My generous friends in whose duplex I'm camping are out of town for the week (having skirted one of the many tornadoes that have been devastating the southern U.S.), and I'm caring for their three cats -- a mother kitty and her two boy cats. All three many years past kittenhood, but svelte, lithe creatures -- all three. When I enter their kitchen each morning, they swirl about my ankles with incredible grace and gentleness. I feel as if I'm stepping into a slow-flowing and soft stream that swirls and flickers with each step, stripes of black & grey and mottled tortoiseshell, a balm against my skin.
Yesterday, in the startling presence of morning sun, I decided to lure them outside for the day by carrying their bowls across the backyard to the picnic table, and once they figured out where I was headed, they leapt up to the table in nearly a single fluid motion. Clearly these animals are of the same filial unit, and have moved through their existence instinctually aware of each other's every heartbeat.
What does this speak of those with whom we share our most intimate selves? All of us are but pieces of a larger living, breathing organism. We move about each day with our exits, our entrances, our conversations, our patient silences, our trusting shared slumbers. Blind, perhaps, to the possibility of termination. If we did allow this notion to enter into consciousness, the ensuing despair could quite possibly be our doom.
Or one could just shut down, shut out, turn off. No emotion, no empathy. No life worth living.
I choose the life worth living.
This life, right here, right now.
And now it's time to feed those cats.