Because I am confined to a wheelchair, I try to bring enjoyment into my life, other than via computer and TV. Sitting at the kitchen table and drinking a cup of black coffee, I look out the window at what is going on across the alley. This is my regular morning routine.

I like to glance out and see what the world looks like. I watch the three squirrels, walking the electric wire one after the other, keeping their balance. In a neighbor’s backyard, the squirrels run up and down a tree and display their athletic abilities when they safely land on the branch of another tree. Flocks of sparrows arrive, landing on the cable wire, and then fly away. A bright red male cardinal settles down on my garage roof, and then the female comes, and they sit a while before flying away. This really brightens my day. Everything looks the same for a time, and then I see the cats acting a lot smarter than people. 

The cats are climbing up one side and down the other side of my fence to get into my neighbor’s backyard. This is unusual. I remember the cats walked through the gap between her garage and the bent-up, chain-link gate to visit her cat, Snowball. I realize cats can’t do this now since she installed a six foot tall wood fence on both sides of her garage. I think cats are smart. “It will take more than a 6-foot-tall wooden fence to keep me from my friend Snowball,” I imagine they say, coming one after the other over my fence. 

Snowball has lots of friends. His friends display a variety of colors — black, white, gray, and blonde — and they come in various sizes, ranging from baby to adult. To me they all seem homeless. My neighbor tells me when she puts food out for Snowball, he walks away from the bowl and lets his friends eat. My husband thinks some of the small cats might be Snowball’s children. 

These particular cats intrigue me. As I watch them, they seem to have more sense than people. Sitting in front of my neighbor’s garage, they look comfortable with each other. 

They don’t fight or disagree. They sit around Snowball and give him his place of honor. When Snowball moves away to another spot, they don’t follow him immediately. They give him his space for 5-7 minutes and then move next to him. Snowball accepts all his friends regardless of how they look. The white cat’s fur is dirty; the gray cat has one eye. The black cat limps, and the blonde cat’s fur stands straight up like the quills of a porcupine. 

The cats don’t overstay their visit, unlike people. They seem to know when it is time to leave. I don’t see my neighbor shooing them out of her backyard, and Snowball doesn’t chase them away. After an hour or so, they leave Snowball climbing back over my fence. The view from my window allows me to believe that Snowball provides a limited time of safety and comfort for his unfortunate friends. 

It is a very pleasant scene. 

I enjoy looking out the window. I have a better appreciation of nature and animals that I didn’t have when I was mobile. 

I am going to look out the window tomorrow at the same time. I might see something else that I can learn about the wise Snowball and his friends.