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Falling Leaves Gardening with Cats

“Okay,Who Gave the Cat a Pen?”

“Who, Me?” Most Beloved

Ah ha! Captured! That stray pen–twirling, whirling, edging ever closer its way towards me. And Paper? Well, that’s a given. I’m already sitting on top of a stack of papers. ’Tis my place (always) to sit atop her papers, especially when she’s writing, especially the papers she’s trying to use. 

And besides, what use does she have of this paper without her favorite pen? Oh how she loves me. 

Hydrangea

Cat Sketches and Stretches

  • Tuesday, of which I must constantly remind myself
  • Yesterday was noticeably absent this week
  • A most glorious time
  • A reprieve

‘Tis September 8th, day after labor day weekend. Hot and muggy the likes of mid-summer—but the shift is palpable. Leaves are turning yellow, falling, trees shedding. Not dormant, and still, one hopes, far from dormant—for that would mean cold– freezing temps and dips below the temperate nights we’ve been having, all for which I’m not yet prepared. 

September remains glorious. ‘Tis I who am not ready, which is, I suppose, why we’ve been given the reprieve of this transition. Movement forward yes, though lingering still the comfort and warmth of summer.

So today, heat lingers and sun shines brightly still. Massive thunder storms last night—thundering, booming, lightening striking, preparing the way. Signaling to all—birds, trees, plants, insects, critters, cats, flowers, shrubs, even us—that seasons shift. Our summer shifts. And fall? Already blowing through winds that chill, winds that bring change, winds sweeping away summer—and sun and warmth.

Already the leaves turn brown, sift down

We are in that pause between joy and settling in; laughter and taking on serious tones; colors and the inevitable browning, drying up, and cloaking us all in the drab of winter. 

Already, I miss summer. Already, I dread winter. It is hard not to think about falling into the abyss of winter’s gray days, though necessary to keep moving past the point of that dip where the fall is inevitable, the darkness everywhere, the mood lethargic, and so much of everything seeming hopeless ’til spring.

Daddy Cat

Oh my, I’m beginning to sound like Daddy Cat who lives outside in the gardens. He bemoans losing summer and spends far too much time stretched out on top of the warm bricks of our garden walls. Frankly, if you ask me, I think he reads far too much literature. Heavy reading. Long reading. Not the books with happy endings, the ones we can easily forget, the ones we might even feel compelled to put down and not finish. 

Oh my, I do feel in need of a cat nap, for as hard as I try, I cannot seem to stop yawning. The sun streams brilliantly through my window, its warmth my comfort.

Daddy Cat keeping watch
Categories
Falling Leaves Journals by Most Beloved

Paradise Lost

From the Journals of Most Beloved

November 17, 2019

Sunday, cold now, but beautiful and sunny today

I found a dead bird today, vertical descent and upside down in the suet round house feeder, the one under the awning and cornering the sweet bay magnolia against the house. 

I found it quite by accident. Shock made me motionless, breath held, life suspended, my life suspended over the upending of this delicate bird.

How sad for such a strong one born with wings to fly, to die in such an unnatural position. Although really, what is a natural position in which to frame the arc of a bird’s death? Wings bear weight, and breadth, for only so long, flight inherent in the lift and swoosh upward, ascent gliding course and construct of all things its life. 

And then this—paralyzed acrobatics belonging to predator birds, big birds —hawks, falcons, owls—on such a small slim body. Though not so slim, when by proportion, two suet cakes could squeeze the life out of the little bird.

Did it dip down to eat suet? Dip in through the caged openings, big enough for small birds but not large enough to let big birds come in? Where, fully centered, sweet suet cakes, plump with fat and berries, became the gulped joy of Carolina wrens, chickadees, a female downy woodpecker, and small finches.

Is this what happened? Perhaps the bird was sick? Starving? Just plain stuck? Did it reach so far down because the suet tasted sweeter near the bottom, lodged between that just right place and its own death?

Feral cats, hungry themselves, lie completely still— waiting, waiting, patient because to wait—and to pause, to appear motionless—means to eat. And in so these cats’ eating, these birds’ demise? Is death life? Is life death? Is there a difference?

I know only this still small shock, this harsh blunt of a horrible (hideous) truth—that nature runs wild. Wild against my intent to care for and maintain life in my gardens. Wild against my will. Wild without my permission. 

And in an artful arc of my brush against this garden canvas, I find pain in color—and a hideous descent of all I intended to make divine. And so like bird, death in flight, upside down and strangled, I find a most loathsome urge, guttural choke my own throat, to cry out—how awful this is, how haunting this is, how I shan’t be able to sleep tonight. 

But I cannot speak. Nor breathe. For in sacred gardens, this moment lingers, my profaned art, decried, desecrated, ruined. 

A bird’s life ruined. And the slow sick rise that where placed my heart, my art depends on life without the descent, arc of color without the necessary flourish of denouement. In ache, my own, a small bird’s love stays still. My beloved then, and my beloved still.