Eleven p.m. The last park of the evening. Gus busts out of the back door and pops into his hey-who's-out-there huff and puff. An owl howls in the north from the dark woods down the hill.
Mr. Henry leaps off the short wooden step and hits the "pea garden" running. He slides under my wooden arbor-seat with a rooster-tail of pea stone, turns and sits. What's that?!
The owl hoots again, this time a bit closer. Gus hops a few feet on stiff front legs and puffs his chest in his best act of protection. He throats a deep bark, yet holds his ground. Henry shrinks further under the seat.
The air feels like fall. I am glad for my hoodie, figuring I'm going to have to wait Henry out before he feels safe enough to park. I don't mind lingering. I look up. The past-new-moon sky is brilliant; after a few days of rain it is nice to be in awe of the Milky Way again.
The owl continues with a long, drawn out whoooo-who-hoot-whoooo! It seems even nearer. Gus woofs louder and my imagination goes wild. Is something rustling there in the brush? Why does an image of Bigfoot pop into my head?
Henry darts out beyond the pea garden onto the grass, pees and heads for the door. I don't mind that he parks on the grass this time.
Let's go inside! Gus whips around and beats us in.
I doubt that Henry totally emptied his bladder. He wakes me with a whimper at 4 a.m. When I take him out the sky is clouded over and all is still. He uses the pea garden this time.