Readers, please accept my apologies. Spring has arrived in Vancouver and I’ve been lollygagging in the coastal sunshine, thus shamefully neglecting this blog. I wouldn’t blame you if you deserted me for some other, more prolific feline writer. Even today’s rather chilly cloud cover hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for what’s happening out in the neighbourhood, but a nagging desire to connect with my faithful readers pulls me back to the computer. Well, that and a shift in the weather pattern.
Never mind…I’m here now and I’d like to talk a little about the title of today’s blog post. Lollygagging…isn’t it a delicious, rolling-merrily-off-the-tongue kind of word? I first encountered it while reading an essay posted on a U.K. news website. To me, the word sounds very British but some wordsmiths think it originated in the U.S. in the mid-1900’s or thereabouts. Generally defined, it means loafing around or loitering aimlessly.
Now, please understand that I wouldn’t describe my recent lifestyle as idle or aimless, but to a human it might seem that way. A cat lying motionless in the grass may appear to be lazing around, but that is rarely the truth of the matter. The discerning observer will notice the avid eyes and slightly twitching tail that indicate an intense interest in every movement, every sound and every tell-tale aroma wafting through the air. Nothing escapes the heightened senses of a cat.
Case in point: a row of flowers has sprung up in our back yard. I believe they are the result of Miranda’s Autumn planting craze. She spent one whole weekend burying hundreds of funny-looking brown balls in the ground and now the ones by the garage seem to have sprouted into rivers of brilliant yellow flowers. I had no idea what they were called, but Jacob waxed poetic this morning as he looked at them:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of golden daffodils*
You mustn’t think that I remembered the whole verse. One word in particular did strike my fancy: daffodils. What a scrumptious-sounding word to add to my personal lexicon! The minute both providers left for work, I raced up to the computer and investigated. It wasn’t difficult to find the poem, written long ago by a human named William Wordsworth. Jacob had quoted the opening lines of the poet’s lyrical ode to the flowers which now brighten our own Spring garden.
I mention this because I have made a cosy retreat for myself amidst the daffodil foliage. Perhaps the golden blossoms serve to distract the eye, for no one who walks past our house seems to notice a brown-toned cat watching intently from the shadows of the flower stems. And that’s the way I like it. That noisy, slobbering dog who lives down the alley gallops into view and passes by without even yanking on his provider’s leash to leap over the fence and chase me. Periwinkle, my feline nemesis, looks for me in my usual spot under the neighbour’s car. To my delight, she has to admit defeat in her daily quest to annoy me as much as possible before breakfast. Best of all, I’m invisible to those nasty children from two houses over. No longer can they pelt me with pine cones and other projectiles. I am left in peace to survey the world from a different point of view than usual, which is a gift for a thinking cat like me.
I’m hoping that you now understand why I spend more time in the garden than at the computer these days. You may be pleased to hear that I will discipline myself to sit down and blog from time to time, when I can tear myself away from the flowers that delight, distract and disguise. I have never thought of myself as a poetic kind of cat, but lollygagging amongst the daffodils seems to cause unusual stirrings in my breast. I find myself in the strange (for me) position of having no words to describe this new experience. Perhaps I should try my hand at a bit of poetry, now that my appetite for waxing lyrical has been honed so well by Wordsworth. My first subject could be the bright blue eggs in the robins’ nest, or the furry caterpillars inching their way across the driveway. I confess to indulging in a little sporting play with the latter from time to time, but please don’t tell Miranda. Some aspects of my feline nature tend to stimulate a certain level of hysteria in some humans and Miranda is no exception.
In the poetic spirit, I will close with a couple of lines from Wordsworth’s poem, Ode: Imitations of Immortality From Recollections of Early Childhood:
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
*Daffodils, by William Wordsworth
Photo credits – Amongst the daffodil foliage: http://www.flickr.com/photos/angela7/431766281/
Belled cat: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jessicafm/61651106/