Wednesday, August 07, 2013
“Um, no offense, not saying anything, but you are petting a dead kitten”
I told him I’m a bit strange. I think that energy lingers a while after death, that sometimes it is a slow and delicate transition.
And I kept patting the kitten, still telling it it was precious, it was wonderful, what a good cat it was.
He’d brought it by a while ago, cold & barely alive, rejected by its mother. But it had a spark; there was a strong pulse of life still there. When the cat opened his eyes and complained as I tried to massage it back to us, when he bit my finger trying to grab some wet catfood, I thought…yes. Yes, you will fight. You will stay.
The kid did all he could. He warmed the kitten against his chest in a pouch I hastily contrived of a knitted hat and some red ribbon. He offered food and water, eyedroppers if need be. The cat got to visit motels, carefully undercover, and pounce and play and be admired for his soft fur and his blue, blue eyes.
And eventually, upon waking in seizures, on a day with no vets open & no transportation, kitten and friend arrived on my steps as I was starting the day of paste up and editing and hard deadline.
Sure I’d stop it all for a kitten, for just a scrap of hope, for just one more breath.
Kitten learned to purr, and watch, and be fascinated by light, movement, this strange quick world.
I always thought it knew me and felt safe in my hands, and it was in my hands, to my murmurs of “you are a beautiful cat” that he died.
You don’t give up till the end.
And even then maybe you don’t give up.
Kitten (his name, bestowed only a day or so ago, was Joey Gizmo) is buried in my back garden, now with a potted Japanese maple marking the spot. The kid and I talked of death and ceremony. What do you do? I’d told him of my dad’s death (like kitten, in my arms). He told me how he hadn’t wanted to go to his father’s funeral.
Were you close? Well, yeah, he taught me a lot about ethics.
Sorrow and the scent of ripe, falling plums. These mark the day. Hard to know what to say. The ground is rocky.
Almost every day of my life someone asks about one passion or another, one cause, one struggle. They say pretty much the same thing. “Isn’t it a done deal?” “You can’t fight power and money” “No way one person can do anything”.
It’s kind of as if they are telling me I’m stroking a little kitten whose eyes remain fixed on mine, whose breath has just faded away, this mere handful of fluff & beauty. Why waste the time?
Well, you never know. And you can’t turn away. And though I wish with all my soul for the power to save, cure, and transform every hurting, dying, sorrowing bit of our universe I know what’s possible and what’s not.
And what is possible, what is always possible, is love. That’s what I’ll rest on and what I’ll keep on doing, in every breath and every soft or sharp moment. Living, dead, transforming world—here’s my love. It’s what I take from you and what I give back.
And Joey Gizmo, I was very glad to know you.