Historical and Literary Fiction / Essays / Poetry / Reviews /Book Cover and Interior Illustrations / Pet Portraits and Other Commissioned Artwork … "Prose may be the lowest order of the rhythmic composition, but we know it is capable of such purity, sweetness, strength, elasticity, as entitle it to a place as a sister art with poetry." Thomas Hall Caine (1853 -1931) from his firsthand "Reflections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti"
I’ve felt relief and regret in the last few days, the air cooling along with my gardener’s desire to keep summer flowering into autumn. I admit I’ve already cheated on it, with chrysanthemums and year-end contemplation, even begun cutting it down to the size of its decline. A date with pumpkins and cornstalks will be next, the harvest moon rising, the frost finishing off the confusion of my feelings for a long and short commitment to the leaves changing and falling in earnest.
But, alas! As I write this I’m not the only one hovering between staying and moving on. A hummingbird drinks the dwindling nectar of my plantings, lifting, considering, his wings resting on a dead oak branch that still lives for the purpose of his perching.
There was a peacock by the side of the road, a simple country road where you might see scavenging chickens or crows, a winding traveler’s road unless it was as far as you needed to go. He lifted his feet and nodded his head but didn’t look back as we passed him by. Peacocks belonged to certain times and places, posing and parading where they were transplanted, ogling and ignoring spectators waiting and waiting for what they thought was coming. Peacocks were known to tease with their tales…oops…tails trailing behind them, not needing all eyes on theirs to court attention. Where was the sweeping lawn or gilded courtyard for this one? He had the iridescent train, noble crest, confident step, and—as my distant experience heard—commanding cry of a greater bird than appeared out of nowhere. When we saw him on the run, more from our confusion than his own, he brought a little magic but also mutiny to our day.
Image courtesy of Google
Author’s note: I begin a new series on my blog–writing inspired by my observations of flora and fauna. (My goal is to post one every week in addition to any other posts I make. Goals, like rules, are for breaking.)
I welcome others to share their nature insights too.
Cats must be there. Even as I wander long ago and faraway, they follow me, rub my legs, curl on my bed and beg my attention without disturbing it. Their purring is my mantra too, so natural and deliberate at the same time, encouraging the perfect rhythm of my heart. They are soft to the touch yet strong enough in their will. One swipes at my pen to remind me not to take it all so seriously; another paws my arm, pleading, eyes green with envy for the obsession that seems to leave him out. Oh, no. How can I tell him? With a turn and a bow and a stroke he’s reassured; with an Eskimo kiss he’s a distraction but—as one of my favorite writers, Colette, once noted—never a waste of time. Yet another stretches, slithers and yawns like a serpent enticing me to a nap. And then I realize I’m being watched, by that scamp who only sleeps to run and jump and wrestle when he’s awake, small and smart and certain I can’t grab him before he runs away again.
Cats know more than they ever say, probably for the best if progress is ever to be made. A leonine length with legs neatly crossed and head shaped for stillness sets me wondering if any activity could be better than none. Oh, I know. I must make a living, eat and drink and pretend to hunt. So I do so with their goal in mind, eyes squeezed closed and whiskers and paws and tail twitching, to savor sleep as much as success—for the dream of the mouse even more than its taste.
Cats can be characters, as many as I’ve had there’s no end to the possibilities. I can dress them up and use them in stories that otherwise might not welcome them. I suspect they’d be flattered if they knew, that they expect me to take them everywhere I go and include them in everything I do. Saying that, they realize being ignored is freedom from expectation, especially if turned into a choice. And vanishing is just another way of being found.
Cats must be there whether off by themselves or entwined with each other blending colors and creeds, laying on my feet or an angel at my shoulder, between the sheets…or novel pages which means manipulating history a little for their appearances. Even as they don’t seem relevant, I hear their breathing and know I’m still alive, remember their passing and feel them present, anticipate more to come and believe they too will save me—persuading my life and writing to pay tribute to what is here and gone and yet to be created.