Much later, my actual cat was suddenly eager to go out. I stepped onto the porch with her, and heard the soft crunch of gravel across the street. Then I knew what had attracted the cat's attention. I shone my flashlight into the darkness and saw three deer feeding on my neighbor's rose bushes. Not wanting to disturb their snack, I turned off the light and merely listened to them. I heard at least five sets of hooves pass along during the next few minutes. In the dim light cast from my window, I could see my cat intently watching the deer. As the small herd made its way toward the orchard, the sound of their footfalls diminished, and the night was silent but for the song of the crickets. I made my way to the street and directed the light toward the rose bushes. Of the few dozen blooms which had been there last evening, only a few remained.
The slightest of breezes now stirs the trees, inviting me to return outdoors. Perhaps the clouds have cleared enough to reveal Orion again, and bright Venus. Whether they have or not, the morning air is fresh and cool, and I will enjoy listening to the dry grass rustle and the first birds chirp and take fluttering wing.