Sunshine warmed my back as I knelt on my knees in the front yard to do some much needed weeding. What a beautiful day; it was the kind of day that lured me outside, no matter the undone chores inside the house. I find solace in the yard and garden. A quietness that can draw me closer to God. Away from the sound of the television and the lure of the computer and all the “undone” things inside’ there is peace, even as my hands are busy weeding, planting or pruning.
Alone in reverie except for the occasional honk of a horn from a passing car carrying one of my friends to destinations unknown, I think, plan, and pull those ever present weeds. Then……..coming up from behind, and rubbing against by back, I feel a soft touch. Before I had time to turn around, here she came, a dainty gray cat, with white boots. I was not irratated in the least, as just one glimpse of her warmed my spirit. It is obvious for some unknown reason, she knows she has found a friend that she wants to hang with. I speak to her asking her where she came from…..she simply rubs against my hand and sits down beside me. She made me happy, having her near. She is with me in the yard the entire time I am out, staying within eye sight, even if she retreated to the shade of the crepe myrtle a few feet away. I felt her presense. There are no pets at the Powell house at this time of our lives. The children are grown, grandchildren have their own pets and we are unincumbered with “pet” responsibilities when we decide to travel. That is now the rule of the house…….NO MORE PETS!!!
As usual in the spring and summer, I would be outside with mother nature and my constant friend would be the little gray cat that had a spalsh of white on her face. I knew she had to belong to a neighbor as she was well fed and healthy looking even though so daint. She also had to be a girl….I just knew she had to be, because she looked feminine and loved gardening. When I say, she loved gardening, I tell you, she would come from nowhere the minute she saw me kneel down to plant or pull. I laughed at her and told her she could hear a weed being pulled from a mile away. Se would get playful and crawl up my back as I was bent over. She knew this would engage me into playing with her for awhile.
The story goes on through that first season until I decided that she might have belonged to a cat loving neighbor of mine that had passed away the very week she came to me in the yard. I bought food and fed her secretly, just to make sure she was eating. Well, finally my stach of cat food was found and I took my reprimand from the man of the house, but….continued feeding my little cat, that I had named “Jolene” after my neighbor Jo, that had passed. Jolene and I claimed each other, and had a special bond for over seven years. Even as she got old, no matter where she was, she could hear that first weed being pulled in the yard, and had to come to supervise the work. She would come to my window every morning and knock on it. I would raise the blinds and open the old sliding window and allow her inside. She would be with me as I got ready to face my day, and then we would head for the front door to go outside together. We would go our separate ways, but she was always there when I got home. I will remember her forever, and when the sun warms the earth and calls me outside, not too many weeks from now, I will miss my gardening friend more than ever.