Saturday, October 29, 2011

Meeting Snow

Clem was awakened by the sound of rain this morning.  She loved rain.  It made lovely patterns on the windows when the wind was blowing at the house, and the lake looked so interesting in the rain.  Sometimes it looked like it had dimples, and other times it looked almost like fresh whipped cream with peaks that came and went very quickly.  

This morning’s rain was the dimply kind.  It wasn’t raining very hard.  Clem thought the yarn lady would like to see it, so she stood on the yarn lady’s chest and stared at her until she woke up.  She wasn’t as thrilled with the rain as Clem was, or the time of day considering it was only 6:30 in the morning.  It was dark enough that she had to turn on the lights just to get around without falling over.  

The yarn lady went out early, much earlier than she usually did and she didn’t come back for the longest time.  Clem amused herself with her yarn balls and the lovely mousy that a lady had sent that hadn’t even met them.  It was a very good mousy, because it was heavy and when she whacked it, the mousy flew across the room.  From time to time Clem checked on the rain, just to see what it looked like on the lake.  

As the morning progressed, the rain started, well, changing.  It was partly rain, but partly fuzz balls, except that when they hit the ground they disappeared.  Clem watched that for a long time, trying to figure out where the fuzz balls went.  Then suddenly the window rattled with the sound of something hitting it.  Clem jumped down and hid under the couch, waiting for it to break.  She’d seen things on the television, and she thought maybe it was gunshots, but who would be shooting the window?  There was no one out there, and come to think of it, it was hitting all the windows in the front of the house; the three big windows, the door and even the window in the front bedroom.  It didn’t get any louder and the windows didn’t break so Clem slowly eased out from under the couch to investigate.  She jumped up on the table in front of the window (her favorite perch for watching the birds on the lake).  Yup, something was hitting the windows and they looked kind of like the rain drops.  Unlike the fuzz balls, though, these things were still sitting on the ground and looked like little white rocks.  After a few minutes, the rocks stopped falling out of the sky and hitting the window and the fuzz balls came back.   Clem just sat there and watched.  What was going on here?

By the time the yarn lady got home, there were some fuzz balls on the grass.  None were on the sidewalk, but there were a whole lot of them on the garage roof.  It almost looked like someone had put a thin white blankie on the roof, except that it was thin at the edges and not even.  The yarn lady came in with her hood over her head, carrying her knitting bag and a few oddments.  “We’re in for some real weather today, Clem.  So far this morning we’ve had rain, hail and snow.  Or was that sleet?  Anyway, even though it’s not Halloween yet I think we’re going to have a taste of winter today.”  

She went into the bedroom and emerged in a few minutes wearing her heavy pajamas and bootie slippers that went halfway to her knees.  She sat on the couch and wrapped herself in the throw blanket.  “It is so cold out there, Clementine.  Be glad that you are an indoor cat.  You’d be wet and chilled to the bone in an instant.”  

Clem didn’t even want to think about that.  She’d gotten wet once, well part of her had.  The yarn lady had left some dishes soaking in the sink, and she’d dipped her paw in the sink and it was horrible.  And that had been warm water, so she couldn’t imagine how it would feel to have cold wet fur all over her body.  Maybe it was good to be an indoor cat.  She snuggled down next to the yarn lady as she started to write a letter and quickly dozed off.  

When she awoke it was late afternoon and the yarn lady was washing dishes in the kitchen.  Clem brought her the mousy and they had a rollicking game of fetch.  The yarn lady was good about throwing the mousy or yarnballs in different directions.  Clem had to keep a sharp eye out and listen for where it landed, because sometimes she’d get faked out and the yarn lady would throw it in a totally different direction than what Clem expected.  

Clem brought the mousy back one time to find the yarn lady looking out the kitchen window at the garage roof.  “It’s totally snowing now, Clem, but thank God it’s only sticking on things like the roof and the grass.  If we’re lucky it won’t stick on the roads at all, because I need to be able to get out tomorrow, and I don’t do snow.”  Clem jumped up on the little farmhouse table and looked out the window too.  The blanket on the garage roof was much thicker now.  Snow.  That’s what it was called.   So those fuzz balls were snow.  The ones coming down now were much smaller than the huge ones she’d seen this morning.

The yarn lady went outside for a moment and came back with a handful of something that she put on the kitchen floor.  “Clementine, meet snow.  Snow, this is Clementine.”  

Clem looked at the wet piles of what she guessed was snow on the floor and said, “Hello, snow.  Would you like to play?”  She figured the yarn lady had brought the snow in so they could play together, especially since she’d introduced them.  Clem sat there for a minute or so, but the snow didn’t say anything.  It did get a little bit more watery, though.

Circling, Clem looked at the snow from all sides, as she continued to talk to it.  “Well, do you want to play with me?  What games do you know?  My favorite is fetch, but I like pounce too.  And hide.  Do you want to hide and I’ll come find you?”  The snow still didn’t answer and it didn’t look like it was going to do much of anything.  She reached out a paw and patted it.  COLD!!  Her paw pad was cold and wet.  Oh, the yarn lady was right.  She’d hate to have snow fuzz balls fall on her fur if it felt like this stuff.  She stretched her neck to sniff it and got a noseful of cold wet snow.  Horrible.  

“Don’t you have any decency, snow?  How can you be so cold and silent?”  The yarn lady heard this as the kind of angry noises cats make when they see a cat they don’t like.  She reached down to scratch Clem’s head.  

“It’s just snow, kiddo.  Get used to seeing it, as if we get snow before Halloween it usually means we’re going to see a lot of it.  I won’t bring it in the house every time though.  Well, at least I won’t do it on purpose.  I probably should get a rug for the door by the slider if I don’t want to track it everywhere.  Oh Clem, snow is pretty, but it can be a real pain.”  With that the yarn lady grabbed a towel, collected the snow and dumped it in the sink.  Where it had started to melt on the floor she wiped it up with the towel.  Clem jumped on the counter and stared at the snow in the sink.  It didn’t seem to mind being grabbed like that and tossed in the sink, and as she continued to stare at it, it gradually began to melt and the water seeped down the drain.  

“All gone, Clem.  It’s melted.  From now on let’s leave it outside where it belongs.”  The yarn lady went into the living room and started knitting.  Clem continued to watch the sink as the snow finished melting, and then went to the back window so she could watch it as it continued to come down.  It occurred to her that snow might just be another kind of rain.  She’d already figured out that rain was water in little pieces, so snow was just a different kind of pieces of water.  Probably the little white rocks that had hit the windows were still another kind of water piece, as they weren’t on the ground anymore.  As she made these conclusions, Clem felt proud of herself.  She was not only growing up, she was growing smart.  Who knows what she’d be like by the time she was a totally grown up cat?

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