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Early, and Late in the Year

cat on afghan

Colorful Nap

Again, remembering my little feral kitty, here is a photo of her from about the age of two, when she’d gotten accustomed to living in the house but was still a little uneasy about appearing out “in public”, generally sleeping under tables and walking behind the furniture to pass from one room to another, occasionally sleeping in the sun on the floor.

A sunbeam, however, managed to draw her out and here I found her in the morning after breakfast, in January as I know by the quince blooming outside the window and my afghan on the back of the couch, warm in the winter sun; it’s a photo I’ve always treasured. It was the very first time I ever saw her in what she’d consider a vulnerable position, out in the open, simply enjoying her space. And because of her difficulties with her hind legs, getting up on the back of the couch was no small feat.

I know she realized I was there, and for a long moment she simply kept enjoying the sun on her fur, her eyes closed, breathing calm and regular. When her eyes opened, even though she actually trusted me and even slept with me, I knew my looking at her was disturbing, so as much as I wanted to enjoy the moment as long as she enjoyed the sunshine, I remember looking down, and backing around the corner. I remember she stayed there for a while, and visited the spot now and then.

photo of cat in sunshine

Late in the Year, black and white photo © B E Kazmarski

And here she is “late in the year”, as the photo is titled, at age 19, in November, and I love this photo just as much.

“Portrait of a senior kitty”…this is a favorite of my black and white photos. Aside from a strict adherence to twice-daily mealtimes, her one and only absolute necessity was a sunbath, preferrably al fresco, every day to help soothe the arthritis that had built in her somewhat hobbled hind legs.

I took this photo during the last warm day in November, just three months before she died. Some viewers have told me they have a difficult time piecing the image together because her features are distorted by age, her eyes set deep, her cheekbones sunken, nose slightly flattened by dehydration and ear tips curved as the skin on those extremities begins to wither, but I knew every hair, every feature.

Between those two photos, she filled my life with love and beauty, all through the year.

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All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.

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9 Responses

  1. [...] And a few other photos: Early, and Late, in the Year [...]

  2. [...] And a few other photos: Early, and Late, in the Year [...]

  3. zora

    Moses story really touches me and when I look at the date of this post it brings it even closer as that was the day I lost my beloved Beetlejuice. I would love a little book of Moses life.

    • Zora, I’m so glad Moses’ story could bring you some peace on a day of remembered loss. Moses was a comforting presence who brought love and peace to me and all who knew her, including many a frightened foster kitten and adult cat, even Kelly who glued herself to Moses once she discovered her.

      Moses lived along life, 19 years, and I have the idea to tell it in both her story and the images she inspired, photos, paintings, sketches, block prints. It’s a task to put it together in a way that makes sense, but it’s the only way to tell her story.

  4. [...] And a few other photos: Early, and Late, in the Year [...]

  5. [...] shot with black and white film years before digital cameras, are Stripes on Stripe, below, Late in the Year, and Sally [...]

  6. What wonderful photos, both of them. As with most of your work, Bernadette, I have trouble telling whether I’m looking at photos or at paintings — your photos have a soft “painterly” (for want of a better word), and your paintings are so vividly detailed, they often seem photo-ish.
    I also loved her story in “My Favorite Feral, and My Enlightenment.” Have you read Rita Reynolds’s BLESSING THE BRIDGE? I think that it would speak to you on so many levels –

    • Tammy, “painterly” is actually a technical term for describing a style, and many people do call my photos “painterly”, including me. It’s also referred to in drawings, charcoal, pencil, that use a variety of lines and textures so it’s not just a reference to the colors. But that deep focus and the variety of line and texture are what captures my eye–after the big splash of sunshine, there has to be sparkling highlights and interesting shadows, usually.

  7. Beautiful cat, beautiful story.

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