Last night a deep darkness fell over the world and the shadow of the earth stole all of the colour and light.
As the clouds washed across the sky we watched. When only a sliver of silver still shone, a whisker of moon, the whole beautiful disc could be seen, and the moon borrowed for a while the copper colour from our coats to wear as a cloak until the shadow moved out into the darkness of the universe and she once more revealed her glory.
By day the moon is a pale, blue, swelling bigger with each day that passes and we wait, excited and hoping for clear skies.
The moon stalks Elmo as he sits on a high rock, bathing in the light of the setting sun. It is cold. The ice of the moon holds sway. In the morning it will have painted the world white with crystals of frost again.
Elmo shines like the sun in the winter tree and the moon shines through too.
At night the patterns of the moon are clearer, what is translucent and pale by day becomes patterned with white and gray. A hare on the moon.
This morning the earth is iron hard and sprinkled with frozen crystals from the moon. The sun, red as mouse blood, rises into a clear sky. We are fluffed up against the cold. Beneath our paws the leaves, made fragile by frost, crack and rustle. We sit and listen. We can hear the song of early morning birds, the falling crank-croak of a raven, a pheasant's raucous bark across the field and a distant bell toll. We can hear the song of the ice and sleepy mice and the dry wings of jackdaws rattle in flight. A distant dog, a murmur of sea, the song of the morning.
By day the moon has hung in the sky, translucent white against a rich , clear blue. Tonight Orion wears a cloak of silver and the sky is bleached of stars by the bright light of the moon. Only our moonshadow-black cats give us away this eve as we move through the pale light. The winding path to the house is silvered with the moonlight and fragments of ice from the moon sprinkle the grasses and leaves edging them with white frosting. Ice creaks on still water. It is cold. Whispered waves sound close in the crisp air. Inside the house is warm, a fire glows again. We sing a short song to the moon and hope for clear skies.
After days of blue sky we all woke this morning to a sky the colour and texture of the inside of an oyster shell, a pearly day, still, calm and quiet. We walked, just Her and me, over the hill, but our path was blocked by the wild ponies, so we skirted around them.
Brave as only a cat can be I stalked through the bones of last years heather flowers, and the ponies did not see me.
Across the hill I hunted, between tree and rock, a wild place. And then She thought to go an see the city of badgers. They would not be out now. They would be sleeping, for badgers are night time and dusk creatures. They would be sleeping, curled in their setts in nests of bracken and moss and their cubs would be curled tight too, for warmth and to keep away the dreams of daytime.
So, we followed the track over the hill to the small wood and the city of badgers and there were their setts and the signs of spring, scratchings and gatherings of clean nesting bracken. Closer I crept and She worried, for badgers are fierce and wild with paws so strong and claws as long as fingers. I stood, two cats tails away from one of the doorways, and secretly called.
And out came a badger, face striped and blinking. The badger ran from the one hole, skirted around me, down to the other, so shocked to see in the bright light of daytime, a creature coloured like the setting sun fallen on her doorstep. Too fast to photograph, as close as a whisker, and She so worried by the fierceness of the wild thing. I looked up at Her, and smiled a secret cat smile, and thanked the small striped bear of Britain for granting us an audience on this pearl of a day.
We were given an award the other day by some lovely aging cats. It is a "Friend of Dogs" award for someone who has a dog as a good friend. Now Bella and Pixie have been friends since they first met, when Bella decided that Pixie was a puppy who needed to be looked after.
Now she likes to make sure that Pixie keeps her ears clean and tidy. When we walk together they often sit in quiet companionship and look at the view. You know you have a good friend when you can sit together in a quiet space of comfort and companionship. Pixie will look around now, as she wants to be the one to pass the award on.
The moon is 36% full, a waxing crescent. Even so its bright light as it follows close behind the sun lights our nighttime fur with the faintest memory of ginger fire. Moonshadows are cast long and already a deep darkness is in them. When the moon is full there will be an eclipse. Then there will be a magic in the air as the light fades and stars come thick and rich into the darkest of nights and then the light floods back again as the earth's shadow moves away, back out into the infinite treasure of space. We are hoping for a clear night, a night of shadows and stars. Now an owl call over the fields, its soft call traces the path of its moonlit flight.
On the way home Elmo found the only mud puddle in Pembrokeshire. He looked into the water and saw a cat looking back at him, brown -ginger. He batted the cat with his soft paw pad and the mud cat batted him back. The sky in the mud world was as blue as the sky in his own world, and Elmo had found a new friend.
We would like to invite all cats and their owners, and their friends, to an exhibition in Marlborough in Wiltshire, England, to an exhibition of the paintings from The Snow Leopard. If you click on the picture above all the details for the exhibition are there. And we would like to thank Julia Worth for making such a beautiful invitation and poster for the exhibition. Very elegant.
We stand tonight in a bow of starlight. Tonight Orion once more wears his glittering cloak. It is a time of magic, a time of beginnings and the bone white new moon follows close behind the sun, moonset close to sunset. The sky is rich with stars. The wind has dropped and it is so quiet we can almost hear the footfall of the smallest cat's paw. We stand in the garden, tip back our heads and open our eyes wide to the sky. Tonight, if you stand in stillness, you can see the stars dance.
Another morning walk and the sunshine is warm and full of spring. Ginger bright, we headed for the hill top.
On top of the hill we walked like a wild pride, strong muscles sliding under beautiful fur, we flowed across the rocks and heather.
The arm of the land reached out into the sea, blue on the one side, shining silver on the other. Overhead birds flew and chittered and chased and worried at us. Small mouse trails criss-crossed our paths.
For a while we sat in the sunshine and held the warmth of the sun in our bright orange fur and looked at the sea and listened to the distant song of waves. Then home to rest and sleep.
There is a certain slant of light that shines bright on a ginger cat and makes every hair glow with an orange gloss.
Sunshine peeled us away from the stretched out comfort of the sofa of ginger and into the wilds. Although the wind on the top of the hill was cold the sunshine held a whisper of spring that could be clearly felt in sheltered places where fingers of wind could not reach. We could hear the sea on the faraway shore, rolling onto the sand.
A sky so blue, landscape still coloured by the russet bones of bracken and the sky criss-crossed by the vapor trails of distant dragons.
Around Pixie, on the rock, small brown bells that had been purple heather flowers rattled in the cold. Elmo hid in the dark sun shadow and watched the world moving towards spring, the buzzards circle together and the raven dance a courtship dance of joy.
Walking in the early morning as the light slipped slowly into the day, before the sun had risen and the dogs were wild with the scent of foxes everywhere.
The sky changed from a washed pale gray to deep blue as we walked and far away we could see the singing waves of the sea pulling ashore on the beach. Yellow flowers of gorse shone in the bushes.
On the way home our path was blocked by the huge horned ginger beast, shaggy eared and beautiful.
On the green road home we watched as the sunlight licked over the hedgebank and played with the emerald colours of fresh leaves and the deep purple of the blackthorn trees. And all the while the crescent moon rode the blue sky, high and veiled in a silver shimmer of cloud.
When first we started there were four of us, all ginger, and Max. Time has passed. The ginger pride are ghost cats, appart from Elmo. Now the house holds Max, oldest, tabby farm cat, dark, usually found sleeping on a cushion, Elmo, last of the Gingers, beautiful handsome and wonderful who still walks to the high hill top. And now there is Baggage and Bundle, silver mischief in sharp clawed kitten form. The adventures continue.