Spring is eleven days old.

Spring folds winter in its apron, like warm bread for later.

Spring bears more than a passing resemblance to Tabby’s Place.

Spring is Patches, a crown of tulips come to life.

She is the old cat who can’t read the expiration date on “new.” She is a Laura Ashley dress on a grandmother watching Little House on the Prairie reruns. She slips you two muffins with extra streusel.

She skips the preliminaries and loops a Best Friend pendant over your neck before she learns your name. She skips like a lamb loosed from its stall. If she were human, she would be the equivalent of eighty years old. Instead, she is a child who contains all species and a force unto herself. She head-bonks the meek and the mean. She assumes this is the season for grace.

Collette, springtime gift-wrapped in stripes

Spring is Lornadoone, forgiven without fanfare. She is the grey willow with an iron will. She bites and does not seek absolution. She receives unconditional acceptance. She sleeps on fleece fresh from the dryer. She prances on paths prepared before she came. She behaves boldly and bawdily. She lives as a landmark on the perimeter of patience. She assumes there is no final frontier of patience.

Spring is Collette, six pounds of carrot cake. She always believed there was a garden. She never doubted she would live to frolic it. She has not forgotten one sweetness since her first sunrise.

She has fluorescently forgotten every letdown. She is a rumor of another world. She is the strength of forgiveness on frail legs. She assumes the only thing better than today is tomorrow.

Glorious Cora

Spring is Cora, all insulin-dependent innocence. She is the persistence of a rescuer whose only setting was “prevail.” She is frosted in coconut shag and courage. She is here because love knelt at her level. She is here because love knew we needed her. She assumes everything has been worth it.

Spring is Checkers and Pierre, winter’s last pair of mittens. They are double-positive and twice reassured. Checkers is the bashful egghead too perfect to dye. Pierre is the hot-cross bun with the warm heart. They speak fluent “future” and “French.” They ignore their reduced immunity with impunity, because someone is watching out for them. They are FIV+ and FeLV+ and full of reasons to be rejected. They assume someone will stand up for them.

Forever loved Franklin

Spring is Franklin, who made it to February. His contract ended in October. Mercy tore it to confetti. He was in his final days, until love took his place. He was flat as forgetfulness, until Drew rose to her full height. He was the foster child most adored. He was the reprieve that smells like roses and resurrection. I assume we will see him again.

I assume he is present even now.

Spring is the outrageous assumption that love is worth everything it costs. Spring has clear, green eyes that do not hold back tears. Spring heckles “hopeless.” Spring survives all seasons.

Spring is you, Tabby’s Place family. You are the bright yellow “yes” at the center of the daisy.

For the much-loved, it is always springtime

You are the “loves me” that cannot read the word “not.”

You are the peace our cats prefer even to baked ham. (You are the sound of one hundred cats laughing.)

May your Easter be spring-loaded with miracles.

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