I remember a winter’s day, long ago. My mum and I had completely finished our hearth project, with its peachy-tan grout and smooth-textured, ash grey tiles. Buddha, the large, black cat with marble green eyes, instantly sprawled on those cool tiles before a freshly-built, impassioned, late-morning fire of orange ludic flame.
As early darkness swathed the little room, shadows began to swim across the pale walls and stream along the textured ceiling.
A little copper pot with patterned slats carved in its raised lid, bubbled and hummed gently atop the coal-black, wood-burning stove. Mesmerizing plumes of pale steam crawled through the air and dissipated over us.
The room smelled of wood, cranberry and cinnamon.
There was charcoal on my hands.
Wee sparrows and chickadees floated just outside the window. They underwent a final prance in the frigid air and suddenly vanished- to roost for the night in the quiet forest just beyond our little abode on the hill.
We painted together, that day, as evening descended.
Snow was flitting in coy wisps outside and an ardent wind was whirling around, sculpting sharp-edged snow statues in the yard.
Cats pranced about us as we painted on the floor. The wily felines attempted to surreptitiously dip their paws in the white and the blue, for snow and sky; the slate grey for shadow; and the hint of smoky evergreen for glisks of spruce.
The tuxedo cat, Katey Blue, managed to succeed, her white socked foot with the little black spot, coated in vibrant red, for cardinals. She deposited wee red paw-prints on the great slab of wood we were painting, quickly covered by an evening sky filled with tortuous flakes of snow, creating a pinch of flowing purple.
We finished our acrylic mural, Kate smiling as she left more prints on the floor that were quickly mopped up, the house reverberating with our chiming laughter and Kate’s haughty feline chortles.
We carried our collaborative work out back onto the snow-swathed deck to spray it with an acrid-smelling sealant. Buddha escaped onto the snow-clad surface, gliding and sliding like a child, and proceeded to make snow-balls with his giant, furry black paws, batting his creations up into the air playfully in a flurry of snow.
When we had completed our task, we opened the sliding door to recede back into the warmth of the house. The giant cat bolted back inside beneath our feet as we stumbled along and instantly flobbed before the fire in a serene and palpable peace- as if he had never left.
We continued toward the front door with our mural and soon were out in the gelid snow-scene once more, Kate looking on, with the air of a feline prophet, lime-green eyes gleaming through the glass of the side-window.
We set the mural of four gruntled, spritely carolers out front, before the silent white flowerbed cast in blue shade, illuminated in the beam of a spotlight, where flickering flakes of snow could be seen cursitating and swirling swiftly in the night.
Goodnight Greetings from the fire-side,