While you were sleeping

Pinetree at nightRemember the dancing baby in Ally McBeal? The same thing is happening to me, but it’s an incredibly gifted circus animal. Twice now, right at bed time, I have caught sight of an animal that defies gravity. It appears to be a 26 pound Rat-Terrier. It walks along the top of my privacy fence.

I know. I should’ve given up wine for Lent again this year. Instead, I gave up, “staying up past 11 p.m.” Hey, it’s not as easy as it sounds. In fact, this very night I was staring into the darkness of my side yard, imagining the glory that Dewayne, my genius landscape designer, would bring forth, when I heard a bunch of rustling around. Naturally, I thought it was a burglar. I waited and listened, careful to scan all dark shapes for movement. It came from behind the privacy fence.

Maybe it’s somebody looking for a place to sleep for the night, I thought. I do live in the Historic District.

I waited, almost holding my breath. Everybody in my house was asleep. It was so quiet, I could even make out the sounds of Garry’s level 1 snoring.

I considered the family of ducks that moved in last spring. Either, the person passed out or the ducks are asleep, I thought.

And just as I was about to  go to bed, I heard, “Hiss! Hiss! Hisssssss! Hisssss!” The homeless person had stepped on four cats.

Got to be cats. A bunch of mean, fighting cats. But then, silence. My eyes watched the tree trunk and the yard and the blackness. Nothing.

Almost a whole minute later, there was a tiny scratching on the fence, followed by a pointy nose. It poked up and over. An over-fed roundness balanced itself and waddled away, an ottoman off to find it’s sofa. The delicate silhouette appeared and disappeared as it left, never wavering. Graceful and moonlit, it was fatter than my seven year old Sheep Dog/ Basset mix. And it was trotting on a one-by-two. Nose down, tail out.

He turned the corner toward the back wall and I went to bed.

Last night I saw him again. This time he was on my other neighbor’s roof, two stories up.  It was already midnight. I woke up my 13 year old.

“Come look, a magic dog is on Sonny’s roof!” I said.

We watched as the wire hair caught the light from the Georgia Power pole. It tiptoed across the very top of the roof like a witch wearing it’s hat for a nose, crawling on it’s belly and scaling the thirty-degree slope. More deft than the Great Wallenda. Up and back again. Head down, tail out.

“Dang,that thing can get in our house!” I looked at Theo.

“Mom, it’s way past eleven.” he said.