Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sea breezes and kittenish Cats

Our perfect summer days have tiptoed temporarily out the back door. We're back to a chill wind and overcast sky. Often as not in summer, later in the day, the sun will make an appearance and we will traipse along outside, through northwest beauty, in comfort once more. This morning the little bells hung from eaves and branches around the yard are ringing steadily in the wind and I just realized that I have developed a morning routine:
* Rise.
* Clean up cat vomit;
*gather Lucy and Lisa's dishes;
*wipe up food covering the floor around Lisa's dish;
*wipe the floor itself;
*carry dishes to kitchen,wash them, refill them, put them back down.
*Feed Gracie, Smoky & PJ.
*Lock the boys in the bathroom so Gracie doesn't eat too much.
*Feed Shadow.
*Take her out back to do her business - clean that up.
*Brief check of email.
*Back to bed if possible, to read a little bit and pet the ancient cats who live in the bedroom.

Today I was able to do that, go back to bed. Lisa had lapped up water but ignored the new food, I think, though she may have helped Lucy with her plate. Nowhere in sight, Lisa Miranda was likely curled up in the little cat-bed under my bed as is her habit for part of the day. Later she will ensconce herself up near the pillows and be quite annoyed - except for getting whatever petting she desires - when evening comes and I am in her way again.

But Lucy is always ready for a visit and some ritualized petting. I say ritualized because she walks in circles around me, almost invariably, as I pet her. When I come back to bed this morning she is on the window sill. She walks over to the Dolly (which I put in that window each day) and pushes her off the sill, peering over the edge to see Dolly hit the floor. She is satisfied. Her big job of the day is done. Then she leaps to the bed and allows me to pet her lovely gray fur.

I'm reading an interview with Mary Oliver, about the generative process of making her poems, and it occurs to me that I am living somewhat as she does. Except going out into nature is not the first part of the day for me. Being with what passes for nature (and relationship) in my house, is my daily spark to consciousness and being present in this world. Later, Shadow and I will walk 2-4 miles, pulling inspiration and plain good exercise from the experience. But for the moment I am content right here, with the little bells clanging in the breeze which meanders up from North Beach and pours in the bedroom window.

I never saw the ocean until I was thirty. In my fifties in Virginia I drove forty minutes to sit on a beach and breathe that healing moist air. Now at 61, though I can't afford waterfront luxury, the sea air sometimes finds its way to my bedroom. Last night it helped me drift off to sleep and it greets me again this morning- how lucky am I? Very.

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