We put out compost, examined the soil and observed how it’s still all frozen, watched some birds flutter around the rooftop and call to each other. And we talked about the garden rails. Our garden is a couple of raised beds built probably a decade ago by the previous folks. The wood sides of the beds are rotting and falling apart. I mentioned to Rio that I would probably replace them with cinder blocks this summer, and she walked on one and knocked a few chunks of rotten wood off.

A few minutes later, while bird-watching, one of our cats came by and clawed at the wood, like cats do. And Rio said, “AHA! I see what is going on here! I get it now! A long time ago, before any humans lived in this part of the world, this wood was strong and whole. Then a swarm of cats came and scratched it all up and made it fall apart. I figured it out!”