Sunday, July 21, 2024
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From the Archives: Salad Days, Morning in the Garden, May 9, 2009

The garden stewards, Namir and Cookie, and the controlled chaos of my garden in spring.
The garden stewards, Namir and Cookie, and the controlled chaos of my garden in spring.

It’s hard to believe this was 10 years ago, and then it also feels like decades ago. I have so many photos of the two of them out there with me, and I keep finding more as I dig through digital and print photos. I treasure each one. How I miss them…

On May 9, 2009, Namir watches for critters while Cookie supervises my harvest, or perhaps she’s planning on a sip of my coffee, in the controlled chaos of my garden in springtime. Cookie’s determined expression as she walks toward me means she had been away for “a while” and it might have been too long, the human may have been distracted by the task at hand and Cookie needed to set things to right. I adore Namir’s alert expression as he watches likely a little rodent he’d like to kill, yet he stays loyal and by my side. If you look closely at the side of his neck you can see a square shaved patch. He’d been in the emergency hospital a few weeks before for congestive heart failure, and in truth he had a little less than two months with us. But we didn’t know that, and thoroughly enjoyed the moment. This time of year, when spring really bursts forth, I deeply remember these two, and this time, as you might guess with the number of photos of them I’ve shared.

First thing in the morning is the best time to harvest salad greens, especially if they are the first of the year, so I took my coffee with me and my garden cats supervised the entire operation. I managed to get a precious clear and candid shot of the two of them before they realized I was photographing them from my position of leaning over the greens and picking with one hand while I brought up the camera and took the shot with the other. Don’t worry about all the stuff in the background—once the garden was in and producing and the sun was high and hot, the three of us started on the hoses and buckets and carefully organized things in the shade under the deck.

As we have Shakespeare to thank for so many wise and perceptive phrases still used today, the phrase “salad days” has little to do with a mix of greens with dressing, yet it does have to do with themes of youth and “greenness” as well as an application to the photo above. The phrase first appeared in 1606 in Antony and Cleopatra as Cleopatra compared her current passion for Marc Antony to her former love for Julius Caesar, declaring her earlier dalliance to be the indiscretion of youthful naïeveté as in her “salad days” she was “green in judgement”. Through the years the salad shifted from the fleeting inexperience, innocence or foolishness of youth to a later time of life when a person, group, organization or concept is or was (usually the latter) at the peak of ability or popularity, as in “the good old days”.

So above we have a cavalcade of meanings, literally collecting the short-lived salad greens at the peak of their youth, and I also remember both the fleeting moments of joy with these two in the peace of my garden as well as “the good old days” when Namir and Cookie were both still with me. So much in one picture, and a place to start and let my mind wander, coming back to this moment.

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. Vintage Photos are from my film archives back to 1983 when I purchased my Pentax K-1000 camera. 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 Photography from Portraits of Animals!

Tortoiseshell Camouflage
Tortoiseshell Camouflage
Namir's "bedroom eyes".
Namir’s “bedroom eyes”.

Tortoiseshell cats can be camouflaged against many backgrounds with all their irregular speckles and dots. This photo of Cookie taken in the spring of 2010 truly shows her ability to blend into her background as her orange and tan blend with last year’s leaves and her green eyes blend with the spring’s new growth. I could not love her more. This photo is available framed or unframed, on canvas or on paper on Portraits of Animals. You can find this photo in my gallery of Feline Photos.

Namir turns his gaze up to me, enchanting me with his “bedroom eyes” as we spend a morning in the garden. To visitors and to me, once he is sure he has you under his spell he turns on those famous bedroom eyes, narrowing them just enough so they looked mysteriously slanted and angling up a tourmaline glance, as if sharing a secret, looking totally exotic (he thinks), purring joyfully, certain you belong to him completely. This photo is available framed or unframed, on canvas or on paper on Portraits of Animals. You can find this photo in my gallery of Feline Photos.



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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From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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