On the third day we found her, lying in the rippling sunlight beneath the sweetgum tree, her brindled fur quilted amongst the swordleaf fronds, her head pillowed by her one white paw.
My father’s wish, whispered to the breeze, was that she might have climbed upon his lap one last time, but he did not blame her. It was not her way. Like him, she expressed affection in code, in actions to be deciphered, in words oblique, in lengthy silence.
We laid her beneath the sweetgum’s branches, down in the ground of her own choosing, and would wait to see her colors in autumn’s tortoiseshell leaves.