It seems September is for memories…I post this photo in September, when the sunlight in the morning reminds me of these two, just as the green leaves are turning yellow and all the flowers are still blooming.
Moses, 19, and Stanley, 23, enjoy the gentle autumn morning sun on the deck in the summer of 2005, a scene I photographed on many a morning, this being my favorite. This was Moses’ last summer; Stanley was with me for one summer past this one.
Beautiful autumn mornings always bring memories of earlier days for me, and as Mimi and I stepped out onto the deck I remembered Stanley and Moses joining me outdoors, creaky and stiff, but warmed by a nap in the sun. Cookie and Namir had to stay inside, and sometimes I’d see Mimi quietly watching us from the garden. My yard is not fenced, and Stanley had a habit of darting off unexpectedly, while Cookie, a youthful 14 at this time, and Namir at 12, would sometimes wander off in opposite directions, while Moses, deaf by that time and fairly hobbled with arthritis, happily slept in the sun on the deck then moved down to the bricks when the deck was in shade. The two geriatric cats had natural seniority and always had their time outdoors. If they came in while I was still in the garden or working on the deck, Cookie could join me as well as Namir, and they did have the opportunity fairly frequently.
Moses always had problems with her knee joints especially, which had never fully formed and always kept her at a slow walk, and pretty much on one level; I set up a series of footstool and chair next to my bed, and she could slowly walk up steps, preferring the second floor. No medications seemed to make a difference and I couldn’t find an alternative practitioner near enough to get her acupuncture, which I sensed would work for her. Instead, she only asked for her daily thermonuclear treatment, simply lying in the sun for at least 15 minutes, even in winter. Only the outdoors would do for this; she preferred the sun-warmed bricks outside the basement door, but the weathered wood of the deck worked for her as well, and her silver tabby fur seemed to hold the heat after she’d come back inside.
Stanley had been with me for 21 years when he passed two years after this photo, and we estimated his age between 3 and 5 when he showed up my porch. After seeing many more cats in that age range over the years, I would guess Stanley was closer to the high end of that span in part because of details in his eyes and body structure that I recognize now. Three years seems kind of juvenile for him at that time, though his swirly stripes and white paws and chest always made him seem youthful. He had slipped into chronic renal failure at age 21 and I dosed him with sub-cutaneous fluids anywhere from daily to twice monthly from then on, but he thrived even with that, enjoying every moment of ranging about the yard, downloading his “pee-mail” from the foliage and uploading responses.
My deck hasn’t changed much in these years. I still have the pot of basil on one side and parsley on the other every summer, a cherry tomato plant that grows all over everything and flowers in pots wherever they get enough sun, although the wonderful red-apple hummingbird feeder finally cracked and couldn’t be repaired. I’ve had that since I moved in, and it’s in photos of my deck, yard and house for all those years, like a permanent accent, and whenever I see it in a photo I truly miss it.
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