"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


We put Crystal, my NY Times cat, to sleep on Friday morning. I held her as she breathed her last. So this Sunday, when I went out to get the Times from the driveway, rather than sit on the leather couch where Crystal would crawl up in my lap, I went out on the back porch, coffee in hand, counting on listening to the birds and spending some time alone.

But then I hear a "Meow," and across the lawn comes a grey and white cat, saying good morning and brushing up against my leg.

I first saw this cat Saturday about midday, sitting close to the yard in the shade, staring at me. It wasn't afraid, but didn't come when I called it. Then last night, as we went outside in the front yard to view the full moon, I felt something against my leg. She was rubbing up against it, asking to be petted. She had a collar on, so I figured it was somebody's neighborhood pet, even though I'd never seen it before. We gave it some water, and a little food, and said goodnight, thinking how strange this was. I wondered about its name, and decided I'd name it "Omen," because, well, you get the idea. We went back inside and called it a day.

And here it came this morning. More water, and more food--which it hungrily devoured, while I was reading the Times. Then it hops up in a chair beside me, and relaxes, as only cats can do.

What is this? Coincidence? Omen? I don't know, but as I'm writing this on the back porch, Omen came back and sat down beside me. At least it's an outdoor cat, although it wants to come inside. Dust on its feet and a burr in its tail tell me that. I don't see any evidence of fleas, but am not too sure about letting it in and introducing it to Max, the other indoor cat we have, who definitely misses Crystal.

I've asked the neighbors it they belong to it, and they said no, that they first saw the cat only in the last two days, and that it was friendly. I don't know if it has been abandoned, or what. The collar is decorated, but no name on it. I'll keep asking around the subdivision, all the time wondering, why did a new cat show up to help me read the Times a day after my NY Times cat died?

Omen doesn't seem to care. Right now it's snoozing away two feet from me as I write.

I didn't mean this to be a cat column. I'm a dog person. But I think I know an omen when I experience one.

ursa th' professa'

1 comment:

  1. My son's cat lost his battle last week. It's hard losing friends - both four- and two-legged. It's the memories that sustain us. My condolences on your loss.


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