And so 2017 comes to a close not with a bang or whimper, but a mew.
A feral feline of unknown gender, who I’ve decided to call Bobbi/e, may have taken up temporary residence in our standalone garage, which is about 100 feet from our back porch. After the last few snows, I noticed paw prints tracking to and from the door; and, this morning, I spotted a ginger tabby cat slipping from the sliver of darkness into the light.
Once it’s closed, I should explain, the garage door gradually cracks open until it’s about six inches off the ground. And even if it didn’t, there’s a hole somewhere in the back, behind the boxes and old furniture that takes up much of what was once a two-car space. During the late-spring and summer months, for example, a groundhog family that lives behind (and below) the garage often uses it as a covered short cut. They’ll be grazing in the nearby grass when danger – i.e., me – steps onto the back porch, and off they go. Thirty seconds or a minute later, one peeks out from behind the garage to see if the danger has disappeared.
I’ve spotted a few other cats since, back in 2014, we moved into what was my parents’ house. One, another ginger, is a well-fed and well-groomed longhair; it obviously has a home. Another, however, is a scrappy-looking gray tabby that sometimes lounges on the front porch on sunny afternoons – like Bobbi/e, he’s probably descended from my family’s feline of the 1970s, Reilly, and his orange-hued missus. She appeared at our backdoor one day, heavily pregnant, and eventually gave birth behind the living-room couch. Which is to say, this house is likely ingrained in their DNA as a place of safety and refuge.
This morning, I stepped onto the porch to introduce myself to Bobbi/e as s/he padded down the driveway and s/he, in turn, mewed salutations before scampering off.
Anyway, my song for tonight is one that resonates far beyond the 45 released by Jackie DeShannon on April 15, 1965. In my Album of the Year essay for 2016, I wrote of its timeless quality as thus: “Somewhere there’s war, somewhere there’s heartache and somewhere some people hate while others fear. It’s not fair. It’s never fair. But it’s why the song resonates when it’s sung. It’s always true. The world needs love. Sweet love. Not for some. For everyone.”
And that is my sincerest wish for everyone in the coming year. No matter who or where you are, or what you’re going through, may peace and love find us all.