I didn't quite tell the entire story about our "first day of school" ceremony. From my post the other day it sounded really magical and amazing, didn't it? It was all that, I assure you, but real life is never all sweetness and rainbows.
The whole story is something quite different. Somewhere between the sweetness and the rainbow we had a bit of chaos. We went directly from singing to shrill screaming, crying, and panicked voices. There was a rush of adrenaline, the scattering of children, and the sucking in of breath.
Sounds pretty curious, doesn't it?
It was all the cat's fault. Remember how he was bringing frogs into the house? This past weekend he figured out how to catch birds, and he went a bit crazy. Three birds in two days. On Sunday he brought a baby wood pigeon to the back door and left it in a pool of its own liquid. Not nice. Later that afternoon he snared a European robin. We were not happy with him, but not surprised either when he darted through the middle of our rainbow ceremony with a juvenile wood pigeon in his clutches.
Darn cat. Sunburst ran after him screaming at the top of her lungs and waving her arms wildly. The other two children followed suit. And somehow they managed to separate both bird and cat, and Sunburst hauled the cat off to lock him in the house.
The poor bird! The cat managed to rip out all of its tail feathers and a good portion of its flight feathers. The good news is that it was alive and it could walk. We watched it hobble off and hide under the evergreen, surely trying to recover from the shock of almost being eaten by a ferocious beast. We gave it some space and returned to our ceremony, a rainbow after the storm. When we were finished, the bird was gone.
We looked and looked, but couldn't find it. We hoped it was safe-- what else could we do? We went inside and carried on with our day, keeping both cats locked inside for good measure. We looked again throughout the day, but since there was no sign of the pigeon, we attached several large Christmas bells to the cats' collars and let them back outside.
With giant bells, the cats are absolutely pathetic. The entire neighborhood can hear them coming. They can barely manage to catch bugs, let alone birds. That is until yesterday, when our male cat finally found the one bird he could catch-- the one he already rendered flightless. He darted by the kids with the same wood pigeon as before in his mouth. This time we cornered the bird and caged it. I read that it takes anywhere from three to six weeks to regrow tail feathers, maybe even longer. If the bird lives that long, then hooray. I'm skeptical, but I'm not sure if we have any other options. At least it's eating. For now.
So the letter P is for.... Pigeon. Of course it is. Oddly, the first two letters Kitty Bill drew this week were W and P. Wood Pigeon?! Talk about a weird coincidence.
The other strange coincidence is that Einstein and I are celebrating our fifteenth wedding anniversary this week. Fifteen years! And it all started with a pigeon-- more specifically, a rock pigeon. We were sitting at an outdoor cafe, completely blind to each other's existence, when a friendly pigeon hopped up on Einstein's table and stole the straw from his iced coffee. He sat there playing tug-o-war with this pigeon, and I found the entire thing hilarious. He heard my laughter and turned, smiling at me, and we were instantly smitten.
We actually celebrate Pigeon Day every year, and it falls during our wedding anniversary week. Only this year we have an actual pigeon. It's a little worse for wear, but it's still a pigeon. As you can see, we have no choice but to try to save it.
After fifteen years of marriage, Einstein and I look a little worse for wear, too. No marriage is perfect, but most of the time it feels pretty close to that. Like pigeons, who mate for life, we're in it for the long haul. Until we're bald and flightless... and then some.
So the letter "P" and the number 15... and I suppose "W" deserves some credit, too. Wedding anniversary. Wacky week. And when the post is delivered in the morning, I'm sure I'll have to answer the question, "Why on earth is there a pigeon in your foyer?"