Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday afternoon update: we visit The Rev in his private room regularly. Dare I say he seems to like it? Scrubbling his neck results in mega-purrs (he even does head-butts!), which is a very good sign - then he puts his head down as if to say, "ok, I think I'll nap a bit more." :) But yesterday was quite a different story: we had tried letting him out of the spare room - he freaked out totally and started to climb the back door - Cat Wrangler was able to nab him again, and put him back into the room, where he was once very calm. Hmm....this could take a while....

* * * * * * * * * *
The weather is coolish, but from tomorrow onward it will begin to to rise a fair bit. A couple of weeks ago, we opened the solarium, it was warm enough to sow some seeds in pots out there, and the double windows were still in, providing extra warmth. While the place is nowhere near ready, or officially open, as you can see, Manitou found a comfy nest nevertheless. He was very content.


When I was young, a teenager - I recall a bright sunny Easter Sunday morning. Cat Stevens on the radio was singing "Morning Has Broken." It seemed like a perfect moment...and all was right with the world. I think Manitou was having just such a moment...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Update on The Reverend

The Easter weekend is upon us - it is almost May and I have surrounded my blog with lots of green, because, believe it or not, it has been snowing today! No! Enough! At least my blog is greening up - no signs of daffodils or anything in real life - the garden even has tiny snow mountains left. Blech!

Anyway, I am sure you are all waiting for the important update on The Reverend. He was finally nabbed by the resident Cat Wrangler yesterday – (who does a lot of the “dirty” work). The Cat Whisperer (me!) coos and whispers sweet nothings to the patients when they return from "that place" that the awful Cat Wrangler took them to :) Monday we had seen The Rev with a bad wound to the head – Cat Wrangler said it looked like a hole! And we hadn't seen him since – we were worried. Wednesday morning however, Cat Wrangler snatched him when he finally appeared and thrust the poor thing into the bathroom. As we have no car, we rely on the good graces of our regular vet to come to the house – it costs more, but it is worth it. I suppose we could have called a cab but The Rev is very odiferous at the moment! Cat Wrangler brought him home at the end of the day - all treated for various things, inculding a nasty abscess, but most importantly, he won't be out there anymore procreating and adding to the dismal and sad pet over-population problem. He was sequestered in the spare room overnight, and still for today, but he is quite approachable. I am sure he had the best night's sleep he's had in a long, long time: warm, tummy full :) Of course, the other feline residents know something is up - it always is when THAT door is closed - but - as always, after a few "hairy"encounters, I am confident he will settle in.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Inspired by a

Paradise Lost

As I looked back to wave goodbye, she was sitting on “our bench”, both of us forcing cheerful smiles. Here, this bench was our designated meeting place at the end of the day. This was no romantic tryst. This was now our daily routine. Each day was now a fight for simple existence – a struggle and search for the very basics: shelter, food, water. I put on a brave face, for her benefit mostly, and left.

Each time I left her this way, I realized she should never leave my side, not under these circumstances. But without her I could travel faster and further. I knew the places that held most promise for scant supplies – and these places would often be the most dangerous. If I was lucky, and found more than I could carry, I would stash the rest – very carefully, and come back for it later. I knew, and so did she, that if we went together, she would slow me down – she would hold me back. Yes, she agreed, realizing her physical limitations, which in these last desperate weeks grew more and more pronounced. This worried me greatly.

In the first few weeks, home, if you could call it that, was a grim and dirty warehouse, filled with equally grimy cots. Here, people were mostly civilized, for now. But one could sense a pervading feeling of fear – a quiet desperation – an overwhelming sense, if not certainty, that this cannot last. Something had to give. On these dirty cots we slept, if you could call it sleep. We woke regularly to disturbing sounds in the night – furtive rustlings nearby – often too close. She would sometimes beg me to see if it was one of our cats. I would humour her and take a look, but we both knew our little family had long since disappeared – we had no home to give them anymore – and so they left, one by one - looking for food, or running from harm. Sometimes, as we walked the ruined, jagged streets, we thought we caught a glimpse of so-and-so, and as usual, she would urge me to run ahead and see. But their appearance was fleeting – and even if it was one of ours – they had long since forgotten us – our old world – before it happened – before it all changed so completely. Throughout the wasteland vistas, human and animal were almost on equal footing – trying to stay alive.

Those were our nights, and the days not much better. The few things we had, we carried with us constantly – we were all homeless people now. I guess it might have been unrealistic to expect her to guard all our possessions for an entire day – but the regular places were becoming too dangerous to linger in for too long. As each place became untenable, we found another, and there she would wait until I returned. This last one, after the warehouse became too crowded, was almost beautiful. It was the site of an old municipal garden, now sadly overgrown and ruined. But it had a shelter of sorts, and very few had yet made it their home as well. And unless the rain was torrential – it was quite acceptable. A giant half-collapsed gazebo gave the place a Grey Gardens or Great Expectations atmosphere: the gloom was semi-romantic, the dirt was somehow more natural. But it was still summer, and the fall would force us to abandon our little piece of paradise, such as it was. These days, I dared not think too much further ahead than the current day. Because soon, I knew we would have to travel fast – fast enough to stay ahead and away from the “gangs” that were becoming larger, more organized and more threatening every day. She could not walk fast – and not for long. If we ever would have to run – I knew she could not. This was becoming an increasing concern for me. I was afraid for her – each time I left.

* * * * * * * * * * *

On that particular day, I had come across some great stuff – supplies that would last us for a few weeks, and stashing the excess close by, I would be able to stay with her for a good part of the day – and that was a relief. I almost felt happy. But arranging all this took more time than usual. I was late. I increased my pace, and almost inexplicably I broke into a run. I sensed something was wrong as I approached the ruin. The bench was abandoned, our things remained nearby in tidy bundles – but she was nowhere to be seen. Approaching closer, I noticed a tiny piece of paper, attached with the stem of a daisy to the armrest of the bench:

Sweetie - back soon – sure I saw Chesney…

I never saw her again.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Reverend

One thing about cats, is that they don't dwell on things - they live in the moment - enjoy the moment. If they can. Would that we could be like that. Here we have the first official photo of "The Reverend", so called because when he first appeared around Christmas, he had a white flea collar, which, against the black made him look rather clerical. This collar is now off, and I fear there might be an irritation there now - hard to tell, since he is skittish, and doesn't allow me to touch him - yet. And - he is not operated, which as every responsible pet owner knows, is a very bad thing, for various reasons. But - this morning as I was heading out the door for work, I almost didn't recognize him: he looked more healthy and solid, and his fur was shining in the sun. I held out a hand, and touched him ever so briefly. Progress! Indeed, he has been getting regular good quality food, which is allowing him to live better outside, and soon we will have to trap him, to have that famous trip to the veterinarian that no one likes to talk about (but - they all would admit to feeling much better afterward). We shall see how this progresses.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Memory & Desire

It has been a Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights, and Kate Bush kind of a week. One image leading to another - then to a feeling - and still later to an impression, from long ago - barely there just hovering in the the mists of time. My time - my long ago time. YouTube is great. I needed badly to see and hear Kate Bush performing Wuthering Heights, and Sensual World, the latter of which is stunning, and I believe her mysterious magnetism caused unexpected emotions in both men and women. It still does from the comments I have read. One person commenting on the Sensual World video said: "Would that we could all have ourselves digitally stored at the height of our powers." The height of our powers indeed - when we were young and the future stretched before us like a limitless shore. We could not see what was ahead, nor did we care to. The moment was all.

"But how she was before the tears,
And how she was before the years flew by,
And how she was when she was beautiful. "

So sings Kate in Babooshka. Flashback to the Limelight, Montreal in the 80's with my brother and sister. It was the Studio 54 of our youth. How did I look when I was dancing there?

"Would that we could all have ourselves digitally stored at the height of our powers."

If I could go back, and see that young woman dancing - surely now I would think she was perfection - life was perfect. But would I give up today for yesterday, if such a machine or magic existed? The futility of backward glances. Such random ruminations. Is it because spring is coming? Because "April is the cruelest month", as T.S. Eliot observed:

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

Yes, memory and desire. Forgetful snow. Every once in a while one reads a poem or lines in a novel, and you know, you just know what is true, and you feel the very essence of what the author meant to say, what he felt, what it means to be alive, yet also to mourn. Not one without the other.


Well, speaking of dried tubers - my dahlias are quite alive - sprouting away in the basement. Always a little bit of a miracle when I discover those beautiful green, healthy shoots - emerging from such ugly, sometimes grotesque shapes and forms. There is hope.


by Ralph Barker Gustafson

From Fate's grim palette
Time paints our days
With the colours of Destiny.
One broad sweep
And our day is made
With contrasts of harmony.
By merely the turn
Of a finger of Time
Joy or woe may come
With the bliss of blue
Or the gloom of grey -
Or however the tints may run.
Though hidden deep,
At times not found.
In the shades of night
Or in the mists of day,
There still remains
For those who seek,
Beauty in the grey.