I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat. ~Unknown
Some days are so hard that I’m tempted to give up and assume the fetal position. Over the last couple days a young relative was diagnosed with a health condition and then a neighborhood family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy. I’ve felt overwhelmed and weepy. But I’ve also experienced joy as I hugged my son, watched a magpie take flight, and listened to my snoring dogs as they snuggle together in their bed. I’ve made progress on my new writing project and shared laughter with my visiting brother-in-law. I didn’t give up and curl into a ball.
Life is a series of sunshine and shit-storms, and as long as I remember to think of it that way, the better I cope. The key (for me, anyway) is tapping into the light amidst the dark. Finding the balance. I was reminded of that as I struggled to balance the light and dark in this photo of Marcel.
The result is nowhere near perfect, but then again, neither is life.
As I work this afternoon to get ready for my NaNo adventure next month, I’m trying hard to be like Marcel. Not so much by waggling my big pink ears or biting my toenails (although I would welcome that kind of flexibility), but in maintaining my focus. When Marcel’s in grooming mode, that’s all that matters. Don’t even think about interrupting his session.
Um, guess I should get back to my prep work.
Today my son Zebu and I washed all our windows, inside and out. As we traveled room to room, Marcel the cat followed us. At one point he got up on the sill next to a newly-gleaming window and proceeded to sneeze. On the glass.
I’ll admit, it wasn’t quite as bad as this Pexels photo. Marcel didn’t shower the entire window with his snot. Instead, it was contained to a rather orderly row along the lower portion of the window. Zebu and I were mildly annoyed, but laughed about our silly feline friend as we recleaned the window. Then Marcel followed us to the next room and sneeezed on another window. Zebu and I were less amused.
And when Marcel sneezed on the third window Zebu stated the obvious: “This is feeling deliberate.”
This could’ve been a truly awesome photo. Imagine a large white cat stretched out on the backside of the hanging shirts, staring through the multi-colored plastic hangers with yellow-green eyes. Imagine a self-satisfied expression on that white cat’s face as you struggled to understand how he got there. Imagine being frozen in place as he stared you down.
By the time I snapped out of my Marcel-induced reverie and returned with my camera, this was all I got. In fact, this subpar photo was staged. Marcel had already extricated himself from the hangers and jumped down before I could get a shot so Zippy picked him up and put him back on the dresser. (Confession: I was hoping he’d jam Marcel back through the hangers, but apparently my mate and I have different cat-wrangling sensibilities.)
This afternoon I was hanging out in the basement with Zebu, Wildebeest, and Wildebeest’s friend, Kyle. We were sitting on the carpeted floor before Wildebeest and Kyle left to play soccer. When Wildebeest started doing stretches, I asked if he’d done his daily plank yet because I hadn’t done mine. He replied that he hadn’t and begrudgingly agreed to do one then. I hollered upstairs for Zippy to come join us and he (also begrudgingly) came downstairs.
Wildebeest set the timer on his phone and turned up some music as the three of us got in the planking position. Then Kyle joined us. Zebu, feeling the peer pressure, set down his container of mixed nuts and assumed the position. (Emma and Marcel were also in attendance although their planking form was suspect.)
Verdict? Group planks are more fun than solitary planks. Maybe next time we’ll up the ante and try building a human plank tower.
Lately when I leave something on the bed, Marcel curls up on whatever I’ve left behind. Two days ago he spent much of the day sleeping on top of my basket of assorted workout clothes and yesterday he got cozy with my running socks. I assumed the theme was my powerful stink. But today he’s thrown me a curveball.
How am I supposed to interpret this behavior?
As I hooped this morning, a bunny came into view. The furry beauty remained in that same spot, calmly chewing and staring into space, despite the fact that I spun and twirled nearby. And then Marcel, sensing something outside, jumped up in the window. The bunny casually glanced toward where the big white cat stared longingly, and immediately returned to her bunny business.
I’d like to emulate that self-confidence during this coming week. Me and the bunny, not overly concerned with matters outside our personal spheres.
Marcel is the four-legged member of the family voted Most Likely to Open a Closet, Drawer, or Food Canister. Which is why it was particularly dumb for me to leave only a sliding screen door between him and the great outdoors before I left today for a lunch date. To make matters worse, it wasn’t until a couple hours after my return that I noticed the screen door open about six inches.
Zippy and I began dashing about in a panic, calling Marcel’s name. Zippy checked under furniture and in closets as I ran around the front and back yards looking under bushes. I ran across the street (which hosts a fair amount of traffic) to ask the neighbors if they’d seen him. They hadn’t, but promised they’d let me know if they did. I started to wonder how I’d ever break it to Zebu that Marcel was gone.
I was making another round of the back yard when I heard something. I stopped and listened. I heard it again and followed the sound. There was Marcel, curled up in a corner of the neighbor’s yard, crying and frozen in fear. Zippy climbed over the fence and brought him home.
The good news is that Marcel’s already gotten over the trauma from his big adventure. Just a few moments ago, he was messing with the latch on the food canister.
Update: And right after I posted this, he opened the closet in my writing room and climbed into a box filled with bubble wrap.
This morning I pulled some manuscript/project boxes out of the closet to see if there’s anything in there worth salvaging for my next writing endeavor. (My little writer brain has to have something to noodle on, so while I await my critique group’s feedback on my work-in-progress, I’ve started thinking about what comes next). Well, those boxes proved irresistible to the cats.
Later this afternoon, Emma and I went out on the trails. Although it was warm enough for me to wear shorts and a short-sleeved shirt, there were still a few patches of snow along the way. We stopped running so that Emma could do her thing.
I laughed as she scooped snow with her snout and dug holes with her paws and slid down the slope on her tummy.
Emma + snow = happiness
Exactly one year and one day ago Emma came to stay. Not a whole lot has changed since then, except that we still haven’t mastered not-blurry photos of her AND elder-dog Zoey now has one more “damn millennial” to shake her head at AND cat-brothers Loki and Marcel have mostly put aside their differences to join forces against the high-energy pupster AND strangers now stop Zippy and me on the street to inform us that Emma is so very cute.
As if we hadn’t noticed.
We’re headed to Zippy’s sister’s home for a belated Christmas gathering. I was wrapping some gifts in my writing room when I looked up to see Marcel wedging himself in the box of ribbons. I carried the box out to show Zippy, and asked him to take a photo.
That face is a Christmas miracle all its own.