Well, we made it home all safe and sound. It is a VERY long way from Lisbon, Portugal to Lebanon, Missouri. Our flights were all smooth, there were no delays, our connections were perfect, the weather was good, security was routine but not completely uneventful, and the traffic on the Interstate on the way home was smooth.
Our house was here all safe and sound in spite of the fact that we had record rains during the month we were gone. Every river we crossed on the way home bore evidence of that fact: all of them were high and many of them are out of their banks. I was able to pick asparagus from the vegetable garden as I walked around checking the place out, and my peas are about three inches tall now. All the spring flowers are in full bloom and the place is just beautiful. It is supposed to get cold tonight, but that’s okay because the grapes have not yet broken dormancy and none of the fruit trees are blooming either.
Ruby, of course, was ecstatic to see us, and has spent all afternoon having the ball and her toys thrown for her. It looked like a cat exploded in the truck where Smokey sleeps. He didn’t always make it into the house when our housesitter was ready to go to bed, so he slept out there a lot. This is his favorite place to nap anyway, so it was okay. Plus it is spring and he is shedding something fierce.
I am sorry to report that the first task we had to take care of was to bury Mike. After a long slow decline, he died peacefully under our bed where he always slept (when he wasn’t occupying the warm spot in front of the fire) during the night of March 30. We put him under the big pines in the corner where he loved to hang out in the hot summer afternoons. That time of year there is a tangle of grape, virginia creeper and bitter root vines over there, and the birdwatching is great. I had a volunteer autumn clematis and a red cedar that both needed to be moved out of the hosta garden. So I planted them on his grave and put a nice flat piece of ripplestone there as a marker. That stone was his particular favorite rock to sit on out on the root cellar mound, and I figured it would look just as good over under a cedar tree as it did there.
I can’t say I was surprised to find he had died. I knew he was dead the whole time we were in Spain and Portugal because I could no longer make the energy connection to his physical self. We had a powerful bond.
Mike was a very special cat, he had the most unique voice of any cat I have ever had, especially when he was in the warrior mode. Then he did not screech so much as yodel his war cries — they were the most blood curdling sound I have ever heard a cat make. There was no question that he was angry and ready to tear you up when he was singing that song. I have the slice marks on my wrist to prove it too, being so unwise as to pick him up to take him in the house when he was in the middle of one of those performances. So I can honestly say that Mike was a cat who made his mark on me permanently.
May the rabbits in his Elysian fields always be young, slow and tender.
Now, I must do laundry. And unpack. And download pictures.
It is good to be home.