I am brushing the loose fur from this cat and singing some dumb song to him. Can you hear me? He’s nearly twenty, kidneys starting to fail, hips a bit arthritic. When the sun arrives, I’ll pinch the spent blossoms from the hanging petunia and trim the brown, crisp stalks from the marigolds and black-eyed Susans. Thank you for the rain that came in the night, slow and heavy, like fruit falling again and again through the forest’s million leaves. Right now two bats pedal their blackness above the pond, and the sky, remembering that rosy light, practices its pink version of morning. I’ve been saving his white fur in a plastic bag with the tortoise-shell fur of his companion, gone since last November. I’ve been turning the old, dead flower heads, the crumpled leaves and stems, into the garden soil. As much as I can, in notebooks, I’ve been keeping track of those bats, the evening tree frogs, the various shimmering snakes — especially the ring-necked one in the kitchen — the birds that come and go (we’re not far from junco season, you know) and the animal tracks, vague but visible on the trail (remember the beetle tracks, delicate as embroidery on a scrap of snow that one warm February?), all the little miracles, the surprising ways in which the world keeps becoming one thing and then another. I’m not sure what I am supposed to be doing here. Lately there’s been war and cancer and children stolen right out of their beds and the usual waning of birdsong as autumn approaches, and I can’t figure out what to do about any of it. Every day, someone — a mother or father, some finch or fox, a stand of spruce — dies, but so far I haven’t been among them. So I’m just tending to what is here. I’ve washed that teacup nearly every day for more than a dozen years, swept squirrel scat from the deck all summer, pulled strands of my own hair, often gray, from my jacket with a wad of tape. I let myself be happy over nothing in particular — just now a woodchuck picking an overripe banana and a cantaloupe rind out of the compost pile, holding one and then the other in his nappy black fingers as he eats. He watches me watching him from the window while I bite a peach, the two of us feeding the same body.