Wednesday, October 09, 2019

new beginnings and a funeral

Gorgeous day! For sure the last of the beauties! Blue skies, warm breezes -- simply stunning!

I have an important assignment this morning: I'm to go to Snowdrop and Sparrow's school at drop off time. It's the little boy's first day of school!

But first -- cat care. Oh, hi Stop Sign. The holy terror is at the front door. I feed her in her own private station on the porch (accessed through a cat door). It's best that way. She is pissy hissy around the other cats. The maman terrible!

Beautiful day!

A teen age cat greets me on the walk to the sheep shed. Another one comes out and joins us on the walk. And Dance, too. They rub against me and I have to laugh: I'm going to trip over you, guys!

I had expected them all to be inside, but I suppose on a day like this, you want to be out and about. In the shed now, I see that seven cats are clustered around the bowls of food. Little Gray and Dark Pink (the second teenage girl) are missing. No big deal. Cats come and go. This is their way.

Yo-Yo, the other babe, eats like a little piglet. Such a playful little girl! Forever small. And still a little skittish.


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I go out to look for the two missing guys. I don't want to have them skip their feeding. Not in barn. Oh, there you are Dark Pink! By the garage. But why? Oh well, as Ed says -- cats are hard to figure out. I lead her back to the shed, put out some more food and then I quickly get in the car to go for the school photo.

And that's when I see her: Little Gray. On the road, by our driveway. Dead.

She'd been run over by a car.

The irony! For the first time this week I felt that we had ensured their safety. Against weather, predators, illness, the horrors of life on the run.

But not against cars.

I will not dwell on how hard I took this. My sadness matters little. What matters is that she had a life that ended too quickly, abruptly, meanly.

I call out to Ed, who brings out a box. We put her gently inside. She is stiff. Must have happened at night. They all must have gone out on an adventure alright. Across the road that I thought they did not cross anymore (but oh, that forest of firs and pines! All those mice!).

To school now. To a beautiful moment in a little boy's life: the beginning of the greatest adventure of them all -- learning!

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Such excitement! His sister is bouncing with pride and pleasure! The young family escorts the little boy in. Best of luck, little Sparrow!

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We disperse then. I drive to Finca Cafe, where Ed and I meet for a morning together, away from the farmette, away from the obvious, but not away from thoughts and words and tears for Little Gray -- the most perfect and perfectly friendly little cat on the planet. More like a puppy, really. My best kitty pal.

Ed reminds me -- she (he?) had such a happy life! She had the best mommy, so many loving siblings, humans who cuddled her! So much joy!

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He's right, of course. In the scheme of things, our run through life is brief. What matters is that we were here, we were kind, and if luck's with us -- life was kind to us. Little Gray was here, she was kind, and for one brief moment of one beautiful season, life was kind to her.

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(Yo-Yo watches our sad burial. Sinatra croons Moonlight Serenade from my phone in my pant pocket. It feels right: Little Gray lost his life by the light of the moon.)

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(Repotting some of the annuals: tough decisions. Which should we choose to bring inside? Which have the best chance of surviving indoors?)

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In the afternoon I go to pick up Sparrow and Snowdrop.

First, the boy.

By all reports, his day was awesome! (He demonstrates for me one of his favorite activities: washing a pumpkin. It necessitated a change of clothing.)

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Then the girl. Bouncing with pride: my brother started school today! He's sixteen months old! He can go to school!

At first she wants to go adventuring with him in the neighborhood. But she is just on the heels of being quite sick. She reconsiders. I'm glad. Farmhouse it is!

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Snack time!

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Pretend play. She chooses "school." Of course.

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He looks at the pillows on the floor and topples onto one with a giggle. She follows suit. They do this for about ten minutes. Topple, giggle. Topple, giggle.

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True, there are adjustments for all of us. A long read of a chapter book gets interrupted. The issue of when to keep the gate closed comes up. And my arms get a workout: Sparrow is a heavy little guy.

And, too, I have this weight on my shoulder that I can't shake quite yet.

But I think we all would agree that it is a sweet and gentle afternoon.

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Evening. Time with the remaining 8. Then a quiet retreat to the farmhouse. Ed bikes today. I prepare supper. Of fish and corn. Little Gray would have liked the salmon bits.