My Life As A Cat Post

When I sat down at my computer to write, my catfriend Tallula jumped up on my shoulder – as she often does. I thought well, I can show what it’s like to write at my computer with Tallula settled into her routine.

I get settled in too.

Then she has a thought.

A cat’s life is never dull

every moment is watched

never anticipated

which makes us happy

I thought that was a good thing to pass along. She’s right, you know. As is Liam, the sage.

Time for us all to take a breather.

In These Pages

I begin each day as a new day, a day of forgiveness and a day of gratitude. If I don’t, if I mistake the chance the day promises and take more of same, I am breaking a cardinal rule of this earth; “you can’t step into the same river twice.”

Sometimes a thing may feel familiar but, like the river, it has been going by, time has been going on and it has changed me and I have taken on the change whether I know it or not. It’s funny to me, who was raised in the 1950′s with science as the Holy Grail and the Grail idealized beyond recognition, that knowing something intellectually or being able to prove it based on scientific evidence is as woo-woo as anything unscientific, as any thing I feel.

So I am going to do something different. I am going to offer prints, for instance the above horse, for sale. When I put the button up and figure out how to get everything to work, you will be able to buy prints of my photographs and paintings or drawings when you want. You can always e-mail me for specific images and I will do  my best to get them in your hands.

I am also going to offer some meditations from time to time, if you could see them in my hands you would see their wrunkled, dog-eared beloved selves.

Fading And Not

These hydrangeas are so abundant this time of year, we used them for Bimala and Jeff’s wedding on Saturday by the hundreds from our garden. In buckets, adorning tent poles, and table settings their delicious white blossoms everywhere.

We use the frailest of nature’s offerings to endow and support our deepest rituals and desires. If I want to bring a smile or warm the heart of anyone I know, I have only to proffer one of these fragile delights.

In my world the next most valuable offering is a heartstone – thanks to living on Martha’s Vineyard for some years where collections reach gigantic proportions, I am familiar with the resonance the wear-sculpted stones have on the hearts of giver and receiver.

And for me, as a writer of this blog which gives me so much, I find such comfort in your comments. It is such awesome magic that I can write and share myself with you and then be given your distinct and generous voice which inspires my heart to open to the allowing that we share.

Travelling

 

I went a long way to get this shot. A few miles, yes, some equipment, film in canisters to avoid the airport x-rays. But really what I’m talking about is how I grew into this shot. I travelled a long way in faith to take what I see and believe in it enough to let it be. To let it stand by itself.

The other part is my muse, Paula, who allowed and asked to be in my viewfinder, on my emulsion, in my life. We are together in that. This is not solo travel.

She loves to put herself out there in rocky territory. I do too. What you can’t see is where I’m lying! There is a lot of washed up detritus on this our favorite beach on the windward side of the island. We love the raggedness of it, the unexpected objects, the harshness we can encounter before we go get some wonderful French delight. This is St. Barts, the rugged, no crop, no slaves  island peopled now by wash-ups and French settlers – the originals were the Caribe Indians of whom nobody has anything good to say, but who are not here to defend themselves.

This is part of our work together. I get to see it everyday, get to revisit us and the mindsets who created our visions. We get to look at photographs, dances on video, paintings to  explore the mysteries of our minds and hearts. We are lucky beyond imagination and we have our imaginations to thank for all this. We travel. We love the Journey.

Balance

There is no such thing as a simple life. If there are four agreements or four holy truths, you can bet they’ll be a lifelong interaction of complexity, daring and destiny shifts.

Words are simple too. Sometimes I don’t spell them correctly or have to look them up – I love dictionaries, now that is complexity made simple! Keep your eye on the ball, say what you mean, tell the truth. More complexity and lucky the person who can feel and know who they are. Even luckier to take responsibility for same.

Holding ourselves and being held are some tools for self awareness. The triangle balance of asking for help, accepting same and knowing who you are is like a milking stool that supports you when the cow/life kicks.

Balance is not a trick. It is real. The ingredients I know best are showing up, paying attention, telling the truth and being open to the outcome.

 

Cat TV

Cats don’t need to worry about blocking input. Turning off their senses is not available, in fact it’s immaterial. Cats – and most all in what we call the animal world – have finely tuned interior moderation. When we think we are being ignored by them, we are.

My cats have advised me to turn off the Twitter/Facebook/SmartPhone noise the better to listen to what’s here, what’s always been and will remain long after the rubbish middens are dust; the spirit of each one of us. Long after the heart is still, long after breath is settled somewhere else, the energy of the soul expands into its next iteration.

I am ignored often by cats. Especially when I photograph, they think my efforts are futile. Why don’t I just look at the thing, whatever it is? Why do I have to put it in that silly black thing? Good question. Yet I pursue the ‘silly black thing.’ I seek them for guidance, I think they are right about looking through a lens to see what is in front of me. I think I look through the lens like Alice. Looking for something I’m not finding anywhere else.

But I don’t part with the cats much. A few scuffles about our world views – not too divergent, really. We think along the same lines when it comes to the economy, military-industrial complex and so on. We really agree for the most part. It’s just I’m human and must defer to my nature, as they to theirs. We are true, the both of us, and I regard their advice and support as life giving – and I pick up yummy things for their creature comforts – bits of yummy snacks and heated beds.

 

Nibble of Spring

Horses’ lips are incredibly sensitive, tender, selective and strong. They are everything you want in a friend, lover or parent – I’m sure anyone can add to that list! A horse, in a matter of milliseconds, can separate out what they want to eat, don’t want to eat and what they will save for later. The last category goes pretty much unfilled for a horse, their sense of the future being minimal.  The act of editing is so valuable. Discrimination gets a bad rap when you look it in the face, but if used to avoid a pitfall of any human order it is invaluable.

Animals I have lived with have been my teachers in this. I learn watching them raise their young, and, while it took me quite a while, my cat Peaches taught me all I need to know about raising my children. I just needed more time than she gave me. In seeking life’s work I had only to watch my horse or dog teach me over and over again – not always patiently – that doing what I am suited for is the only way to go.

This is my dog Beeker, he is in the first batch of canine professors I had. His buddy Bibsie used to sit outside the door of my parents’ kitchen and shiver when she saw one of us. She would stop when we turned away. She taught me a lot about the world of pantomime and the truth of the gesture.

Beeker would defend me or my sister from anyone. Pictured here I have a rope around him. I remember well searching for that rope. It was about connection, making a bond visible, palpable, discernable. Not about keeping him with me. He is with me still.

I grew up with corn like this I took yesterday near my house. I remember planting it, weeding, pulling suckers, weeding, picking. I remember the time when everything is a teaching, every moment holds a kernel to grow. It still does. I have to be there. With my sensitivity, tenderness and selective strength. I have to be here.

 

Now and Then

 

Current flowers, 40′s vase, painting of my young horse who is 15 now and my great grandmother’s art nouveau lamp.

All are so familiar, so me, so lived with. All part of my continued existence and current pleasure.

Each night the cats and I and Liam curl around. There’s a trust issue here.  Liam stretches and bares his stomach, the cats purr and shift. I push softly as I can stretching to the end of the bed, making myself a cat plank. Pachi moves me where she wants me and we all shift around. There’s room. There’s enough room. We can relax . We lie like babies, trusting and fully resonant.

Mirror Mirror

When I was a teenager in my parent’s house my shower – the room had been made for my sister – had mirrors on three sides. We don’t talk so I don’t ask her what it was like for her to take a shower, but for me it was me coming and going, again and again and again. My relationship to my body and the way my mind works were honed in that shower. They were not begun there, that had happened, but I learned to look at and look away from myself in a kind of daily continuum that is a habit to this day.

The photograph I took above helps me reflect on that. The cycle of the wheel of life, the deer who the Buddha said were the only creatures who would listen to him remind me to have patience. We all have our wheel, let us look for the deer.

My expectation is that I will rise to the challenge, whatever it is. When I don’t I feel less than. But less than what? It’s all made up. It’s a game. The real relationship is in my heart, less than is in my mind.

Praise the next step!

Where We Meet

Look at your thin brown fingers against my willing ear, nose to nose and lips lightly swept into the moment. I remember the outfit I was wearing, one of my favorites. You can see the straps, they were so light, very fine cotton lightly ironed, I remember its being so smooth and just a little crisp. Like you. I would put you up to so many adventures – we celebrate them now – so many rises and falls of our breaths. You’d look to me at the end of The Lone Ranger – was it Him? I could always tell. And I would say yes – or, no, a fake this time. I knew, just like you knew to take me in that moment and a mother, yours, I think, knew to ready her camera so we can thank her forever for this shot.

And for this one I can thank my daughter Bimala. Gordie and I looking like the tame West, sunstruck on the beach, sharing a glance, a moment in the sunlight, the years still kind, Gordie the ten year old Galgo when we met. I promised her freedom of expression for the years left to her and for seven years she larruped and gallumphed in our lives. On the Rail Trail in the wet spring of Conneticut, Gordie unleashed, promised to stay on the trail, just an old dog. In an instant of my looking away she flies into the nearby pond, home to frogs now wildly dashing and flopping and splashing off lily pads so happy to connect to her old self, her power. She meets the tame with the wild. She is Queen of the pond.

 

The Queen. Whenever I am, wherever I am it is an opportunity for a nap, a pet, a lot of sliced turkey. I have sanctioned this. Invited and upheld the now institution of the Queen of Cats. In bed I am plucked at and turned for comfort, cold, hot, food, or an upset stomach. There is no reason to complain; I have invited this guest of my heart. She is a miracle of clarity, of focus, of warmth and creatureness. She is the Isle of my heart, the root of my response to faith. She has taught me to leap into faith, to trust my own instincts and that I can get sliced turkey when she needs it.