essays

The cat and the lessons of life

Once upon a time, a female cat showed up at my house and as cats do, adopted us.

For the next ten years she lived with us, and did her job, as a governor would of her territory.

The made body of her work was keeping rodents, rabbits and other small borrowing creatures in balance. This a necessary  but barbaric job, which , even if I could run with lightning speed and jump as if gravity had no effect on me, would have a problem with. I personally couldn't at that time kill the young and old bunnies. I oppose the death penalty you see. And napping after murder is just hard for me.

So although the respect and gratitude of my feline cohabitant was genuine, my disdain for her actions was also genuine. But land owners have needs and the the need to not have mice in my kitchen, trumped my anti death penalty mortality. Kind of like the  United States drone program. I'm against un-prosecuted, death penalties but terrorists, are a problem and Im not pushing the button or giving the order. Kind like Pontius Pilate.

And as the years rolled on, our mutual respect for one another grew into a neat and tidy relationship. She did her job and I did mine

Cats are famous for their cavalier toward affection. Well, I can and also played that game. In truth our relationship was more an arrangement, than a love affair. Arrangements do have their place in the world and they are, in my mind, just as valuable as great love affairs. In fact arrangements can be less messy and more productive than great love affairs. So while there was the occasional hair brushing, and the once every six months lap nap, our intimacy was low. The food and fresh water was always on time, and shelter was available on demand. It was enough for both of us.

I severed as primary human species liaison in this arrangement. Providing a warm place to sleep, when needed, a relatively balanced diet, a high level of security and a low level of intimacy. It was a good fit for both of us and we felt safe with it.

One day she left, just as she came. No announcements, no warning. She was there and then she wasn't. At first, a no show for our semi formal "good morning master" greeting was noted as unusual but not completely without history. But when two days turned into two weeks, attitudes and opinions changed. I being the emotionally hardened, protector of the family was holding out hope that an imaginary, elderly neighbor was providing our cat with a comfortable home away from home.

But just as W. Bush had to admit, invading Iraq had nothing to do with 911, I had to admit that my decade relationship with a spirit of the opposite sex and different species was over. I was very sad.

But as usual, life provides lessons and teachers come in all disguises. The lessons are: Death is a solo mission. Life , love affairs and arrangements and always under valued and temporary. And that Goldie (the cat) was my partner, my friend and my teacher.

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