Cherry Tree, Lesson

There’s a cherry tree down the street who doesn’t know it’s still January. It has drawn its fleecy robe out of storage and shrugged into it, branch-fingers stretching out of the sleeves, the dryad inside blinking hazily.

I keep telling her to wait, to be sure, to be safe, that there could be a cold snap at any moment–but she doesn’t listen. She never listens, just laughs each year, always at least a month earlier than any other cherries, and forget the apple trees. They’re late, as far as she’s concerned.

I’m up and have had a bit of broth. My stomach is rolling and roiling like an angry sea. Our neighbor’s Big Cat What Thinks He’s A Dog–the only cat I’ve ever met whose belly was not a furry deathtrap–had to be put to sleep as a result of the saddle thrombosis. It’s usually a complication of invisible heart disease, strikes male cats more than female, and there’s very little that can be done.

Our neighbor’s devastated; Big Cat is her eldest, and she’s already had much grief in the past year and a half. The Little Prince, who found Big Cat after the initial attack, is looking a little pinched, despite me reminding him that he did everything right–in an emergency, the first step is to call Mum, which he did.

So yesterday was full of the arrangements to get Big Cat to his regular vet instead of the animal hospital I took him to on Sunday. He had enough gabapentin from the hospital that he didn’t seem to be in a lot of pain, but his poor back paws were cyanotic. Poor, poor little fellow.

I keep looking at Miss B, who is an Elderly Statesdog, and my eyes begin to prickle. We must do what we can and love as hard as we can; who knows what tomorrow brings?

That’s what the dryad keeps whispering. It’s her job, risky as it is, to take her ceremonial robe out of winter storage early, to remind us all. She’s incapable of caution when she has a task of this stature. Yes, there could be a cold snap at any moment…

…but there’s that cherry tree down the street, reminding us that winter isn’t forever, and to love flagrantly, deeply, often, too early, too much, always.

Even in the dark.