Archive for the ‘cats’ Category

I remember you

March 31, 2020
apple blossoms

apple blossoms blooming at Monticello

After last week’s snow, the tall daffodils that had just begun to open were left with their sweet open faces pressed toward the earth.

When I’d lived in Ivy, there were masses of daffodils all over the 18 acre property.  As my cats George, Bandit and I took our walks, Bandit would sneak behind the masses of green stalks in order to effect pouncing manuevers upon hapless George.  He’d perfected the Daffodil Bandit act a few years earlier, when we lived in town, repeatedly assaulting my old gal Clarabelle in this manner during her last spring.  One wanted to scold him, and did try, but there was something so hilarious in the entire set-up and execution, as if Wile E Coyote had come east and had to work with something other than dynamite, anvils, and precipitous cliffs.

In a quasi-heartbreaking moment, days before the snow, I saw George crouched out by the daffodils.  I wondered if there was some memory in his heart of his friendly nemesis.

After the snow, seeing the bowed daffodils, I went out to cut some.  Over the three  springs I’d lived in Ivy I’d hated seeing my landlady’s visitors do this.  It seemed so pointless.  Why couldn’t they just appreciate them in situ? But now, watching their descent toward the earth, it seemed the only sure way to continue enjoying them.  As I type this, they are beaming their innocent, yellow cheer at me.  Bringing them in didn’t only lighten my interior visual field, however.  By sitting so closely to them, I have noted for the first time their light but distinct fragrance.

Of course, George, if I could ask and he could answer, would be able to tell me this.  Surely it was the scent of the flowers that triggered his memory of his best friend.  How silly to think animals can’t remember love, that they can’t feel the seasons shifting and recall happiness.

Spring is a particular pitfall for me.  The very energy that the buds must summon in order to break into flower and leaf challenges me to rise to the occasion.  To be a passive observer seems preferable at moments like this.  How easy it is to marvel at the beauty and leave it at that?  But my conscience won’t allow me to remain stuck in the contradiction of quarreling with the various screwed up elements of the status quo and doing nothing to change it.

The global shutdown occurring at this moment appears to me as a logical consequence of a human economy based on the wrong values.  Here we can apply the image of our pal Wile E Coyote again, running over the cliff and into the air until he looks down to see nothing is truly supporting him.  I have wished for a righting of this ecological and spiritual wrong for a long time without being able to comprehend how devastating the consequences would be for everyone, me included.

So … an additional level of contradiction to wiggle myself out of like Houdini with his handcuffs, chains, boxes, and what-have-you.  The quality I long to develop for myself, as the rug of ordinariness has been pulled out from under me and change is rumbling, is patience.  It takes, after all, a long time not only to change one’s self but to change the world.  Many won’t survive the changing and most people will fight it tooth-and-nail.  The seasons will come and go and those of us who remain will remember this time and what came before.  What will stop us in our tracks and take us through columns of time in the blink of an eye or the inhalation of a scent will be memories of love.

A trick of light

April 28, 2018

a good omen

A post I wrote years ago was about rainbows.  A friend had given me a crystal pieced out from a chandelier, and when the sunlight hit, small rainbows would dance across the surrounding surfaces.  On sunny days, Bandit would tire himself chasing them; on cloudy days, he sit morose, troubled for a reason he couldn’t quite identify.  My post ended with the proclamation, “yes, Bandit, there will be rainbows.”  It’s a phrase I’ve thought of again and again over the many years, cloudy and sunny.

In this beautiful location where I’ve been privileged to nest for almost 7 months, the same crystal, hanging from a east-facing french door, has brought me many rainbows.  That I have struggled with many demons during this time of solitude is an understatement.  Yet each time I see those bouncing dots of refracted light, I think of Bandit’s joy, which for me represents a total commitment of being in the moment that is the gift of incarnation.

George and I will be leaving today.  We will be going to a place that will challenge us both in ways we currently cannot imagine.  I am hoping, for both of our sake’s, that we will find strength in knowing that even during our lowest moments what is best in ourselves and in others is also present.  Last night’s lovely rainbow over the Potomac seems a good harbinger for our new adventures.



beyond miracles

November 13, 2017

Just a few hours since the Venus – Jupiter conjunction in early Scorpio.  Last night I went to bed not long after reading one astrologer’s take.  Although I’m Scorpio Rising, since the conjunction is occurring in my 12th house, I read the Sagittarius one.  Within his brief listings of possible manifestations, the astrologer used the word “miracle,” so I started joking about it with George the cat.

“Do you have a miracle in your back pocket?” I asked.

He started scratching.

“Well, that’s where your back pocket would be if you had one,” I conceded.  “Check and see if there’s a miracle there.  You know I share whatever good fortune I have with you.”

Being the sort of obsessive thinker that I am and knowing this alignment was coming up, I’d been wondering how it would present itself.  Additionally, I’ll admit, I’ve spent too much time gnashing my teeth that whatever good luck might sweeten my life, it wouldn’t be in the form of partnerships or money.  In my 12th house, it could be as quietly hidden as, say, not stabbing myself with scissors while walking with them.  Too often the words of an old song seems to apply: “if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”

As I fell into sleep, I thought about what I might point to in my past experience as a miracle.  Yellowstone seemed less like one and more like winning a ticket to a thrilling adventure.  The Indigo Night job, offered 9 months after the interview and 5 days after I’d decided to take in my kitten Bandit?  Yes, that felt like a miracle of sorts at the time.  But more accurately, it was more an answer to my prayers.

Prayers are funny things.  What we’re convinced we need to make us happy – love, money, forgiveness, attention – are what we’ve identified as what’s lacking.  So if we give ourselves love, respect, justice, etc., eventually, in some form, it will manifest.  Can we call that a miracle if like the little red hen we’ve cultivated it ourselves?

So maybe those aren’t miracles.  The miracle was Bandit and my seeing that, my refusal to give him up when it seemed the only logical thing to do since I had no income and my housing was ending.  The miracle was continuing to hope the park service had an adventure in store despite the misery of my first season.  The miracle was holding onto former lovers despite all the ways we’d misunderstood and hurt each other so that now when we need reassurance, we can draw from that deep well of love.  The miracle was allowing my father to help me last winter in spite of a lifetime spent in grief and anger over his cruel neglect.  The miracle is that there are still moments before the sun rises, no matter where I might be, where I believe I have something to offer and that there is a place where I belong.

In my dreams last night, I was absolved of the charges my park supervisor made and reinstated at the park.  As the day begins, it appears more like the kind of joke I was making with my cat.  The miracle is that I’m no longer there, can no longer be bullied or forced into silence.  What happens next will be the answer to my prayers.

sunrise over the Potomac

what comforts

November 13, 2015

Grief over Bandit’s death has led to some revelations.  Perhaps not all the pieces of the puzzle are in place, but enough have been found scattered around me so that a wholeness can begin to be assembled.  The process and the knowledge unveiled are both humbling and healing.

This morning an astrologer’s message confirmed a conclusion I’d been stumbling reluctantly toward.  To be brief, his November 5 post had led me back to a pair of dreams I’d had the week of February 10, dreams about losing cats, one of which I described in a blog post on 2/11/2015 titled “Mid-life thoughts.”  Nine months almost exactly later, the grief foreshadowed in those dreams caught up to me.

At first, when this evidence that Bandit’s death might “mean” something surfaced, I resisted.  I didn’t want to turn once again to my mind’s ability to form higher, detached concepts as a way to escape my emotional turmoil.  I wanted to feel the senselessness of his death fully, and so I allowed waves of sadness to crash over me, swallowing me, subsuming me, again and again.  And I do believe that by going down into those depths, I touched the submerged remnants of what has scared me throughout my life.  It is not a unique fear, but it is one I’ve kept covered with various complicated devices until I fooled myself into believing it was no longer operational.

I still don’t believe Bandit’s death meant anything.  It was a stupid accident that robbed me of his joyful presence.  But his death was as inevitable as mine and any other creature’s is.  What comforts is the sense that there exists another dimension of time and space and energy, one I am occasionally provided a glimpse of.  The message from that space is that I truly am being protected by an invisible force, protected not from the biological facts of life but with the assurance that what love is meant for me knows the way to my front door, is indivisible from me, was there before I was born and will be with my spirit after my body dies.  Bandit and Clarabelle, my parents, my sister, my friends, my joys, my sorrows, my sunsets, my shooting stars, the past, the present, and whatever lies ahead.

If I did not believe this, the book I opened yesterday would have reminded me.  As George and I watch the late autumn days flow from the bench we’ve placed near Bandit’s grave, we sense the deep truth that Marjorie Kinnan Rawling captures in this paragraph from her glorious Cross Creek

Folk call the road lonely, because there is not human traffic and human stirring.  Because I have walked it so many times and seen such a tumult of life there, it seems to me one of the most populous highways of my acquaintance.  I have walked it in ecstasy, and in joy it is beloved.  Every pine tree, every gallberry bush, every passion vine, every joree rustling in the underbrush, is vibrant.  I have walked it in trouble, and the wind in the trees beside me is easing.  I have walked it in despair, and the red of the sunset is my own blood dissolving into the night’s darkness.  For all such things were on earth before us, and will survive after us, and it is given to us to join ourselves with them and to be comforted.

balloon over chathill

Now there are two

November 9, 2015

Yesterday morning I picked my beautiful Bandit’s body off the side of the road and brought him back to his beloved yard to be buried.  No matter where George and I roam, we will remember his spirit here, roving the yard he loved so dearly.

Sadness is the other side of the immense joy he gave me every day.  When he came into my life, I was afraid this day would come, but I wouldn’t trade a single day we had together in order to avoid this sorrow.

Remember always that you never regret the time, the devotion, you give to those you love.  Every minute spent together is a gift.


Daffodil Bandit

Daffodil Bandit


Bandit surveying his yard in summer

Bandit surveying his yard in summer


’Just beneath the poplar tree at the far right, next to the flame-red crape myrtle, is where Bandit rests

I warned you

May 5, 2015

cute cat photo

cherry blossom bandit

cherry blossom bandit