Alexander Averin

Friday, 21 November 2008

On Cats and Life

There are two means of refuge from the misery of life - music and cats.

Albert Schweitzer

Dear Diary,

OK, it is time for a confession. It has been a long time since my last blog posting. I have no excuses, ’twas just Life getting in my way.

This morning I wandered in the field with the dogs. It was cold, sunny and there was a stillness of air that was punctuated by some very strong gusts. I smelled Ireland in its breath, it was as if Her turf fires were wrapped in the wind and there was even a scent of snow at its hindmost. Only yesterday I had smelled Spring, what is happening to our weather? My magnolia is in bud again and I still have roses clinging on to the bushes.

I called on my Magic Crab Apple tree and paid my respects for I had not visited for ages. There seems to be a multitude of crab apples, all scattered at its feet now, save for a few bundles that have landed in little hollows in its trunk where they resemble little birds nests filled with eggs.

A couple of my friends have been on retreats lately and I am rather envious. Even though I live in a fairly peaceful location I hanker after a (temporary) removal to just ‘be’. Perhaps it is just solitude I crave because I need it in regular doses.

I lost a friend recently, that may be why I am thinking about Life and Death and all that. She was not young but she was certainly much too young to die so suddenly and it shocked the community in which she lived. Although we were not close friends we had stumbled on a common bond between us and we both had slightly similar secrets to share which made her feel ‘special’ to me. I spoke to her the very morning of the day that she passed over and the last thing she said to me was ‘Take Care’; funnily enough she had never ever said that to me before. Her funeral was on Wednesday. I dread funerals as I am usually taken over (embarrassingly) by emotion but this one was a true celebration of her life and I came away feeling positive. Even the weather was kind, bestowing upon us bright sunshine and blue skies.

R. had started writing a book about her life and it would have been a best seller (I can tell you that much) and I am so sorry that she will never finish it. One of her sons spoke at some length about his Mum, it was moving and completely unrehearsed. Another read a passage from the Bible. I was surprised to learn that R had ten grandchildren.

Anyway enough of all that.

On to cats.

A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem.

Jean Burden

This is a photo of Layla, a kitten belonging to my brother and sister-in-law. Layla was born in the Welsh hills, not far from here, but now lives in leafy Surrey; she is thoroughly spoilt I have to say and enjoying the very best of everything with plenty of cuddles too. She is a very pretty, highly intelligent cat and strangely behaves more like a dog than a feline. She is very knowing.

She has Big Ears. I wonder if she is half-wild…..…do wild cats have big ears, does anyone know? M says she is half rabbit but I think he is joking…..

Here is a photo of her, see what I mean?

I shall sign off now with a poem that I read on the most scrumptious blog that is
Willow’s. It is written by one of my favourite poets but I had not come across this one called Praying. I hope Willow will not mind me posting it here.


It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Mary Oliver

Bye for now,
God Bless,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,


Frances said...

Hello Cait,

Can you imagine that I have never lived in the same house with a cat? Not once in all my years. Grew up with dogs, always dogs. Wonder if I will ever have the opportunity to know what it might be to have a cat such as the one with those large ears, and dog sensitivity.

I want to send along my sympathies to you on the loss of your friend. Who will have access to the beginnings of her book? Is there possibility that her words might go to your library?

All of your postings just get me to thinking in directions that I do not usually point. As always, I so thank you.

Just keep hoping that one day I will get to visit Wales, and even learn what being around a cat might mean.


toady said...

So sorry for the loss of your friend. I think it's a contemplative [is that a word?] time of year, short days and nature hunkering down for the winter.
We had a lovely crab apple in France where old Bo used to sit morning noon and night. I've planted one here but it has a long way to go.

LittleBrownDog said...

I love your writing, Cait, it's so thoughtful, calm and patient. I can almost imagine the soft Irish lilt that speaks words like 'I smelled Ireland in its breath, it was as if Her turf fires were wrapped in the wind..' - just gorgeous! And how lovely to have your very own Magic Crab Apple tree, too!

I was sorry to hear of your friend's death - it brings everything into a different focus when something like that happens.

Pondside said...

Good morning, Cait. Thank you for another lovely poem, which I've saved to read again and to share.
I'm sorry to hear that you've lost your friend - there's never a right time and sudden loss leaves one feeling as though one's had the wind knocked out. Perhaps one of the children will find the beginning of the life story and will take up the project.

elizabethm said...

What a beautiful poem, Cait, just lovely. I am sorry to hear of the death of your friend. Carpe diem.

lampworkbeader said...

Sorry to hear of the sad loss of your friend Cait.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Lovely post, as always. Edward and I aren't certain how we feel about it's focus on cats, but we shall get over it. Layla is a quite pretty girl and her ears give her great character, wild or not. And Mary Oliver is a genius, isn't she?

Happy weekend!

willow said...

I miss our cats. There is something very comforting about a cat all curled up for a nap on a nearby chair.

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I had a close friend die unexpectedly and it was very hard. My thoughts and prayers are with you tonight, Cait.

Willow x

Fern said...

Hi Cait,
I haven't been able to be online much, recently either but am so glad I dropped in to read your beautiful post.
I am sorry about the loss of your friend so suddenly, I know what a profound shock it is from experience.
I had to look twice at the picture of Layla as she is so similar to one of my cats (apart from the ears) who were born in my haystore to a wild she cat.

Lane said...

I'm so sorry about your friend. It's so sad when people go before their time (and I suppose there is never a 'right' time unless you're 108)
I hope maybe something can be done with the words she left behind.

Layla is so pretty. The ears are great:-)

Edward said...

Another lovely blog, Cait. As for wild cats having big ears - I couldn't say. My friend's farm was over-run with feral cats, but I don't think they're quite the same thing.

Pat Posner said...

What a lovely post, Cait, but I was sorry to read about the loss of your friend.
Layla looks a real character. Our cat had huge ears, too, maybe that's what gave her a long life; she lived for 23 years.
Do you make crab apple jelly with the fruit from your Magic Tree?

Kaycie said...

I love little Layla's ears!

It's funny how the death of someone you know, that you're fond of, but not that close, can affect you.

Today I was walking through a local store, and I saw someone who looked just like a man from my homeown who died this past spring. I looked at him three times, just to be sure it was someone else. Then I teared up in the middle of the store. So odd.

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend, Cait.

ChrisH said...

Hello Cait, good to have you back. I hope the funeral I'm going to tomorrow will be a celebration, like your friend's. Sorry for your loss.

Nan said...

The poem is just wonderful. I've only lately heard of Mary Oliver, and I so enjoy her work. The ears are adorable! I'm so sorry about your friend. Her 'take care' reminds me of my Irish friend who has lived in the US for over thirty years now. He always says, 'God bless' whenever one of us leaves or even signs off on the phone.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cait, so very sorry about the lost of your friend...

CAMILLA said...

A beautifully written post Cait.

I adore Cats, we had four years ago but cannot have any now as Daisy does not take too kindly to them. I love the beautiful pictures you have posted for us Cait.

Wonderful Poems and I just adore the picture at the top header of your blog page of little girl with pail.

So sorry to hear the sad loss of your friend Cait, my heartfelt sympathies to you.