2012-01-20 - 10:51 a.m.

It's cold. I love the winter and I've always loved the winter but it's always been a bittersweet, guilty love of mine. Winter is brutal. I love it so much because I get to be out there in the bracing cold, I get to build snowmen and be surrounded by that heavy silence you can only get when there is snow on the ground...and then I can go inside and have hot tea and take a hot bath and bundle up in fluffy pajamas and get into my warm bed with my heating pad and warm steam vaporizer. I love contrast. If I could always have a perfectly chilled swimming pool (I like the water to almost take my breath away) I might learn to enjoy summer.

Anyway...the winter...I've always felt terrible about my love for it. I know there are so many creatures out there suffering because of it. I know there are people who are dying in it, people who actually FREEZE TO DEATH. It's horrible and how can I be such an awful person to love a season that is so awful for so many people and animals?

This year I feel particularly crappy about my love/need for it. Because of god damn cats.

Ever since we moved here I have left tid bits of food out side. I know I shouldn't but I can't help myself. It started happening when I saw a cat in the driveway and I started putting food out for him. (that cat is now part of our family, he is currently snuggled into hsi usual spot on my bed sleeping soundly) I would look out the window periodically to see if he was eating or if he was there at all and I would often find an opossum or raccoon eating there instead. So I'd put more food out. And that would also get eaten. It got so that I couldn't throw any leftovers way because I would feel so guilty about food wasting away in the garbage can when there was so obviously a creature or five hundred out there that would eat it. So leftovers started going out. Then I made opossum boxes for the porch so in the winter they could go in there for protection. And they did! The opossums would hang out in the boxes. So we put heating pads in there. And blankets. And that was a great winter for opossum watching. I was in heaven. Every once in a while I would see a cat, but not very often.

So THIS year, for the first time in four years...there are suddenly lots of cats around. First there was that crazy black one appeared at the front door, SCREAMING TO GET IN, at three in the morning. (he hasn't left, he is in the garage now in a heated bed) And of course there is the other black one who has been around for a while but he won't let me near him. And there's a fat black and white one who must belong to someone because he lets me pet him from time to time and yet he doesn't seem to want to come in, he just wants food. And there have been lots of other sightings of cats we've never seen eating on the porch in the middle of the night. They are often snow covered and matty furred and sad. Now, for the last couple days, there has been a tiny tuxedo kitty living in one of the opossum boxes. And it's so cold out. And it's making me so sad. It runs whenever we walk out or drive in. But it's been eating and sleeping in the box (with a heating pad) so it's better off than a lot of other animals out there. I wish that winter could be gentle, no temps below thirty and enough snow to blanket and soften things. Then I could enjoy it and not feel so awful and guilty about it.

Poor creatures...I hope you all find shelter from this.


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