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Book of Days

BOOK OF DAYS: A POET AND NATURALIST TRIES TO FIND POETRY IN EVERY DAY

Filtering by Tag: Arizona

July 9: Hot Cat

Kristen Lindquist

Several years ago my husband and I were visiting Saguaro National Park in Arizona. Because it was about 100 degrees outside, we watched for birds at the feeders from inside the air-conditioned comfort of the visitors' center. While there, we observed a ground squirrel doing a strange thing under the feeders. It was lying splayed out flat on the ground, all four limbs completely outstretched, looking like it had been squashed. We wondered if it was ok. It eventually got up and ran off, as squirrels do, and we eventually came across the educational sign explaining that this is how overheated ground squirrels in the Sonoran desert cool off, by transferring their body heat into the ground.

The past few hot days my cat has been doing something similar. She's been (thankfully) shunning our warm laps and instead stretching out along the cool flat surfaces of a countertop or hardwood floor. It must be tough to be covered with fur in the middle of a steamy summer. First thing in the morning, though, and she's right back in her patch of sun at the front door. Domestic cats originated in the heat of the African deserts, after all. So she's clearly dealing with the heat just fine, in her way.

As we all do. A co-worker brought in a box of popsicles for us to share today. Another co-worker goes for a swim on her lunch break. I moved my exercise mat out to the back yard this evening so I could stretch under the shade of the leaves and feel the cool evening air on my skin. I let the cat out onto the porch where she seemed content to just lie there and look around. Then wisps of fog began to blow in off the water, moving fast overhead. And just like that, it wasn't hot anymore, so the cat and I came inside. So far, though, she's still avoiding my lap. (Uh oh, I spoke to soon... here she is...)

These long, sultry days
cat remembers ancestral
roots, Egypt's desert.