Cold Whirls


On a cold, cold winter’s day when the wind whips through the trees,
I fly right home to warmth and comfort, a cat upon my knees.
Outside the wind rages, leaves stream horizontally,
Blue skies, white clouds scud, dropping degrees. 


I settle in my big white chair, with book and rug and mug, and I
watch the wind twirl across in front of my homely snug.
I could be out in the garden. I’ll think on that today.
Right now I’m staying inside, my only thought is why




Why do I feel as though I must be out, in the cold and wind?
Why do I feel the need to be busy, feet rushing about, heading no doubt
to the work for which I sing?


No, this time, when the wind is whipping up, everything is planned, and
now is mine to be still, watch and wonder, understand
that every moment has it’s time and every thought its passing.


Here I’ll be, snug as a bug and wave as the world whirls past me.


(c) CLHHarper 8 July 2014


My old Sofia

My old Sofia

Seventeen years ago, in forty degree Celsius heat, while painting the hallway of our new house, I met a tiny ginger kitten. She was small, fluffy and curious and held in the hand of our new neighbour who explained the person she had bought her for didn’t want her. Didn’t want her? I tore my enraptured eyes away and looked at my partner who shrugged, then the kitten was mine.

What a kitten she was. Sofia I named her, which may seem unusual for a fluffy kitten (it means ‘wise’) but she did seem to know how to get herself into trouble. I enjoy my animals and they appear to enjoy me. This small fluffy creature was no exception. My older cat, Mr Wicca, was not impressed but my kelpie was. Whenever Mr W growled or threatened her, my kelpie would run to the rescue and poke him with her long hard nose. I am quite sure the kitten set up a few of these instances for try as she might, she could not win over Mr W. She was compensated by the hours spent snuggling up on the dogs’ bed, to Sunny Girl’s delight and the other dogs’ disgust. None of them were allowed to touch her until kitten hood had worn away and Sunny lost interest.

Until then, Sofia explored everywhere and pounced upon everyone, sure of her welcome or protection. The only space Mr W had was curled up next to me on our bed. That is until the day Sofia finally managed to climb up the bedcovers to reach the top. I have never seen a kitten quite so delighted with herself. Mr W stiffened and stopped purring on sight of her. She pranced up the bed and was so pleased that she began grooming his cheek. Mr W relaxed slightly. Sofia got carried away with her success and excitedly began grooming him more and more enthusiastically until she was so overwhelmed that she bit him.

It took years and his final illness before she won him over. Sofia was ever convinced that everyone was her friend, except the cats next door and my friend’s dog who chased her to the top of the shed. (I still don’t quite know how she got up there.) She was never quite the same after that.

My bath time held interest for her. As I relaxed she would jump to the side of the bath, walk out across my shoulder, down my side to my hip. There she would sit and I would laugh. As I laughed, the water vibrated and moved. Ears and whiskers pricked forward, Sofie would bat at the water and I would laugh harder, the water move more and eventually she would be elbows in and I would be slightly hysterical. I would roll her back to the edge for her own safety.

I have never known a cat to enjoy water as much as my Sofie did as a kitten. The ground level bird bath often had leaves on the bottom that I would dutifully clean out. Sofie liked to get to them first and up to her shoulders in the water, she would chase the leaves across the bottom. Funny kitty.

When Mr W died, we were inconsolable, Sofia and I. She had spent the last two years grooming him and curling around him gently, lending her warmth, communing with him in the sun in the garden. Only by herself would she play. Like the night the last of the sun coincided with the front lights and tiny insects danced in the beams. Sofia, up on hind legs, danced through the swarm, batting at the insects, hopping across the lawn.

Sofie was my co-conspirator in many things but particularly in our efforts to rid ourselves of ugly teapots. I love teapots, the round kind. Even though I would say, please don’t give me character pots, guess what I got? I lined them up along the edge of the high cupboards where Sofie liked to sprawl and one by one she stretched and pushed them down. Cats have a strong sense of humour and Sofie was amused by the smashing of the pots. Ears and whiskers pricked forward she would look over the side of the cupboards to where the pot lay broken on the floor. I’ve never known a cat to look as pleased with herself as my Sofia.

She was not pleased when two kittens came to live with us. She did not like them. She made sure her displeasure was known. Even after over a decade together they are still not friends. None of them are young but my Sofia is eldest of all.

Seventeen years old, skeletally thin due to a thyroid condition, she is still happy, amused and relaxed. She will insist that I sit in my chair and lean back so she can sit on my shoulder and chest and purr into my ear. She loves me my Sofia. I am her source of pleasure equal to a cushion in the sun and sometimes better. She doesn’t go far anymore, once my great adventurer, and she makes sure she is home when I am home.

In her twilight years I will give her everything I can for I have loved every moment she had chosen to be with me.

Seal Pup’s Song up soon

Finally, my first book on Smashwords, to be listed soon. The first foray into wild seas for a little Australian Fur Seal pup is met with adventure and excitement. This tale has been a spoken word story for more than fifteen years and has finally made the transition to written. Beautifully illustrated with Dr. John Gibbens photographs, the story has been a part of my heart for many years. May her adventures never end (but perhaps tempered with a little more wisdom).

Seal Pup’s Song

Seal Pup’s Song is the story of an Australian Fur Seal’s first adventure into the sea. Using the beautiful images captured by Dr. John Gibbens and working from a told story, the tale highlights the perils of the sea for a young seal. It has been an interesting process to transition from spoken word story to written and to find the images that best evoke the tale. Much of the immediacy of the told story is not available to me. I don’t get to see the audience’s response but hopefully I will hear from readers when the book is released. I will let you know.