I've been re-reading Patti Smith's Just Kids, a memoir about her early years in New York when she and Robert Mapplethorpe were growing into a sense of themselves as artists. The insecurity of that process strikes a chord with me-the idea of not being sure who you are or where you are headed. We don't always know where our choices will lead us--but that shouldn't lead us to entropy, should it? The memoir reminds me that art often comes from doubt, that the artist wills herself into existence.
Life is so unpredictable. We are capable of transformation at any moment. I love this passage from a Mary Oliver poem, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Sometimes, we assign questions like that to the young. . . but I've been thinking about how--no matter what age we are--that question still applies. We still have choices about what we will do with the rest of our lives, no matter how many years remain.
I'm not an animal person. Do you hear me universe? I'm not. But right now, I have cat love like I can't believe.
I started feeding a feral cat last fall and eventually named her Annie (Anakin/Annicken). I had a hard time saying that she was "my" cat--rather, I shared my backyard with her and made sure that she had something to eat twice a day. I knew I probably needed to get her fixed, but it took me awhile to gain her trust--and then I got sick for the first two months of the semester (whooping cough, if you can believe it). Anyway, I borrowed a cat trap and a cat carrier, but had no luck catching Annie.
Five weeks ago, I returned from a snowshoeing trip to find Annie missing. The next morning, I discovered her hiding place . . . and the five kittens she had given birth to the day before.
I've watched these kittens grow, played with them several times every day, worried about their health, and I'm trying to find good homes for them.
And, let me say it, I love these kittens. They each have their own personality and charm. They are terribly amusing in the mornings as they chase each other, play fight, jump up and down, and try to climb up my legs.
I love Frankie, who has chosen my friend Bo to live with. Frankie is adventurous and chubby, an adorable fur ball who has one of the most intelligent kitty faces ever.
I love Lucky Boots, who has chosen 7 year old Josie as her owner. Boots, too, has a charming face--and her white markings make her a very striking kitty. She's also very playful and is often the instigator of trouble.
I love Thunder, who is the shyest of the bunch. I've been trying to pay extra attention to him, to make sure that he feels comfortable around people. He's been quite the player himself the last few days, and he's a great cuddler--but he still hides from me sometimes.
I love Flash, who is independent and a little standoffish. But Flash has this great face with a half white nose--and faint calico markings. Flash is going to be a beautiful cat--and she's such an interesting cat already.
And I even love Stripes with his loud meows and attention grabbing ways. He's fattening up and is quite mischievous, but he still loves to be held.
Most of all, I love Annie. She has mellowed a lot over the last few weeks. She's been really protective of her kittens and changed nests a few times, trying to find the best place for them. She's become more and more affectionate--and I love that she has actually let a number of my friends pet her.
This past Spring Break will always be the Spring Break of kittens. In less than three weeks, these kittens will be weaned and ready for new homes. I hope to find owners who love them even more than I do.