If I were a believer of omens and evil signs, I would have been shaking in my boots the whole day. Fortunately, I’m not big on omens (and I didn’t wear boots today).
The entire southern wall of my study is a huge glass window/sliding door, covered at night by floor-to-ceiling curtains. Every morning I go into the study and whip open the curtains to let in the light. It doesn’t hurt that, when I do, I find myself looking at the wooded hill across the creek that runs in front of my study. In spring, the hill is covered with new green leaves and colorful flowers. In summer it is full and deep green. In fall, the green of the tall pine harmonizes perfectly with the crimson of the Japanese maples. And in winter, the bare branches stand stark against the white snow on the ground.
It is this last scene that I usually see when I open the curtains in the morning, but it wasn’t what I saw this morning. The branches and the snow were still there, of course, but when I pulled back the curtains in one swift, sweeping gesture, I saw a black cat walking by directly in front of the window. Its head snapped toward me and it froze, one of its front paws raised in mid step. I froze as well, my arms raised above me like Moses parting the Red Sea. We stood there motionless and staring at each other for at least thirty seconds, and then the cat decided that maybe I was just a statue (a statue that opens curtains, but whatever) and put its paw down and looked away. I watched as it continued on its way, creeping toward the compost pile where it would dig up its breakfast. I had no desire to go out into the morning cold to chase it away, so I turned back into the house to attend to my own breakfast.
As I scrambled some eggs and poured them into the frying pan, I imagined the cat going back to his buddies after breakfast and saying, “You’ll never believe this, but on my way to the food pile this morning I was passing by the window and suddenly a human appeared there! I am so going to have bad luck today.”
For the record, nothing bad happened to me today—if you don’t count my decision to share these dreadfully dull and unfunny thoughts in another meaningless note, of course. Other than that, today went swimmingly. (Heh. I just noticed that this is the thirteenth note. How fitting. No, wait, I mean: just as I planned it.)