Tag Archives: cats

Summer Memories

As I sit at a new small wooden table with my brother Holger under the Linden tree, a slight drizzle ensues. The table — a birthday present — is made of a very unusual wood. I don’t know what kind of wood it is, but it has a wonderful aromatic smell and it changes to a darker color when it gets wet, revealing the intricate pattern of the wood grain. Wood grain has always had an attraction for me — nothing compares to its natural beauty. We are enjoying the last of the late evening summer light under the canopy of the old tree, listening to the stream, and enjoying the smell of rain in the air. “Oh crap, my laundry!” I jump up and run behind the barn to retrieve several towels and some pants that I had hung outside to dry. I keep forgetting, that unlike California, where its dry from May until November as a general rule, the rain has its own timetable and playful unpredictability in Germany. Oh good — the laundry got only slightly wet — I hang it over some chairs in the barn. My brother grins at Mr. Forgetful, as I reemerge from the barn. “Wipe that smile off your face!”

I can be as quiet as a church mouse, but when I come from the barn in the morning to go into the house, I am always detected by Holger’s dog Moana. “Good morning girl!” She rolls on her side, and I rub her tummy as she wags her tail — a happy dog. As I turn on the burner under the water kettle, I see a tiny snail stuck to the outside of the top window pane. That’s quite a climb you have accomplished there Mr. Snail — your own skyscraper assent. I wonder what inspired such an endeavor.

The four wild cats have detected me as well, and are jumping up against the glass door, paw prints everywhere. Alright, alright, already — one order of crunchies and warm milk coming up. Usually I can pet them just a bit when the milk is served, as greed then outweighs fear, although they still shrink back or dart away sometimes. There are two new wild kittens, one of whom I am able to pet now, as he has discovered the milk dish. The kitten usually shows up only at dusk though.

It’s time for a walk with Moana. She has waited patiently for me to drink my cup of tea. She loves the morning walk through the forest, and as we get to the large downslope, she waits behind the same tree where she always waits on every walk, looking expectantly at me to throw a rock down the slope. When I throw the rock, she goes tearing down the hill after it at breakneck speed, once in a while even overtaking the rock. She doesn’t necessarily return the same rock that was thrown however. But then again, retrievers are not exactly know for being the brightest bulbs. The rock is then proudly carried in her mouth all the way back to the barn. She has a collection of them next to the stream, some of which I occasionally take to reuse on the walks.

Skipping to evening: the Linden tree, the barn, the house and the meadow have all melted into a charcoal darkness. A few bats — fleeting shadows — are flying over the stream (briefly barked at by Moana until I hush her) gathering up lots of mosquitos one hopes. Blink, blink, blink — three fireflies have appeared. I love fireflies, one of God’s prettiest creations. I opt now to go for the same walk I usually take in the morning, to see if I can meet more fireflies. It’s almost pitch black now. I am rewarded soon: more and more fireflies turn off and on here and there, occasionally illuminating the silhouette of a tree. They make me so happy. On the way back, I count twenty-five of them, or did I miss a few?

Have a blessed week

Cats and Dogs

I went out for brunch yesterday, well — perhaps “Linner” would be a better word, as it was already pretty late in the day. The place I sometimes go to had its outside tables set up  — I noticed with joy, as I love to sit outside when the weather is good. The waitress brought me a menu to peruse, and as I did, an older couple sat down opposite from me, at the remaining table, which had four empty chairs. They had two spaniels with them — both on leashes — pink in color — so I’m guessing girls. The larger of the two spaniels hopped on one of the remaining two free chairs, filling almost the entire chair. What a big butt I thought to myself, and pretty audacious and spoiled for a dog, usurping a chair like that. The dog must have read my thoughts, because it turned around and gave me a stare that was quite unpleasant. I must exercise caution in my thoughts. The waitress at this point brought out a take-out box filled with water, that the other dog — who was properly lodged under the table welcomed eagerly, by lapping up some of the water. The tension was thus eased all the way around. As I waited for my order to arrive, I started to read a new book that had just come in the mail — a narrative from a cat’s perspective. Funny enough, the first chapter dealt with the unruliness of dogs. Better not laugh out too loud, as the rotund resident in the chair opposite from me might decide to turn around and glare at me again.

After finishing my meal, I strolled back towards my apartment and saw a car with two bumper stickers: One read “Life is short, play with your dog”, the other said “cat mom”. A fair distribution of both species in the same household, I thought to myself.

My last stop along the way was to pet an old golden retriever, who usually trods slowly up to the fence when he sees me, tail wagging — always happy to be petted.

Have a blessed week

Fish bones


I took a small excursion the other day to stock up on kindling and fire starters to make my fireplace happy and productive, and to try to keep my loft warm. The temperatures have been in the mid to upper 30s at night, and that’s way too cold for the Bay Area the local residents, myself included tend to think. Having completed my purchase, I decided to take a stroll in a nearby small town, grab a cup of coffee, and to have a look around. I walked past a pet store and a cat bowl with fish bones caught my eye. Now if I were a cat and had a say in the matter, then this would be my choice of dining apparatus, so acting on my cat’s behalf, I went inside to inquire the price, which seemed reasonable. I chatted a bit with the salesperson who seemed glad for some conversation, as I was the only one in the store on this quiet winter weekday. So, as you can see from this photo, my cat Calvin is now the proud owner of a brand new red fish bone bowl (try saying that quickly three times). I must humbly confess though, I did not observe any joyful jumping up and down, or other excessive expressive celebrations on Calvin’s part, at having received his new bowl. The consumption of the dispensed canned cat food contents seemed to be the only concern as usual.

Have a blessed week, and perhaps some fish stew (without bones).

Matthias Leue