A Post About My Cats (and Milkweed and Bittersweet and Vine Swinging)

Banshee and Seamus getting acquaintedFunny thing about epiphanies – not only are you glowing with insights about all that you never realized before, you are also glowing a little with shame at the silly things you did and said and thought before the revelation. Now I don’t plan to dwell too much on self recrimination, but I think it healthy to recognize a few minor revolutions in my perspective.

Last week, buried in a post that rambled on about phenomenology I mentioned that we had a gotten a new kitten and were nervous about how our cat Banshee would accept him. In trying to describe the way that we felt the need to control feline nature rather than allow it to take its natural course and hence were disassociated from the greater patterns the universe, I did apologize for lowering the tone of this space to encompass house pets. Well, I’m not sorry and I am about to do it again.

This afternoon I broke what has become a tradition for me since my husband started working Saturdays. Instead of hunching in my writing spot that is surrounded by windows and wondering if the squirrels were cold out there, I went out to join them. We have miles of trails behind the house – a nature preserve and state park in one direction and a great college town in the other – and it’s a big month if I get out there once. Ah yes, I am the ecofeminist who is too busy reading to feel actual wind in my hair.

I tried to make it a walking meditation; I realized there were brief statements sent in God’s general direction, but really I was just writing blog posts in my head and at one point was repeating “Row, row, row our boat” like a mantra. No real idea why the usual one was replaced with a nursery rhyme, but it might have been something to do with looking at the world through my mostly forgotten childhood eyes. I glanced at bittersweet on the way out and thought of the way Nanna used to collect armfuls of it. I noticed the milkweed pods, their white fur waiting for a strong breeze to send them dancing on the air and remembered collecting them near the swans’ marshes in Falmouth once upon a time.

On the return trip I saw a vine hanging across the path and wondered if I could jump and reach it. Even though the November afternoon chilled my exposed belly, I grabbed hold and swung for a while; this was not a typical Saturday afternoon. When I came upon a patch of milkweed this time I climbed through the brush to feel its silkiness and liberate a few dozen parachutes of seed. So this was what it was like to notice the outer world, to delight in all that it invited me to see, to be.

The sanitized, cerebral version of myself filtered through what I have studied presents an extremely limited view of who I am, and from what I know about epiphanies, they don’t thrive in the presence of limitation. How did I assume I could elucidate anything about my relationship to “Nature” when I was leaving out an inherent aspect of my own nature: I’m a sucker for anything four legged and furry. It’s a condition I’m really quite proud of and I do not even worry that this affliction gets worse with age (I slipped a promise of a puppy into my husband’s wedding vows – it’s been 13 months and Bacchus the golden retriever has yet to materialize, but that is another story).

So my cat related epiphany is about patience and trust. After only seven days, the newcomer has pretty much been accepted by herself. His name is Seamus, and he is really quite shameless, and his dance with Banshee has taught me more in the last week about acceptance and adaptability than any self-help guru I’ve had occasion to hear.S&B curled up

4 thoughts on “A Post About My Cats (and Milkweed and Bittersweet and Vine Swinging)

  1. gukseon November 11, 2007 / 9:48 pm

    Your cats are beautiful! I’m definitely a cat person 😀

    And I have to say that I, too, can learn far more from watching a feline than I can from reading the entire output of any self-help guru on the market. Cats are generally much more “self-actualized” and closer to the Divine than many human beings, I think—probably why they come off as so confident (some would say “cocky” 😉 ).

  2. Carla November 11, 2007 / 10:28 pm

    I was about to write how nature always teaches us so much, then I remembered we ARE nature. We (I) just forget it a lot. So nice to discover your blog tonight! Thank you for linking to mine! I look forward to reading more of you. 🙂

  3. dovelove November 12, 2007 / 10:21 am

    Ah, those are some fabulous-looking fur babies you have there 🙂 I looove cats too, and, well, all furry ones…and winged ones…okay pretty much all of those amazing animal beings 😉

    I’d say you have a cat totem (spiriutal animal guide), an animal we love so much because it’s kinda part of, representative of, our own energy. If you don’t know about totems, I think you’d be fascinated by it, especially the symbolism of the Cat, and how much it aligns with your own personality. As I recall, intuition is one strong aspect of it. I have found that it can even improve our health when we intuitively align with our totems’ energy. That is, be more like the Cat and it will help to heal anything that may ail you or cause you discomfort.

    Great blog, your writing is a joy to read.


  4. Ruaidhrí November 12, 2007 / 10:46 am

    Seamus the kitten?

    And has Bandia finally mutated into Banshee?In a way that makes sense-that’s how it happened and evolved in folklore as well….enough rambling.

    I like your new cat(and still like the old one) is what I meant to say 🙂


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