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UP A TREE

The cat got out.
P.J. is an inside cat, but the lure of the adventure of the back yard got the best of her and she ran out between me and the door. I watched for a few minutes. She didn't go to the pond, where there is an abundance of fish. She didn't run under the MG Midget ( my husband's project) where it's shady. She ran straight up the mulberry tree and nestled on a large limb about ten feet off the ground. And there she sat. I couldn't reach her; she wouldn't come when I called her, and I wasn't going to climb up the tree. At sixty five, one does acquire some decorum.

I went back into the house, got a cup of coffee,and sat down at the table on the patio where I could see every move that P.J. made.

She watched me closely, her tail swishing broadly through the air catching some of the leaves. Now and then she cocked her head. I finished my coffee. Twenty minutes had passed. I couldn't sit there all day. What was it about that tree? Maybe she felt safe because she was high up and could look down on her prey. She must have felt more in control, or maybe just it was just naturally comfortable for her.

I gave up. I had things to do.There was a rope hanging off a high branch extending about five feet away from the center. The kids used to swing on it. I put my foot in the loop at the end, wrapped my hands around the rope above the one of the knots and began to swing - hoping to get closer to the "V" in the trunk, where I could hoist myself up, meet the cat and bring her down with me. Bad idea. All I did was slam into the trunk...twice. The cat cocked her head at me as if to say "one more time?" Sure, why not. I swung hard with determination. Bam! The cat laughed. Well, at least it seemed like she did.

I slowly stepped out of the loop, and reluctantly retrieved a  six-foot aluminum ladder. I placed it by the "V" and climbed up. As I reached the branch where P.J. was, she moved to the next branch. "Swell", I said under my breath, I didn't want to scare her up further. I climbed up to the next branch, straddled it with my legs first, then swung one leg over so both legs were hanging down on the same side. She didn't move. I balanced myself by holding on to the trunk with my right hand. Slowly I reached to stroke her with my left hand. She turned her head toward me and purred.

I could almost hear her, "See isn't this great?" I smiled and scratched her ears. I looked down at the pond. The fish were swimming in and out of the rocks making the water ripple. The sunlight accented the water lilies, making them look more beautiful than I have ever seen, and the leaves of the tree cast dappled shadows on the patio floor. It was quiet and peaceful. I was surprised at how comfortable I was in the tree. Then I remembered, I was a tree climber as a child. If my mom was looking for me, she'd check the pepper tree in the center of the yard.

P.J. and I stayed in the tree almost a half hour. I could have stayed longer, but there were chores to do. I climbed down to the ladder. When my feet reached the third rung and I felt secure, I called to P.J.  once more.
She stood up, arched her back and walked toward me. I picked her up, she touched her nose to mine, and I carefully backed down the ladder. When I reached terra firma, I set her down. She didn't run. I opened the door to the house and she went in before me. She turned to look back at me, then jumped to the couch and sat purring. I know her question was, "Can we do it again tomorrow?"

I learned something today. I learned that decorum is overrated - that at sixty five I still like sitting in a tree, and that cats can be teachers.

P.J. and I will have our second lesson tomorrow morning, 8:00, third branch on the left side.

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You are not sixty five?!

You are not sixty five?!

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Age before beauty

Actually I just turned 66 on Thursday. I spent my birthday in the hospital while my husband had surgery.