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The Slice: Basking in the glow of the late summer sun

It catches you off guard.

In the middle of the season, the sun tends to be a phaser set on stun. But now, as we stroll into late summer, the slanting light of early evening can caress your back and whisper.

“Feels good, doesn’t it?”

It does.

If you don’t have sunglasses on, you have to take care. Look directly to the west and you can get zapped. But if you avert your gaze, the solar sensation is a slow, gentle battery recharge.

My neighbor’s cat and I have a routine.

I head out our front door at about 6 p.m. and collect a watering can concealed beneath a bush. If she is in repose on one of the Adirondack chairs on her front porch, the feline next door stretches to a prodigious length and then steps down. Taking her time, she comes over to supervise the watering.

We have sprinklers but don’t run them every day. So I employ the watering can with a frog’s face to douse some patches of grass I grew from seed this summer.

The cat watches. Sometimes she sits up and seems alert. Other times, she keeps a drowsy eye on me from a reclining position.

I don’t know exactly how old she is. She’s getting up there.

She might not have all that many summers left. But we don’t talk about that while I water the grass. We just soak up the evening sun and take our time.

I make multiple refill trips to the faucet. The cat accepts praise and occasionally sniffs plants.

The main reason she hangs out with me is that she knows she is going to get a treat. Still, I enjoy the company.

Maybe it’s the most natural thing in the world that signs of seasonal transition can coax you into a contemplative mode. You remember. And you look ahead.

Each season has its special qualities, of course. But summer, these months stuck in the middle of the year, marks the passing of time like invisible tree rings on our memories.

I stash the watering can back beneath the bush. The cat knows she is about to be rewarded for her patience.

The top of her head is still warm from sitting in the sun.

Today’s Slice question: What’s your best piece of advice when it comes to study habits?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email It’s not quite time to put up Christmas decorations.

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