Ah, spring in northern Maine. That time of year when a person’s fancy turns to mud, potholes, frost heaves and — for the lucky few — starry-eyed romance.
That’s right, love is in the air here on Rusty Metal Farm. Cupid has apparently made it through the melting snow and over the rutted roads to shoot his arrows straight at the heart. What started out with casual glances and shy exchanges of a few utterances has blossomed into full-scale love.
What can I say? When it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be and regardless of differences in backgrounds, ages, political views or species, true love will always find a way.
Oh, but it’s not me.
Rather, this is a rather fluffy tale of two star-crossed critters which fate, and a full bird feeder, have thrown together.
It all started a couple of weeks ago when I noticed that my younger cat, Miss Kitty Carlisle, was spending a lot of time in the evening, just after dark, staring out the living room bay window.
I’d get up, look outside but could not see anything on the snow banks or under the tree next to the house. As I’d scan the outsides, she’d alternate between staring intently out and gazing wistfully up at me.
Figuring she was staring at her own reflection, I let her be and went back to Netflix.
Then, one night my older curmudgeon cat, Reggie, was also staring outside.
This time, there was indeed something out there — a massive, fluffy red and gray fox just several feet from the window. He was eye level thanks to the pile of winter snow — and looking back in.
He scooted off the minute I flicked on the outside light, but he didn’t go far.
Much to her annoyance, I did not let Miss Kitty Carlisle out at night after spotting the fox. I had a — perhaps irrational — fear he was viewing the cats behind the glass the same way seafood restaurant patrons view lobsters in the tank: as his next meal.
After a night or two, he seemed to have stopped coming around, so I felt OK letting the cat out at night until Reggie — not unlike an overprotective father on prom night — alerted me something was amiss outside.
There, in his fluffy glory, was the fox — whom I have since named Beau. Only several feet away was Miss Kitty Carlisle and the two had locked eyes.
Anticipating a cataclysmic — no pun intended — attack in the making, I dashed outside and shooed a very reluctant Miss Kitty Carlisle back inside as she cast a come-hither look over her shoulder at Beau. For his part, Beau sauntered off in an overly casual, too-cool-for-school manner.
So it struck me. Beau was not here looking for a meal. Beau was here looking for love and had apparently found it with Miss Kitty Carlisle.
The next time we saw him out the window I swear she looked up at me with eyes that said, “Isn’t he just dreamy?”
For the last week or so he’s been a steady visitor, and if I don’t see Beau, I hear his distinctive fox bark near the house. It’s sort of like the upstart teenager who, instead of coming to the door to collect his lady love, sits out in his car at the curb blasting the horn.
And, not unlike the parents of that teenage girl, I refuse to allow Miss Kitty Carlisle out with her beau Beau until he comes to the door, knocks and politely introduces himself.
So far, that has not happened.
But Beau has certainly become part of the Rusty Metal Farm routine and everyone wants to get in on the act.
Playing the role of the annoying little sister, Chiclet wants nothing more than to be let loose to run after Beau barking and chattering up a storm. As the elder male of the household, Reggie simply looks on with annoyance. His entire expression is one of, “Get the hell out of my yard, kid,” when Beau shows up.
As for me? Well, who am I to stand in the way of true love?
I mean, a cat could do worse. Beau is well-groomed, healthy looking and appears well-fed meaning he is capable of taking care of himself.
On a recent morning, Beau showed up just after sunrise, and I looked out to see him at my bird feeder, eating sunflower seeds. Apparently, he is also a vegan. It also explains why I have been going through sunflower seeds at an accelerated rate the past several weeks.
So, springtime infatuation or the start of a beautiful relationship, I’ll let it take its course.
That is, after Beau politely knocks at the door, ideally holding a bouquet of flowers. And they had better not break curfew.