Saturday, January 22, 2011

Deceptive Sunshine

This is ridiculous! I'm sitting here this morning in my breakfast room looking out the window at absolutely clear blue skies, not a single cloud. The rose buds and leaves on my prize Belinda's Dream bush are glowing pink and brilliant green in the early morning sun, and the birds - cardinals and bluejays - are sounding their mating calls in the trees in my backyard. The winds are still, barely a breeze.

But I know that this is all a Grand Deception, devised by Mother Nature to lure me outside to play. It's 32 degrees out there. The lingering frost on the roof tops of the houses nearby confirm that fact.

Yesterday I was sorely tempted to take one of the motorcycles out for a spin, in search of some BBQ south of the city. But late that morning I took the trash out to the curb and my decision was made for me by the still-sharp northerly winds and temperatures in the high thirties. It struggled to reach the mid-40's by mid-afternoon. This morning a quick peek at the thermometer made my mind up for me about getting a run in early. Maybe tomorrow morning's temperatures will be a bit more moderate.

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A look at the long-range weather forecast is encouraging for next weekend's marathon event in Houston. All this coming week the weather forecast is a broken record: High's in the high 50's, lows in the low 40's with abundant sunshine every day. This pattern is forecasted to continue into the marathon weekend. It's perfect!

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On a sad note, there has been a beautiful long-hair grey cat in the neighborhood for many years. It passes through my yard regularly on it's daily rounds. Sometimes it takes a little break, lounging on my deck in the shade of the house before moving on. I know it's someone's pet because it's well-groomed and well-fed and, in the summer months, is often shaved giving it a "mini lion" look.

A couple of days ago, I noticed it crouched down - sort of hunkered up - on my patio in the cold and dampness of near-freezing temperatures. That seemed very odd to me. This is a classic body position of a cat that isn't feeling well. I eased the back door open and tried to approach the cat but it sensed my presence and quickly darted away, disappearing under my deck.

Here's the sad part. When I took the trash out to the curb yesterday, as I was walking back up the driveway toward the house, I spotted the cat lying on its side in the driveway, up near the house and near the teak bench that sits near my front door. This shady spot under the bench is another favorite resting and vantage point for various cats that cruise through my yard. But this cat was not under the bench, rather, was out in the open next to it. I suspected the worst, approaching the cat and giving it a nudge with my toe. It was dead.

I was heartbroken to see this. A beautiful cat - hopefully one that was loved and cared for and will be missed - suffering outside in the cold rain then dying alone, out in the open, sometime during that very cold night. I went inside and called the security office, asking if anyone had reported the missing cat. No one had, but he assured me that residents most definitely call Security when they've lost a pet. Not knowing who this lovely cat belonged to, and since keeping the body indefinitely was not an option, I had no choice but to bag the body and dispose of it. I'm still grieving for this cat today.

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