Gr-Gr-Uncle’s Sad Fate

Our Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was WIDOWMAKER. I’ve never heard of this word, though I grasped the idea soon enough. Still, what might I might write in response to this prompt?

About ten minutes later our cat, Angus, came around the corner of the house with a mouse in his jaws. He rushed up the steps, intending to bring his prize inside, but that’s not allowed. The creature’s tail hung limp and lifeless, but you never know. They can fake it until the chance comes to dash under some furniture.

Anyway, my mind went back to the prompt and I thought, “Okay, here’s a tale…”

Widow-Makers

“”Quiet, children! Did you hear that sound?” Our mother trembled. Most of us froze, ears alert to the faint sound coming down through our tree stump.

Some of our siblings were still tumbling around, pulling each others’ tails. “Stop squeaking,” she hissed, reaching over to box their ears. “Everyone listen.”

The plucking, rasping sound was louder now and we all trembled a bit, wondering what it could be. She started shoving us into the corner farthest away from the door, whispering, “Don’t any of you dare squeak, or put so much as a whisker out the door.”

We all huddled in the corner until the sound stopped. Still Mother wouldn’t let us move around for a long time after.

“Mother, what was that sound,” one of our sisters finally asked.

“That, little ones, is the sound of THE CAT, a furious beast, sharpening its claws on a tree nearby. We must be silent whenever it’s near because if it hears any rustling, that monster will be over here in a flash, reaching in to snag whoever it can.”

By now we were all trembling. We’d heard many fur-raising tales about “THE CAT.”

Mother’s whiskers twitched wildly as she described the beast. “Its claws are viciously barbed. We call them widow-makers. Few mice ever escape those clutches. THE CAT has massacred dozens of our relatives.” She began wringing her hands “I do hope your father and brothers are safe. Snitching grain from the harvest field won’t be worth it if they lose their lives doing it.”

After awhile Father and our brothers came back and we could all relax. They told us all how they’d seen THE CAT and had hidden in another stump until the beast had moved on. Our brothers described THE CAT for us: a big furry monster with fiery golden eyes, HUGE paws and a long tail that it whipped around constantly. Oh, we were glad they hadn’t fallen prey to a beast like that!

But the sad news went round that evening when we mice gathered among the trees to visit our clan. We’d lost our great-great-uncle to THE CAT. Our great-great aunt is years younger than gr-gr-uncle and has perfect hearing; she shuddered as told us how she’d squealed a warning to him, but gr-gr-uncle hadn’t understood it. He’d poked his head out to see what was making that noise and spotted the cat. He’s kind of slow in his old age and didn’t duck back inside soon enough. THE CAT spied him and dived toward their hole, reaching in to snag gr-gr-uncle with its vicious barbs and carry him away in its jaws.

The mouse clan offered many sympathies to great-great-aunt, another widow in the daily battle for mouse survival. We’re all twice as cautious now. None of us want to be caught by those widow-maker claws.

Remembering Tuffy

We have another beautiful day ahead of us. Our two older cats have been out exploring and just came in for breakfast.

A month since he left us, I’m remembering our little Tuffy on this beautiful spring morning that he would have loved.

such a small creature
such a big hole left
to catch all the rain

Haiku In Haste

In yesterday’s post I mentioned an old Japanese haiku legend about the haikai master, Saikaku: he supposedly composed 23,500 verses in 24 hours. So I compose an hour’s worth of verses myself. Here are a few “looking out my window” haiku:

in my garden
an unwanted rooter
pig weed

north wind this morning
the scarecrow sheds his flowered shirt
for a white pullover

two dozen sparrows
cling to the caraganas
ornamental visitors

Image by GLady at Pixabay

Spring Fever?

What is so rare as a day in March,
when sunshine knocks out stiff winter’s starch
when the blanket of snow spills into a trickle
and bloggers once faithful to post become fickle?
Eschewing my blog I now lounge in the light
and – making things worse – have been painting at night.

Spring came to our land last week. In a few days the temp went from -30 to +3. The citizens went from parkas to light jackets. We love the sunny skies and seeing more and more of our lawns appearing!

Looking out the back window yesterday, I noticed a black dot like a stone, lying in the deep snow behind the house and realized that it was the tip of the fence post, buried for months under six feet of snow, now poking through. Two days ago I walked through the back yard, picking the spot where the bank was lowest. It was pretty hard-packed, but where my feet sank in, the snow was knee-deep, so we have a ways to go yet before the back lawn appears.

I’m not sure what’s with me these days, that I’ve abandoned writing and posting for a week. Is this spring fever? The utter abandonment of responsibilities? Too many irons in the fire? But I want to peek in today and say “Hi. Yes, I am alive and reasonably healthy.” To my newest followers, “Thanks for following. I hope you’re finding stuff to read in my archives.”

And I’ve gone from blogging every morning to cleaning house, getting rid of excess stuff, and spending a few hours splashing paint on canvas. Mediocre scenes maybe, but I’m just a beginner. After watching a few demonstrations I tried doing an impressionist style – which didn’t impress friends or hubby – but I think I’ll keep on splashing and dabbing. It looks so easy when I watch the pros do it!

OCD I have: everywhere I turn now, I see something I want to paint! So I reach for a new canvas, then my perfectionism kicks in and I’m afraid to start because I may make a mess of it. I spend too much time looking for a picture I think I could manage, but still have to tell myself often, “It’s okay to make an unrecognizable mess. That’s how you’ll learn.” Do any of you readers have these inner battles that keep you from starting some bold adventure?

Anyway, I hope you’re all enjoying life, in fairly good health, seeing lots of sunshine and blue skies wherever you are.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: BLANKET
Yesterday’s Prompt: CLEAR SKIES

A few haiku

key under the mat universal self-delusion

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parking lot valet
a well groomed magpie
cleans my grill

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tender little dove
how that peregrine ogles
your plump breast

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all those remarks
she should not have made
beetles in the rice

Midnight Tales

Our Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is WREST

One definition, according to M-W, is “to gain with difficulty by or as if by force, violence, or determined labor.” Our newest cat, Tuffy, though he’s only half-grown, doesn’t seem to have such great difficulty wresting small creatures from their hiding places, but I’ll use this word in my response. Since the writing prompt is to be a quick, fun thing I’ll offer my little rhyme.

The temperature has turned quite mild recently, to the delight of our cats. They’re ready to rush off to adventures whenever the door’s open. Yesterday Tuffy raced across the driveway, over the big snowbank on the other side left by the plow, and up into the crotch of a nearby tree. Heaven help the birds come spring! Last night when I let Tuffy out the back door he started nosing along the side of the trailer. Before long he stopped to investigate one spot intently.

 Outside in a flash
 nosing in the tall grass
 surrounding our dwelling,
 Tuff found a small swelling.

 Oh, joy! 'Twas a hole
 smelling strongly of mole – 
 or maybe a mouse
 entry into our house.

 A wee mole was stirring,
 his cat nature spurring
 his talon to wrest
 pipsqueak from its nest.

 That sad little creature
 became the prime feature
 in a game of delight
 for Tuffy last night.