Because Thomas appreciates the sights and smells of outdoors so much, it was especially nice for him the cold and dreary winter day that I brought a full-sized TREE into the house. Thomas thought the Christmas tree was a present especially for him. Puzzled and intrigued, he never took his eyes off it. He was restless in anticipation while I set it up, and never seemed fearful--even though it reached all the way to the ceiling and filled up a large portion of the room. (The rest of the cats evacuated the room as soon as I brought it in.) As soon as the tree was secure, Thomas crept underneath and lay Sphinx-like in quiet awe. Because he made no move to leave, I postponed decorating the tree, and forgot he was under there. Some time later as I passed the tree I had the prickly sensation of being watched. With some effort I spotted a set of eyes from the deep recesses of the tree; Thomas sat erect, his body engulfed by the tree so that all I could see was his eyes and the tips of his feet sticking out under the lower branches. Once spotted he didn’t break cover but remained motionless except for the eyes, which followed me like those of the portraits in scary horror movies. Thomas’s enthusiasm for the tree was not diminished as the days passed. He slept under it. He walked in circles under the low-hanging branches, brushing the smell onto his back. He was not that interested in the decorations, as one might expect; it was the tree itself that he loved.
(#35 in sequence Living with Thoma)