I’ve surrounded my bed with the last of this season’s peonies. Bouquets cover every surface and the whole room is pink and intoxicatingly perfume-y—very glamorous, darling, really. Even so, I have to laugh at myself. Is this a botanical version of “if you build it, she will come?”
I consider nothing more luxuriant than waking naturally, unprompted by an alarm, fixing a cup of strong coffee with cream, and then settling back into bed amidst a drift of peonies, pillows, sheets, unread books. A mild wind fluttering through the curtain, a kitten poised at the open window’s sill. And silence. Voluptuous, soft silence. Yes, yes, another effusive post that could be chalked up to much ado about nothing. But I never forego the power in appreciating small pleasures. It allows you to find happiness pretty much everywhere.
One of the great satisfactions of rescuing a stray kitten, as I did five years ago this week, is that her affection is so hard-won that she opens my heart a little wider each time she creeps into my lap, or the crook of my arm as I am reading, or beneath my palm so that I may scratch her ears just-so, just-so. I know how much it takes for Grace to push past her fears to offer me her belly–lord knows what happened on the semi-mean streets of Brooklyn in the six weeks of her life before she showed up on the stoop of my heart–and I know how much I’ve had to quiet myself to become the gentle being to whom she dares offers herself. With each animal-human relationship comes great lessons and greater pleasures if we allow ourselves to receive them. I’ll say it one more time: I’m so happy to be a cat lady.