When the world is still and silent and mice still dare to tiptoe, that is cat o'clock in our household. The first scoops of cat chow, tasty fresh water, a few little treats, and then --- oh but then --- dogs locked with the alpha male. The dogs are alert, they know there is herding and chasing and much to sniff and identify; but not until the alpha is awake.
There is tea, writing, the first sweet kiss of nicotine, an embarrassment of first-world hot water use for cleaning -- last night's dishes, the scurf of yesterday, the muddy paw prints from the kitchen floor.
The city still drowses. Cars do not rumble, bass does not boom. The occasional passerby has an imaginary loud long conversation on a cell phone. Crickets, cicadas, other gentle vermin scutter and scrape, to the delight of felines near and far. Silent pas de deux, as kitties stalk with death himself.
This is my favorite time of day. It is my mother's favorite time of day. Also, a favorite of my grandmother. Without the interruptions and demands of men and society, it is a peaceful time. Accomplishments can be completed with far greater efficiency, a zen like meditation of work. Absolution of sin exists in shining countertops, in freshly scrubbed floors, in glistening bathtubs, in dust removed from surfaces near and far.
This is how I pray.