The water in the birdbath sparkles and ripples with the consistency of being touched by the tip of a cat’s tongue.
If I shift slightly I get glimpses of Minnie, through the lush perennial leaves in my garden, her front paws gripping the edge of the birdbath, her back feet firmly planted on the slate porch.
She’s still drinking when a chicken walks up to me where I sit on the step of the backporch.
I’m looking down so I see her feet first. I know it’s either Kitty or Anne because White Hen’s feet have a few big pink calluses and she’s missing a nail on one toe.
KittyAnne looks at me curiously then wanders away as Minnie rubs her head on my back. She lays down in my shadow, purring so loud I can feel it vibrate within me.
In the small patch of earth where I planted seeds that haven’t come up yet, and last year’s mint is growing, the Garter Snake is loosely curled, sunning herself. I can only see small sections of her through the mint and know if I move she’ll slip into the small space that leads to the basement.
I don’t want to disturb her any more than I want to be disturbed.
That’s when I look up. It’s another cool day, but the sun is warm, and puffy white clouds drift through the summer blue sky.
A pigeon flys into the hayloft through the broken window on the barn. She must have a nest there. I keep meaning to fix that window, now I have an excuse not to.
Then a small white-bellied bird catches my eye next.
He lands high on a branch of the old white birch in front of me. He’s still for a moment then starts flying around and through the branches like a trapeze artist in the circus. Now another small bird flies in from the marsh and lands on the tree. He swoops down on top of her and they become one bird with four wildly flapping wings.
After a moment she flies back to the marsh but he stays doing his dance again through the branches.
He’s calling her back. And she comes.
They do this four or five times then both birds fly off and don’t return.
While I was looking up, Garter Snake left the small patch of warm earth. But Minnie is still purring behind me. I sip the last of my tea then get up to make breakfast.