Rarely will she share her space with me unless it is during the time of night when we await for the birds to return before dawn. It's the time when insomniacs arise........heads full of anything but sleepiness.....minds tumbling and rumbling through fields of fury worry.
It is a time when silence occasionally crackles with woodsnaps from the stove, when an errant gust of memories arrives between the ringing of the ears, when the kettle noisily revs up to a boiling crescendo and you wonder why it hasn't woken everyone up? So silent that all the creaks of the floor, all the snaps of the wood outside in the cold, all of the finger typing sounds so much more predominant. It is a space in time when it is easy to slip into dread.......you know the kind? Full of must do's, and haven't done's and wish I could's, and regrets. Oh, those snarky old regrets.
Noise and tumbling dreads are the shadows that haunt the desire to seek slumber. This is when I welcome her company the most. And I think it is when she lets go of her aloof independence that she carries with her during the day to seek the comfort of my presence. 4 am cat call. All tucked in beside me.
Usually I can only watch her from afar as she goes about her day in search of prey and cat entertainment ......whether its the poor unsuspecting big black dog who whimpers when Elsa plans an attack, or when she is perched on her haunches looking out the big sliding glass door at the bird feeders swinging on a line. A variety of birds come and go throughout the day providing entertainment with their movements and song. Elsa has her own reality TV show to engage with.
Sometimes she will entertain us with her crazy cat act, when she bounces, leaps and does her herky jerky moves only to land fully balanced on the stair bannister. One warmish days when I go for a walk with the dog, she will follow along, always maintaining a 30 foot lag. I stop. She stops. I start up again, she starts up again. We never walk beside one another. She is too independent minded for that nonsense.
When she decides to explore this large piece of property, surrounded by woods, covered with open spaces, beside a lake that heaves sighs under its ice, I worry about her. She appears so delicate and vulnerable. Large predators live nearby.......the Coyotes howl at times. Their sounds echo in close. But I know better. Elsa is always alert and very ready to defend herself. Just ask the dog.
When I see her returning to the house, though, I can feel my heart soften. Its like she is one of my own whom I protect. She is the first feline I have ever felt that way about before. Perhaps its because we have shared many a winter night just the two of us cozied up on the couch........she close enough for me to pet her and hear her contented purr, me a warmth constant in her life. I like her attitude.
Is it possible to see your own personality in an animal? I think so. Though I have always lived with dogs, I never had that sense. I relate that way to this little one. Her independence and feistiness feels familiar. Her need to do things on her own with space...........well, that's me too. She knows what she wants. Yeah, I can relate. But I think that the most interesting aspect we have in common is our insomniac behaviour that eventually engages with a sense of peace that finds us after the shadow dreads disappear. Middle of the night awakening does have its own pace and beauty.
Elsa has left me alone as I typed my way through that hour of "long dark soul of the night," right into early morning pre-dawn. She knew I was concentrating on trying to capture my thoughts. So, instead of sitting on my lap or tucking in beside me, she has chosen a cushioned rocking chair to curl up in. Sound asleep.........until I push "publish" close my computer and settle back into the couch. Then, she will notice the change of pace and join me on the couch in anticipation for the birds to arrive. And some much needed sleep before the real day begins......when the choir of birdsong awakens us.