My kids wanted a pet, so we bought an outdoor cat. Over time, quite naturally, I became very attached to him. When he passed away, it was hard for me. But as time passed, rabbits and birds became more plentiful around my house. It’s as if they now have become my pets.

It’s sweet to see the same birds every morning returning to their favorite spots in the yard – a favorite tree branch, atop the head of the Ganesh statue, the Surya statue, or a particular rooftop corner. It feels like they know me and enjoy seeing me every morning. Even the rabbits become increasingly comfortable with my presence. It feels like they know I am their friend and don’t feel a great need to scurry off. There’s a particularly large raven that has a favorite area in my yard. When I talk to him, he responds with a fluffing of his feathers or a combing of his side, similar to how my cat used to respond to my voice. I noticed two young hawks often circling above my house. They, too, seem to enjoy my presence.

When I was in high school, I remember seeing an African quote in a bookstore: “Look back at any tragedy five years later, and it will be seen as a gift.” Though it intrigued me, that quote never made complete sense to me, and still doesn’t. At the same time, the loss of my cat brought the friendship of the birds and rabbits.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.