellow, but I wouldn’t want him any other way. His name is Elijah Darkness, he’s black and fluffy, and he is my dear little brother. I got him at Forgotten Felines three and a half years ago. It’s the best place to pick up a cat, if you are in the market for one.

Right now cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and greens are coming in. In the evening I walk outside with a knife and a bowl and harvest a salad, then I go back inside and fry up an egg I bought from the neighbor, and—voila!—dinner is served.

Little Elijah doesn’t like to come inside; he prefers to run around the orchard hunting birds and chasing other cats, but every evening I find him and carry him home for the night.

Elijah excels at many things. Recently I found a dead gopher by the native grasses, and a dead pigeon next to the large compost. Also, last Tuesday he stayed out all night and got in a fight on the driveway ’round about 2am. I never get angry at him when he comes home at 8am. I’m so glad to see him that I just try not to cry and get uncomfortably emotional.

Elijah is a skilled sleeper. We take naps together in the loft and he excels at sprawling, on his back, with his furry arms and legs all skedaddled and akimbo. There’s nothing else like it. I sprawl out next to him without a care in the world. Sometimes one of us might scratch or clean ourselves like guys do, but mostly we lay about and snooze. I figure I’ve had Elijah for over three years now, and at 365 days per year, I can very conservatively say he has kept me warm for a thousand nights.

Which is wonderful. Because at night I sometimes worry about that big-ass Godzilla sunflower out there in the garden, beaming its faerie magic this way and that under the light of the bright moon, and it’s good to know my cat has my back.

It’s good to be part of the pack.