First the robins.
I wake at 5:11 with the rosebush-filtered sunlight of dawn filling my window, bright but not blazing, to the sound of trillions (at least) of robins singing. Rousing from their night perches high in the monster laurel hedge next to the drive, the robins welcome ol’ Sol as he rises over the 9,000-foot, snow-crusted mountaintops not with a chorus but a cacophony, a bursting choir of red-breasted would-be Pavarottis, each one singing its own individual aria.
My mind grumps that it’s too early. I’m not ready to leap into the day yet. I let my heavy eyelids close and snuggle my face into my pillow to shade the dawn and muffle the noise. The tweeting and trilling recedes. Deliciously warm and drowsy, I seek the place I left off in my dream before the racket woke me.
A hot steel spike sinks into my hip.
“Ow! I groan and swat PIB with amazing, if blind, accuracy from his perch there. As usual, he’s managed to make one of his front paws weigh 100 pounds so he can drill it right into my hip-joint and wake me up. That old cat’s knowledge of my physical infirmities is incredible. Thump. He hits the floor; the pain stops. I shift, pull the covers up higher and snuggle down deeper. There. Peace.
A Stellar’s jay takes position in the sweet-gum tree 10 feet outside my window-screen, the perfect spot for screaming insults at his hundreds of relatives. Each screeching squawk raises a new cacophony of sneering replies from every tree within range of his voice. There are millions of trees, billions of touchy, insulted jays in them. I wrap my pillow around my head. That dream. Something about … oh, it doesn’t matter. I’ll just start a new one.
The bed shakes. PIB, his small, compact body now weighing in at 200 pounds, is back for another assault. I brace myself, but he’s being coy. He walks beside the length of me until he’s reached my shoulder, and purring like a mountain lion, tucks his hind-end into the curve of my neck and shoulder and assumes the meatloaf position, paws tucked under him. The purring continues, loud as a buzz-saw.
I hitch my sleepy mind to the rhythmic sound and slip away again.
Something heavy scratches at the quilt, inching it down and letting the chilly air in, a sharp contrast to the warmth that cocoons me. Irritated, I open my eyes. Finny’s goofy, mustachioed face comes into focus. He digs at the quilt with the same determination he’d use to bury a particularly tasty bone in the garden. It slips down further, making my skin goose-bump.
“Aw, Fin,” I whine. I pull the quilt back up. So he licks my nose and sits his little round rump down, gazing at me with eternal patience and affection, quivering. The light from the window is brighter now, hard to ignore. One of the papa wrens begins singing in the snowball bush, his liquid song sweet and long, paced with chirps.
PIB backs up further, deciding to sit on my face.
Finny leans over and sniffs him. PIB hisses at him. Finny leaps to his feet and barks, bouncing next to my ear.
I sit up, dumping them both off the sides of the bed. I’m wide awake. My bladder makes itself known. Urgently. I give up, sweeping aside the bedclothes. First order of Sunday bizness: the loo. And then a shuffle outside with Finny, so he can do the same. Then back in to give them both their breakfasts, which was their nefarious plan all along, I know that now.
I sit, bleary-eyed, at the kitchen table, gazing at the finches chirping and fluttering around the birdfeeders just outside the window. The electric kettle roars and dings. I make my coffee.
It’s Sunday morning. Hello, world.
Note: See more of Douglas00’s photos here.