27 August 2006

Cat! Cluck! Cat!

Pheasant in upper left of photo

I was sitting at my desk, which looks out into the fields to the west of my house. I heard a “Cluck. Cluck. Cluck.” Its tone sounded like the pheasant but I am used to hearing him crow not cluck.

He was just standing, long-necked in the middle of the mowed area under my hanging feeder. Something was different.

I went at once to the screened in porch and saw Slim, for the first time, relaxed and taking an interest in being on the porch. It explained the pheasant’s long-necked stance and his clucking, immediately!

The pheasant clucking and standing there sure explained her interest.

26 August 2006

Knew cat

A friend from work had borrowed my kayak. I store it in my neighbor PS’s garage. So, we were up the hill across the road to take the kayak off the roof of her Jeep. I was putting the paddles off to the side of the garage and saw something bolt into the woods. I thought it was a hare but that didn’t quite ring true. I didn’t think much more about it.

Then, as we were pulling the kayak off the roof of her Jeep, we both saw a long, skinny cat bolt across the driveway and into the woods. I think I might have walked over to where it bolted and called. I don’t remember anymore.

Several days later I saw the cat in my driveway close to the road. I called to it and it bolted again. Tuesday, August 15th, I pulled into the drive and saw it at the far end, up by the house. I stopped the car, got out and called gently. It stayed still. I crawled, literally on my belly, through the grass, calling softly to it.

The cat let me get quite close before bolting. I figured it was gone. I walked out to the back porch and saw it sitting in the mowed path by the bird bath. I called again and came in the house and got the only thing I could find in my vegetarian home to feed it: half and half. The cat was gone when I went back out. I walked out the side door and it was once again in the driveway; only now, walking out toward the road. I called and offered the cream. It creeped carefuly toward the bowl as I backed off. It drained the bowl and kept licking, almost chewing on the glass bowl itself.

I went back in and got some yogurt, mixed in nutritional yeast and offerd it the same way. Again, the cat drained the bowl. As it was eating I went around the side of the house and ran to a neighbors, found the stashed key, let myself in looking for canned cat food. I couldn’t find any! I spotted a can of Alaskan salmon. I grabbed it, locked the door, stashed the key and ran back.

The first, tentative step towards me and away from the salmon

I put a bowlful on the mat at the bottom of my stairs and sat at the top of the stairs. The cat approached cautiously and ate; then tentatively walked up and bonked my hand with its head. I stood up and opened the door and it came in. The cat hissed a wide, open mouthed, fierce hiss anytime we were both walking toward the food bowl.

I wore my knee-high, black rubber boots in the house for the first night and the second day, in case the cat was inclined to attack.

It was not. Never once tried to scratch or bite me. It easily allowed me to approach as it was eating, and even take the bowl away. The cat let me pet it, pick it up and quickly made itself comfortable on the back pillow of the couch.

She has been here ever since. She is very skinny! Eating and sleeping. A tiny bit of play. Friendly. Lets me pat her and carry her and has met two friends without running away. Greeted them like old friends.

She weighed 4 pounds the first day I got her. She’s clean, no sign of ear mites, maybe a flea or two, certainly no infestation. She took right to a litter box, doesn’t scratch furniture, uses a cardboard scratching box I bought. I plan to make or buy a more permenent scratching post.

I’ve named her Slim. Only my fiend and one of my sisters knew immediately what the reference was: Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not. Slim was the name of Lauren Bacall’s character. The director, Howard Hawks, chose the nickname for the Bacall character, Marie, because it was the nickname (bestowed upon her by William Powell) of his wife, Nancy Gross (later and better kown as Slim Keith). After seeing Bacall on the cover of Harper’s, Slim suggested her to Hawks for the role in Bacall’s first movie, To Have and Have Not.

This little, skinny, cat certainly had not. Now she has. And she is as slim as Slim can be. I am touched that she persisted and found me. I am glad she decided to stay.

13 August 2006

Phood, Phiend and Phenomena

Yesterday I reclined (would someone please find a way to teach me, once and for all, how to use: lie/lay/lain/laid [OK. Enough, potty brains...]) in my stargazer chaise. It was a rare day, windy enough and with what must have been several other natural phenomena coinciding so as to produce a day in Maine, on the coast, in August, with absolutely no biting insects!

Later, I met up with my Fiend. We took a lovely walk on Marlboro Beach and saw 2 rainbows. One was a double. This beach is where we often walked with my dog, Willow. Fiend said they were Willow Wainbows...

We had dinner at a gourmet vegan restaurant. We shared a tomato tart in an light, flakey filo dough, homemade breadsticks with olive oil and green olive butter (no dairy) and a “Pat and Mike” salad of fresh, local baby greens (we chose it in honor of Kate Hepburn, whom we both love, but we have no idea why the restaurant calls it that). I had their Bento Box: edamame, grilled tofu, nori rolls, baby bok choy and hiziki salad.

This is a traditional Japanese Bento Box

We each sipped soy milk lattes after dinner. Mine decafe. Fiend’s, leaded.

After the meal, we walked through town to the car and then we drove to the summit of Cadillac mountain. At 1,532 feet, it is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard. It was pushed up by Earth’s tectonic and volcanic forces millions of years ago. It was swarming like an ant hill with touristas. Summer is not the time to do this. Unless you are a tourista.

I drove us back to where my Fiend had left her car and as we were saying goodnight, I spotted a meteorite burning up in Earth’s atmosphere. I hurried home where I spotted several more earthgrazers before the moon rose. Earthgrazers are meteors that skim the top of Earth’s atmosphere sort of like a stone skipping across water. They appear when the radiant of a meteor shower is near the horizon, spewing meteoroids not down, but horizontally overhead.

The term meteor comes from the Greek meteoron, meaning phenomenon in the sky. Indeed.

08 August 2006

Where is my mother?

Today is the seventh anniversary of the death of my mother.


I flew to Denver when she died, to be with my sister and deal with the cremation. A local funeral parlor handled "the body."

My sister lives in a racially diverse neighborhood and chose a black owned business. We stood out like funeral lilies. And, frankly, we were treated like shit. As were the doves they had crammed into a cage and stored in almost total darkness. (The doves are used to "set free" at the request of some funeral customers to symbolize the freedom of the soul after death. Yeah. Crammed and caged and suffering in the dark?)

Anyway. My dead mother was in a yellow hospital johnny and laying on a stretcher when we got there. We were in a basement room with only very uncomfortable, metal folding chairs to sit on. We sat on them only after I wrestled them out of the tangle leaning against the wall and set them up for my sister and me.

We talked to our mother...told her of all the shitty things she did to us and told us about ourselves and how so much of it still hurts. We told her about the amazing, creative, funny, talented woman we could barely, but always, see behind the morass of depression and alcohol. We laughed. We cried. We patted her waxy, hard, yellow skin.

We said good bye. I said a prayer for the doves.

We next saw her at the crematorium. Well, not her, but the box she was in. She wanted no special service or consideration. We watched as the waxed cardboard box was slid into the furnace. We left.

I do not remember what my sister and I did next. Probably ate ice cream.