A little voice squeals to signal morning.
I stumble over all four paws that weave between my steps.
A scoop of kibbles snoozes my alarm.
The morning ritual continues with a cat called Sprout.
I lower to equal footing with the cat who dutifully follows,
wide eyes longing for attention.
I extend my human paw for the official nudge of acceptance.
She instantly melts into a slow, dramatic collapse,
offering the white of her belly for a gentle rub.
We meet again when the day is warm
and the sun beckons us to explore outside.
She welcomes the ritual of buckling the harness
and traveling in her hut with reverberating purrs.
Everything is new again.
Time is of no importance.
Each detail is acknowledged with great pause.
The subtle scent of wind, distant chirps of birds.
Every movement of a squirrel’s path above is closely observed in a ready position.
The stroll quickens to a trot with sudden stops to sniff, to listen.
Inner curiosity is awakened with a leap-
to keep climbing and gazing upward,
while abiding by the end of her leash.
Predator becomes prey
when an unfamiliar visitor runs to our side with joyful barks,
sending shivers through her body and all hairs on end.
Sprout clings to my arms in desperation,
growling with disapproval at the pup circling my feet below.
The dog returns on the owner’s command
and Sprout relaxes with slight caution to resume her adventure.
She walks with a flick of her tail and a constant pan of her surroundings.
If only this day could never end.
Sprout ignores my suggestion to return to her hut.
Oh, how she adores her wild, precious life.