I slept in today. It was the third day in a row that my son was off school because of the great snowstorm of the Winter of 2010. How many of us can recall a time in our lives that school closed for three straight days due to snow?
It’s gotta be a record of sorts. Today’s Friday, Feb. 12 (Lincoln’s Birthday, for those of us old enough to remember celebrating birthdays in the USA for both Washington (Feb. 22) as well as the Great Emancipator). That means, there will be no school on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, because of the Presidents’ Day holiday, which combined a celebration on a Monday for all presidents (including those we’d like to forget) into one big happy three-day weekend. I wonder if the Romans had a holiday for all of their consuls, the great and mostly the not-so-great ones.
Our two cats woke me, demanding attention. The oldest, Shadow, a black cat with white paws and white underbelly, came to the right side, while the youngest, Sundance, a tortoise colored cat, crept up the left side as I lay in bed, facing the outdoors from the second floor window.
I see a light and blurry white form on the top of the houses across the street. Snow. Traffic sounds from cars and trucks tell me “rush hour” is almost upon us. We live on a “well-travelled” street connecting the more affluent Plymouth-Whitemarsh townships to the entrances of the Schuylkill Expressway and the “Blue Route” (I-476) taking one to Philadelphia and King of Prussia, as well as Norristown and Chester, PA.
Getting up and showered, I feed them dry food in the kitchen, clean out the “clumps” from their litter box in the “powder room,” and then walk to living room to “turn on” the fountain for them to drink water. The fountain is in the shape of steps leading up a rocky mountain side where a soft sprinkle of liquid flows continuously powered by an electrical pump and small generator hidden inside. At the top of the 8-inch sculpture where the refreshing water originates, sits a green Buddha, a small, smiling and “abundant” Buddha, the Chinese type I made in ceramics class almost two years ago.
We got the oldest cat, Shadow, from the Montgomery County SPCA. She was in a cage with other kittens, and “squawked” at me and my son Nick, getting our immediate love and attention, when we “adopted” her some 14 years ago. She has PTSD. She is anti-social, dislikes most company, and seems to be afraid of going out into public. She is also one mean cat.
I believe she got her mean disposition from Nicholas when he sprayed her with water from our back yard hose, then tossed her into the sand box. Has had trust issues and a tendency to go “crazy” chasing her past ever since. (Or is she simply chasing her tail? Could it, and post traumatic stress disorder, actually be one and the same?)
I did not want Sundance, the youngest cat, and lobbied against claiming her. I thought she was going to be a replacement for the greatest cat I have ever known, a pure all-black one Nick and I got at a yard sale. He was a feral kitten, who learned how to hunt in a small wooded area in one of the outlying suburbs. Notoriously brave. Hunted and killed squirrels right where they roamed. Would decapitate the rodents by climbing the trees, wrestling them back to the ground and leaving their detached bodies just outside our kitchen door in the back yard.
Never did find a trace of the heads. I used to joke that “Trouble,” which we named my favorite cat, was into “devil worshiping,” and that one day we would come across a small altar with candles and burnt incense and find a bunch of little squirrel skulls that he and other black cats had “offered” to some Otherworldly Force.
Trouble died of cancer three years ago. Did not want to replace him. Could not replace him. And, I resented Sundance. Until I started to meditate. And found that she was the direct opposite of Trouble. She would not kill her prey, but let them survive from the clutches of her jaw. Yeah, I’m talking about the common sparrows she would “let go” of when bringing them to the back door, clutched in her teeth. Would not kill the mice she’d find in the house or outside. She seemed to enjoy the spirit of nature’s hunt, but not the taking of another sentient being’s life.
I made her my “Buddha buddy.” She jumps on my lap, does a little “cat dance” before settling, and I like to think we both meditate. At least she becomes as still and as quiet as I do. And we stay together for a good 20 to 25 minutes until feeling refreshed, energized and ready to take on a more peaceful and loving world.
You’ll have to excuse me now. I hear a call from the wild summoning me to return to my true nature. And I don’t mean the snow-covered one I have awakened to outside. It’s the “awakening” my Buddha buddy beckons me to visit within.