May 2016 Archives

Pel, the cat who likes bread

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I went downstairs to get breakfast this morning and saw the door was open, Pel-style. She'd nested in the closet again and was still snoozing. When I came into the genkan, she didn't bolt the way she usually does. Instead she calmly tried to avoid me while still leaving. Hard to do in the hall, so I stepped into the engawa and she went out the door.

In the kitchen I discovered that she had attacked the baked goods. She savaged the tea towel that was wrapped around the banana bread I baked yesterday and took four evenly spaced bites out of the side. LOL. Also ripped through the wrapping of the baguette and tore it to pieces. So that was my breakfast and dinner plan shot to hell. I can't be angry at her, though.

I cleaned it up and as I walked back down the hall, she started meowing from outside the front door. Loudly meowing before we could see each other. Whoa, new behaviour. We talked for a minute, then I got her a handful of food. I put it in her bowl and she edged closer, but I was still too near. 

I did an experiment. I put a piece of cat food on my hand and reached out. She batted it off my hand with her paw (claws in). So she touched me! I repeated the experiment successfully then went upstairs, leaving the door open and inviting her in, if she wanted.

Which apparently she did want. First she was in the downstairs hall, rattling things around. Then she came upstairs, twice. Only as far as the door, but she saw me in the room. Didn't like it when I noticed her and she skulked back down the green stairs quick-like.

Later she was in the Pel Hotel, a box I set up for her in the sheltered porch. Then she was gone.

So much progress on this wet, windy day. I am sure it all revolves around food but never mind. I am going to imagine that she likes me a little, too.

Changes of Season

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Before we left Tokyo seven months ago, I had a concern about the seasons, of all things. After almost 18 years in the city, I was tuned to the nature there and the procession of plants and weather created a visceral annual timeline for me. If I moved somewhere else, I'd lose my sense of time and it would take years to get it back and, and, and...panic.

And yes, it is true. I have no clue yet about whether I can plan for sunny days this month or what weather is heralded by iris or whether the plums bloomed at the normal time or not. The general brush of the seasons is different here. We're only a couple hours away from Tokyo, but the southern Chiba mountains are a different ecosystem entirely.

I love it. I swear that every day I go out walking, I notice a flower suddenly in bloom everywhere, a caterpillar cruising along, grasses rising up from the verges. There is myriad detail in this parade of nature - so much richer than the city where everything was planted on purpose. Here, layered over what Nature does on her own is what man does with Nature - preparing, planting, maintaining. 

So in this first year of living in the country, I am observing and recording without understanding or anticipating.  Someday, years from now, I'll get it all put together into an internal calendar again. Until then, taking it one day at a time is not as disorienting as I thought it might be.

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