July 18, 2012
“What?? Pat Wenger, come back here fast…there’s a bobcat sitting in my birdbath!” Now can you imagine any sane woman not speculating about the sanity of one who thinks she sees a bobcat in her birdbath? But Pat came running and there it was: a bobcat in the birdbath! How absurd. No bobcat wanders into a residential neighborhood, spots a house with a birdbath and settles into it. If he wanted water there is a small lake just beyond my fence that would be a more comfortable fit. Pat ran to get her iPhone; I kept my eyes on Birdbath Bob. My horror at what I saw was not just that he did not belong where he was, he was doing what he was not supposed to do: use my birdbath as a latrine. When he turned to get out, he paused on the edge of the birdbath; his eyes narrowed; he saw us looking at him through the window. He seemed to relish our witness of his inappropriate behavior. He then hopped to the ground and headed for the back gate. My first thought was, “How’s he going to get out? He doesn’t know the gate code.” Of course, like any cat, he leaped onto the fence and walked it deftly toward my neighbor’s yard. But before he left mine he paused, looked back at the window and let out a menacingly deep-throated hiss. I assumed he meant to be taken seriously. I had taken him seriously! Normally I have my “Jesus, Tea N’ Me” in the backyard a few feet from Birdbath Bob’s latrine. Now Jesus and I remain sheltered inside (at least I do….). Kipp, my beloved hero and landscaper, cleaned the mess up for me this morning. I was relieved and grateful beyond words. However, his sobering observation to me was that the deposits in the birdbath had been accumulating for several days. Birdbath Bob had visited a number of times; I had only seen him once. When I groaned about future visitations, Kipp said, “Unless he likes the smell and feel of bleach, I think Bob has placed his last deposit with you.” I’ve been pondering Bob. His lurking presence feels menacing to me but he is nonetheless a spectacularly gorgeous creature. The makings on his ears, the spots on his coat and his elegant agility inspire a reluctant admiration. I’m mindful he is a God-creation. In its original state, this earth was populated with beauty devoid of menace; unmarked by the consequence of disobedience. The world and its inhabitants lived in peace and harmony. Isaiah speaks of God’s intent to one day restore earth to its lost place of peace and harmony. “But they’ll all eat together like friends—wolf and lamb, lion and ox. When that day arrives, there will be no evil, no violence, no hurt or wrong….” (Isaiah 65:25 The Voice) That’s a fantastic anticipation. But there is an “in the meantime” clause that is important for my present life on this present earth: Keep an eye on the birdbath!