Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lessons From My Garden's Biggest Fan

One of the great rewards that comes with gardening is having others enjoy your garden. While my husband and daughter certainly appreciate the lush greenery and blooms in our yard, one family member really knows how to enjoy the garden to the fullest. Mooch.

Let's get some important business out of the way first. Other cat owners will argue otherwise, but I know that Mooch is, in fact, the best cat on the planet. Every night she waits for me to pull up in front of the house on my bike. Then she walks down the path to greet me. How is that not the best?

Mooch enjoys my garden like no one else. On hot days she rolls around on the cool grass. In rain, she shelters under the big fir or yew. She enjoys some alone time amid the iris and sleeps under the winged euonymous. When she's thirsty, a drink from the bird bath is in order. If she's feeling playful, there are lots of good bugs to hunt and snack on. Sometimes, she'll sit on the lawn chair and stare into space. I can always tell where she's been. Inevitably she drags some part of the garden into the house because it's stuck to her fur or tail.

Before you dismiss me as a crazy cat lady (although there's plenty of evidence to back up that characterization), I'm not saying any of this cat behaviour is extraordinary in any way. In fact, as far as cats are concerned, it's downright ordinary. But I see something very special in that behaviour and it makes me appreciate my garden more. Mooch already knows that a garden isn't meant to be admired from afar. It's meant to be lived in.

On a recent trip to the garden centre, my daughter asked if she could pick out a new ornament for our yard. Of course, I said yes. Without any prompting, she decided on a wind chime featuring a happy cat under the moon and stars. I think she made an excellent choice.

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