Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Reclaiming My Garden

black cat on garden path
Mimi supurrvises my work in reclaiming my garden

An essay about handwork facilitating creative thought, finding inspiration in nature, and planting your grief in a beloved place so that grief can grow into beloved memories each time you visit.

I’m a little behind again—this was intended to be my Sunday post. There really are only 24 hours in a day and I’m unreasonable about what I can actually accomplish each day…

I had planned this reclaim of my garden and Mimi was part of the reason I wanted to get to it sooner than later even though I’ve already got so many other things to do that require keeping my hands clean and spending time indoors. I’ve been observing her since we lost Mr. Sunshine, concerned about her slow movements, her lack of appetite, her downcast aspect that seemed to indicate some pain, and most of all sometimes lack of interest in things she has always loved like cruising around the garden, visiting her wicker and Mewsette’s garden chairs, and finding a sunny place to nap.

Recently she’s been feeling much better as I think we’ve got medications and herbs and fluids all in the right amounts and order for her and she’s been much more active. But even though she wanted to walk the garden paths, she couldn’t! They were so overgrown that she got caught in some tight spots and and to turn around to find her way out, and in time she couldn’t even get in there from any angle. So not only did I want to honor the memory of Mewsette and her siblings and all the garden cats who came before, and I want not only my vegetables and flowers but also my exercise, my inspiration and my thinking space, I also wanted Mimi to have her very similar activities in our garden.

I finally found the purrfect sunny morning to get the reclaiming started. As soon as I fell into the rhythm of leaning, kneeling, pulling and cutting the overgrowth my thoughts began producing words in rhythm with my work. I set up my phone to record my thoughts as voice to text, which came in phrases and sentences. Usually this is scattered, incomplete, with blank moments while I’m looking for a word. I immediately knew I’d want to write an essay, at least, to share these thoughts.

To my surprise, when I went to work over my thoughts to organize and refine what I’d said I changed and added very little, keeping the rhythm and structure and nearly all the very words I’d recorded. I’m not sure which needed to be done more, cleaning up my garden or releasing those thoughts. Both, I know, and the very work itself capacitated the words and their organization. I recorded the finished essay and created a video including the photos and short videos I took as I worked, adding other of my photos and artwork to illustrate the words.

For now this video is only up on my Substack profile and I probably won’t get it up on YouTube until the weekend. I posted it there first for the absence of distractions for you while reading and me while working, unlike YouTube, which I love, but I sometimes have a difficult time focusing and that’s one of the ways I run out of hours in the day. In the past I would have looked at the garden and said it could wait, I would have considered the essay and maybe taken notes but not taken the time for it. At this point in life I feel like my life would be less for not doing the work and writing. I try not to do that anymore.

You can click on the embed below and and watch it on Substack with no need for an account on that platform. I have the text of the essay I recorded for the video below and on Substack, so you can read it here and go and watch, go to Substack and read and watch, or wait until I get it up on YouTube.

Reclaiming My Garden by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

An essay about handwork facilitating creative thought, finding inspiration in nature, and planting your grief in a beloved place so that grief can grow into beloved memories each time you visit.

Read on Substack

I’ve also been working on, and spinning my wheels, a memorial image for Mr. Sunshine as I did for his siblings, the ones below and in the sidebar. One of the other things I’ve been spending time on, and spinning my creative wheels, is a graphic for Mr. Sunshine as I did for Mewsette, Jelly Bean and Giuseppe. Even though their deaths were a surprise when they happened, I knew which photo signified that feline, and even the words I’d use.

Not so with Mr. Sunshine and this is because of his stunning purrformance as a minister (in the original Latin sense, “servant, to serve or supply”) to each of his siblings as they developed their conditions, declined and left us, even as he managed his own multiple conditions.

He had always seemed so serious but Mr. Sunshine had an amazing ability to tilt his head so I fairly fainted with his cuteness and he often slept on his back and he loved to steal my tools. I don’t want to limit his memorial to just that deep serious nature when he was often so cute and silly and even self-centered, made even more cute by contrast with that serious nature. So I want to make testimonial to his last role with his siblings, but I also want to remember the silly boy I knew for most of his 16 years. You’ll see the killer head tilt went all the way back to his kittenhood in the post May I See Some I.D.?

May I see some I.D.?
May I see some I.D.?

Pet Loss in the First Person

From the time I began writing about my experiences in pet loss, relating what I was feeling and thinking about it as I moved through grief, readers have thanked me, often in private, for my honesty, grateful to know another shared their feelings as they moved through grief, or helped them make a decision. 

Thank you for following our grief journey after losing three members of our feline family.

I hope sharing our experiences have helped you in some way, as sharing my experiences with you helps me.

You can read all the articles related to their loss by tapping one of these images in the side bar and in articles.

memorial graphic for a black cat looking in a mirror named Jelly Bean






Read more articles about Pet Loss in the First Person, my personal losses, about Pet Loss and other Essays on The Creative Cat.

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Fine ArtPhotographyGiftsGreeting CardsBooksCommissioned Portraits & Artwork

Garden Sketch With Mimi Garden Flag
Garden Sketch With Mimi Garden Flag

It’s Mimi napping in the shadow on the cool bricks among the geraniums, near the vintage aluminum tub where I grow pole beans. Read more and order.


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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© 2022 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features:

Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters

Tuesday: Rescue Stories

Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork

Thursday: New Merchandise

Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy

Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats

And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!




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.

4 thoughts on “Reclaiming My Garden

  • What Ellen said.

    I love that tilted head. Those are the best shots.

    Thank you for joining the Happy Tuesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous day. Scritches to the kitties. ♥

    • He was really something, totally serious and then he’d tilt his head. Thank you for visiting!

  • 15andmeowing

    Glad Mimi is feeling better.

    • Yes, it’s going to be a constant balance but I’m glad she’s feeling as well as she is.


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