Cleaning out files and scanning the important stuff in preparation for the Big Move, I found this handwritten entry on a yellow legal pad that I must have written in-between HVAC service calls:
This morning I threw away the dead cat I picked up off the road yesterday, driving home. I pulled my work van over into a church parking lot and got a plastic bag from the door cubby where I keep them. I walked back up the road and for a moment I thought I could see the shallow breathing in its rib rage. But it was just the wind blowing its calico hair. I picked up the cat with the bag in the manner of cleaning up after a dog, and carried the dead animal back to my truck as a car passed by. Probably thought I’d hit it myself. The bag was much heavier than I expected. A big cat. No collar. And I was startled to see one eye popping out. So round. Like a marble. When I got home my wife told me that she’d passed it twice that day, grimacing each time she slowed down to drive over it, hoping not to catch a fender. It was better to remove the cat while it was still whole, I thought. Before it was obliterated into a red pancake. Too bad for the vultures. I robbed them of dinner.
Then, after my first call, still feeling sore from the yard work I did yesterday, I stopped in my customer’s driveway to watch a monarch butterfly quivering on the cement. Its right wing was torn a little, and it still had a long way to go to Mexico. How such a little thing can fly in the cold wind such a long distance was an inspiration. The news has been bleak for humans. The decline of civilizations, my future is less bright than I thought it was when I was a younger man. My pregnant wife and all that entails.
This morning my dog jumped down from the bed right before my alarm went off. I thought I’d kicked her off and immediately reached down to pick her up and apologize. She puked on the covers–something she does after a big fall.
Everything feels so fragile.