Sunday, January 13, 2008


Yesterday I gathered up my big bag of books and moleskines, my laptop case, and my camera, and marched it all up the stairs to my garret. I intended to set myself up in my regular writing space, perhaps dust and straighten a little, and find some music to lull me back to work.

Dickens E. Wickens, aka The Cowboy, had commandeered my garret and my chair. His usual lair is in the hay room out at the barn, where he climbs up high and watches as barn swallows swoop in and out. He naps but he also works hard: patrolling fence lines, lying out in the fields with our horses, keeping tabs on the flocks of raven and crow, catching barn mice, monitoring riding lessons from the center of the arena.

Dickens checks out all visiting vehicles, inside and out. He sits owl-like on fence posts, tests the water in the troughs, dodges naughty ponies, and watches everything, our own sentry.

I've assured the Cowboy that he can take vacation days, we don't expect him to work so hard. We want him inside with us. His theme song is the Eagles' tune, Desperado, and I sing it to him sometimes when I find him lying out by the back field, alone and guarding the farm.

While I was on writing retreat, he apparently took me up on my suggestion. Some office time, settling accounts, tabulating how many mice he's captured, how many times he's sent Pharaoh (the neighboring cat) packing, how many miles he's traveled keeping the farm safe.

Or maybe he was simply keeping the chair warm for my return.


Matthew said...

A lovely description of an exceptional and well-loved cat.

billie said...

He has been inside most of today, sleeping by the woodstove.