Along the sidewalk stands a wooden fence, the dark, rich chocolate color of the wood making the bright green leaves and small white flowers of the overtaking spirea bushes all the more lovely. Here between the fence and the walk are small flower beds overrun with irises, poppies, and all manner of other flowers. There you will come to two stone columns, a soft pink stone, rising to eye level, each topped with a brass light, quiet now on the bright, sunny day.
The stone columns flank and arbor with a round lattice top, supporting a vibrant rosebush only not beginning to bloom with pink roses. Down that shady tunnel is a gate, which swings open on either side like an old saloon door. The top of the gate is also rounded, so that together the arbor above and the gate below make a perfect circle, through which to glimpse a flagstone path leading to a white door with white trim set in a bright yellow cottage.
There, in front of the white door, sits a dark tabby cat, patiently watching through the window in the door, attention unwavering, still as a statue. His dark tail curls on the light flagstone stoop. He wears a bright red collar with a small silver bell. He wears it proudly, like a cowboy wears his hat or a woman wears that red dress that fits just right.
Beside the door is a little set of shelves, upon which sit pots awaiting flowers, gardening tools, and little birdhouses in need of painting. The garden is just visible, through the disguising branches of the roses and the spirea bushes, and a little blue shed which long ago looks to have been turned into a studio.
And still the little cat sits patiently, you watching him as he watches the door. He turns for a moment to look over his shoulder, looking neither startled nor interested to see you. The bell on his collar dings softly. Then he turns back to his door and you return to your walk along the shady lanes and past the cheerful gardens and sheltering front porches.
But you carry the cat with you, if only as a picture in your mind, of the red collar and dark fence and green, green rosebush and white, white door.