In forty-eight hours I shall be at Cousin’s. I’ve missed autumn, and now it’s the build up to Christmas and the shortest days of the year. I’m anticipating dark afternoons wearing a hi-viz jacket when walking Westie Boy, heat from the wood burning stove, and a cold bathroom.
What I hadn’t been anticipating until a text came this afternoon were cats. But I now know three cats have joined the household. What Westie Boy makes of them I am eager to see. Why three, what they look like and how they were acquired, I have no idea. I’m hoping they are able to come indoors. Cold evenings are the perfect time to have a warm cat on your knee.
The plan is to see Uncle Bill on Thursday, so that’ll mean a trip to Belfast. I hope there’ll be a second trip too, but a week goes by very quickly. I’d like to go to the Fintan O’Toole lecture at Heaney Homeplace, but that’s on Thursday too, and I don’t think it’d work. Anyway, who would I go with?
A year ago it’d have been Ann D, but she since died. I think this visit is where I will have to accept that death has happened, because from here I find it impossible to imagine Cousin’s without Ann’s presence and conversation. Maybe that’s where the cats will come in. Cats for comfort and distraction.
I suspect as I walk the lane and pass the entrance to the driver that leads to her house my thoughts will be with Ann pretty often. I’ll take a book of poetry she gave me, or poems we shared when she was in hospital, read them to the wind and the fields and hope her spirit catches an echo or a whisper of them somewhere.
The countryside will have shed its summer colours and be hunkered down for winter.
I suspect Toots will still find herself a comfortable spot on the sofa, and Pip will hunt whatever pale sun shines through the windows.
I’ll soon be able to tell you if I’m right.