In the Sweet Moment

concrete cat memorial
Kitty Memorial in a sweet moment of early spring.

Don’t worry, everyone is fine. Just some thoughts from the week that were supposed to be my Sunday post, but I fell asleep.

Our lack of a real winter and a string of unreal warm and sunny February days, like tee and barefoot warm, broke my fast of no time outside. I have to force myself to stay inside lest I lose track of time out there and spend all afternoon setting up a garden bed or getting an early start on things that have gotten overgrown while my summers were occupied with vendor shows or taking deep macro or abstract photos of all the shades of brown in last year’s dry stems. If I start letting myself outside I’ll get used to it and things won’t get done. I won’t be able to pay the bills. But I think best when my hands are busy. Working outdoors in the quiet familiarity of my back yard has always facilitated pondering and decision-making for me. And I’m done denying myself something I enjoy and need, and that in its time returns to me both food and inspiration in larger measure than I add to the space. So, there.

Mimi and Mewsette certainly think this is a good decision. I have been going outside with them for just a few minutes, usually when I’m heading for the compost bin or taking out the trash, then I try not to look around at all the potential and we all go back inside. Some days I didn’t even do that and Mimi was not pleased.

And she loses a little bit when she doesn’t get to go outdoors. She will be 20 this year but she is still active and curious, enjoying being a cat and manipulating her human. But she needs this outdoor thing as much as me. Without it I see her losing her appetite, sleeping more, a little less interactive. In time she might just fade away if she never had the stimulation of this feline enrichment. And I think of my elderly relatives who lived alone in their homes because that was the way they wanted it, but had lost the ability to safely leave on their own and they slowly lost their connection with the world, even with all the visits to them. Sure, that would happen to Mimi in the same way. And someday maybe to me as well. So that engagement is important for all of us beings, and for Mimi, and for me. I kept up the brief visits outdoors with her and Mewsette for that reason. And then I decided I needed to do that for me too, so now we spend more time.

This particular day I put on a skirt because it was warm and because I did need, really wanted to get back indoors to work on a painting during the afternoon, and the skirt inhibited me from any large scale earth moving or building. I planted the spinach instead, something that gave me the limbering up and exercise I don’t even notice, standing, bending, twisting, kneeling, reaching, the warm sun on me, Mimi napping on her wicker chair and Mewsette on the deck, occasionally coming down to greet me and walk under my face to drag her tail over my nose. I wanted a photo of this and used the timer setting on my camera, but could only catch me, but that’s a good memory too.

planting spinach
Planting spinach.

Then we went back in and I got my lunch and prepared to go up to my studio. But one last thing was calling me back outside and I decided to give in: the silver maple buds are swelling and turning a brighter red each day, lit by the sun they flared against the tree trunk in shadow. I envisioned a photo and decided to go for it. Mimi had been sleeping but appeared at the door, so I let her out to do her thing though that would mean I had to watch her and not get lost in my photography. But that was okay.

The photo didn’t turn out the way I wanted, and that was okay too. But in the process I saw that the sun was in the position to lightly dapple Memorial Kitty and a little shock of daffodil greens with at least one eager bud at the top. I had planted them there decades ago because I wanted them to bloom in the little memorial garden. Memorial Kitty was still covered with leaves and I usually leave her covered for protection. I tried to avoid it to avoid the subject of kitty memorials, but decided to be brave and take more time and clear away the leaves and fallen twigs. And take a photo of that beautiful soft light, the memories, and the green newness of spring color, in winter.

Meanwhile, Mimi was making her rounds of her wicker chairs once again, happy, alert, hopping up onto the woodpile to scratch the wood, carefully sniffing branches on the forsythias and burning bush, discovering the base of a bird bath I had laid in the garden for future use for my sundial, so like Mimi to notice something new immediately and explore it. I had a round of photos of Memorial Kitty, crawling around on the grass to get the best angle, then the sun moved and I sat back on the grass and watched Mimi. She noticed me and came over to me.

Of course, she was walking too quickly for me to refocus with my zoom lens so I didn’t get a clear shot of her face as she came to me. But she was purring hard and stepped up onto my lap and walked all over me, head-butting my face and chest and loving her pets and kisses. Years ago she didn’t expect any attention at all because she’d never really gotten any, now she anticipates it. It was such a sweet moment, I was glad for the sequence of events that led me back outside to have this moment and this memory, just Mimi and me, no other cats or people or my cell phone and social media, just a quite little analog experience that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Then she went up a few steps and had a nap on the warm wood (this photo is in my post from last Friday) while I waited for the right angle of the sun again as it moved, photographing Mimi napping and interesting dry things. I got my photos, picked up Mimi and went back inside. I will remember this for a long time.

It’s clear that Mimi and I don’t have a lifetime of years together ahead of us. I’ve been working on a little preparation for me, mostly treasuring the actual moments we are sharing, but always thinking that sooner rather than later they will end. I may come upon this date next year and look at these photos, and Mimi and I might have just come back inside from another memory. Or I might look outside at the Kitty Memorial garden and remember those wonderful moments, what a remarkable cat she was and all the years she and I had together. The fact of her loss will make me love her even more in this moment, to mark the feel of her and the scent of her and the look of her forever in my memory.

“…This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
to love that well which thou must leave ‘ere long.”

 

concrete cat memorial
Just a little closer.

 


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Bernadette

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.

6 thoughts on “In the Sweet Moment

  • February 21, 2023 at 6:16 pm
    Permalink

    That really was sweet, we could almost hear the happy purrs!

    Reply
    • February 22, 2023 at 5:49 pm
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      It was a great sweet moment and Mimi has the best purrs!

      Reply
  • February 21, 2023 at 8:43 am
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    The saddest part of loving a cat is that we know they will leave us.
    That she is 20years old is wonderful and she looks good!
    So nice she got to spend some outdoor time with you.

    Reply
    • February 22, 2023 at 5:50 pm
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      I’m so happy I have the time and the means for her to be this happy!

      Reply
  • February 21, 2023 at 8:40 am
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    Spending time outdoors is essential for me too.
    Mimi is adorable; here’s hoping our Sweetie lives long also.

    Reply
    • February 22, 2023 at 5:51 pm
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      That’s why we have back yards, right? Yes, and yes!

      Reply

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