The cat knows no fear - or reason.
Something within tells her that if she climbs a tree and waits patiently - VERY patiently - the birds will come to her. Not, fortunately, that she knows what to do when one is in her grasp.
The cat is actually a very peaceable being (for the most part), unfailingly attracted to the retriever and willing (for the most part) to tolerate me, the one who not too incidentally provides both the food and the cleanup. She is learning that the great outdoors can be a decent substitute for her litter box (for the most part), a tendency which obviously pleases me.
But being a cat, she is devoted to the art of stalking. And now that three families of goslings come to eat and rest, she is finding many easy targets.
While the geese scatter at the approach of the retriever, loudly honking their bark which even I understand as "Dog!" the retriever who would give his life to save one of theirs, these same geese totally ignore the stalking beast. They have never attacked her and she is slow to learn so cat and bird seem to happily exist side by side.
Quite literally, it would appear, as witnessed by the most unbelievable scene. I was told it had to be seen to be believed and am grateful it continued long enough for me to run for - and use - my trust camera.
There in the yard, closer to the lake than home, lay cat splayed flat as she inched slowly toward a family of geese: mother and father alert, three goslings oblivious as they continued to eat.
What made this truly a matter of disbelief (besides the still tableau) was that the other two families looked on, quite nonchalantly in fact, as if this were an hourly occurrence - only those families, five and three goslings with parents respectively, stood between the creeping cat and the house.
She was quite literally surrounded by birds, the adults so much larger than this tiny cat. Yet if they feigned nonchalance, she in her steady quest remained completely unmindful to what I saw as impending disaster.
There was no question the goslings were safe for their parents began training them to danger the day they hatched.
But what of the cat? If a goose can break the arm or leg of a hefty man, what would half a dozen do to a seven-pound cat?
Knowing there was no way to break up the scene playing out before me (or was I simply too fascinated as I awaited the outcome?), I stood silently - quietly - to watch.
The cat crept a step or two closer to the three wee goslings. I held my breath. She had to be either the dumbest or the bravest for there she remained in the middle of all those geese and their goslings and still stalking.
Then, as if troubled by no more than a new boredom with a game played too long, she turned, her back to the lake now, and, perhaps spying all the enemy company between her and the safety of the house, crept very, very slowly off to my right, of necessity passing before all the troops watching at attention.
At last she reached the tall pine - and zoomed up its branches to safety.
I watched her twitch as she napped shortly after, willing to hazard a guess what was filling her dreams.
Susan Crossett is a Cassadaga resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org