I was out there this past week photographing the girls in the last of the forget-me-nots, and also trying to photograph a few different flowers speckled with raindrops when the sun came out after a shower. I wasn’t happy with what I’d captured, but I knew I’d photographed these same flowers many times before. Each year I try to find something new about them, but possibly I’ve run out of ideas after a couple decades.
And I also wanted to resume my weekend photos of felines in memory, especially on this Memorial Day weekend, and I have the strongest memories of cats out in the back yard with me in spring. I knew there were a few photos of Kelly that I hadn’t used, from 2012 when we’d lost Cookie in February and for the first time in many years I had no feline companions out in the back yard. That made me miss Cookie all the more, and I found it difficult to focus on the creative activities I enjoyed and which fed my daily creative work.
Kelly felt just as lost as I did, and was no doubt experiencing some amount of grief. She was the last of the main group of rescues from the 90s, the youngest, the baby despite all the other fosters who came and went, and now she was 19 years old. When I had lost that whole part of my long life with the passing of that big feline family, Kelly had lost all the friends she’d had in her whole life. She had less and less appetite, and was less active, as if she was losing her will.
So one day I picked her up and carried her outside onto the deck. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was ready for her to dart, and she could also be very timid. But something told me she needed that physical freedom from the indoors where all her memories stayed close around her.
I set her down on the deck and she embraced the concept immediately. The sun was warm on her fur and she had a whole deck to scratch on. And then she could visit the yard at the foot of the steps. That was enough, just a brief respite from the house full of memories of all the cats she and I had known. We didn’t go out each day, but she let me know when she needed it. It certainly helped my heart continue to heal. I’m grateful I could provide this for Kelly.
And here are the flowers I was photographing that day, that I was also photographing last week. The pink columbines are from seeds from my mother’s columbines, more memories.
From the Archives in Previous Years
The Old Man in the Garden, 2006
My “old man”, Stanley, at the age of about 24, enjoying the warm bricks and sun in the garden on April 30, 2006.
Spending more and more time in my garden in spring, a bright and warm day much like the one you see here and my garden pretty much the same as well, I’ve been remembering the parade of my garden sprites. I love my garden nearly as much as I love my cats, and putting the two together made the whole experience a joy for me.
Stanley is supervising my planting of tomatoes while much of the garden is still filled with clumps of forget-me-nots between the beds and around the edges, his nose to the spring breeze. He was with me for 21 years, passing in January 2007. He was not at all a juvenile when he came to me so he was at least three years old, likely a little older. In his last year he was still vital though relatively thin, and I had given him occasional therapeutic doses of subcutaneous fluids for his chronic renal failure since his diagnosis in February 2004, but he had no problems walking or getting around. His eyes were cloudy with cataracts and his hearing wasn’t the best, but his sense of smell was unparalleled as he had made his way around the yard downloading his pee-mail and uploading responses, then decided to settle on the bricks, warm from a long sunny afternoon, to doze and watch me. His best buddy, and my other long-time garden sprite, Moses, had passed earlier that year, in February, and I know his backyard sojourns were never as enjoyable as when quiet gray Moses was there to share them with him. I know my place, I am not as good as another cat, but I will do in a pinch.
The image below shows more of the whole scene, looking very much like recent days except that Mimi was strolling down the brick path while I was turning soil in that spot; in the background you can see a little strip of salad greens and beyond that some tulips and lunaria blooming. Some things never change. Read more about Stanley.
Photos pulled “From the Archives” were taken by one or another digital camera of mine between 2002 and, well, yesterday, but usually they are older than that, and I had never had the chance to feature them. They’re a fun way to “introduce” other members of my feline family who came and went before I began blogging, and to illustrate my feline family in general from days gone by.
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Feline Images from Portraits of Animals!
This painting is one I’ve wanted to do for years—since the very moment it depicts, in fact, on July 30, 2006, in fact, when Stanley and I enjoyed a Sunday morning on the deck. You can find this sketch in my gallery of Feline Artwork, My Cats or Daily Sketches.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Thursday: New Merchandise
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!