Monday, June 04, 2007

THE CATS AND ME

Vera guards the garden

Here I am, reading Cornel West’s Democracy Matters in the middle of the night, being emptied of my white illusions by acknowledgment of black realities of the past, silently swearing a more considerate behavior in the future and chasing a stray away from my cats’ food in the present — a hypocrite before uttering a word, an imperialist without a nation and a racist in the world of animals.

I resisted assuming the care and feeding of Priest and Vera when their mistress abandoned them in their kittenhood to elope with her feline fearing fiancé. I’d lost a friend of fifteen years fifteen years before and swore to never again suffer such devastation as pets are so likely to bring to their longer lived human lovers. But I was hooked by their character and affection and my fiercely independent hermit island became a country as we three patrolled the land of our yard and tended the resources of our garden. Our population established limits when the vet did for them what a vasectomy had done for me years before.

Our happy company attracts lonely strays born wild to feral parents who themselves were born again upon surviving escape from paper placentas in which they were cast somewhere upstream into the waters of the river by which we live. When their hunger over comes their fear and I am nowhere in sight, they sniff out the abundance of the bowl to gorge themselves on easier prey than the bugs, birds and reptiles in the woods. Until this night I’ve chased them off. Until this night I’ve thought of the blues as whiney music. Until this night I could not comprehend the revulsion I felt from my country’s self preserving hypocrisy, xenophobic racism and imperialistic arrogance. As the sun rises I find a lot of work to do at home. No solution in sight but the problem clear as day.

Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within” - James BaldwinPriest regards his dreams

6 comments:

karoline said...

i enjoyed that

thankyou

:)
k

Pisces Iscariot said...

Beautiful - more like this please

Ché Bob said...

My reality is paralleled by quite the opposite. Mrs. Che Bob will not allow our favorite feline, Emma Goldman, to ever stray from the inside of our house! Isn't that cruel irony? Name your cat Emma Goldman and then force her to watch the beautiful world of bugs, birds, mice, trees, plants and grass from inside a house. My Emma is a prisoner.

More to the point of your post, Mrs. Che Bob says she doesn't want Emma to have contact with the neighborhood cats. She fears their "diseases." Indeed, my Emma lives in a Brave New World cut off from other kitty races.

gregra&gar said...

Karoline,
Anytime, thanks.

Pisces,
It's rare a metaphor of such magnitude for me just slams me it the face with a manifested example while my mind was meditating on such an exact reflection. In the state of preverbal thought I find everything to be a metaphor for everything, which, so long as I prefer to enjoy the bliss of such happiness, is totally useless for expression, if the grin on my face isn't enough.


Che,
you've given me a dynamic to ponder — the threshold between xenophobic isolationism and just minding ones own business. Even in my own little idea of a perfect society the constituent tribes must have free trade with any consenting other tribe. It's just that tribal sized primary groups instead of nations make the rampant destruction greed can wreak so isolated that the whole idea of the free market punishes the greedy rather than rewards it. Something about being unable to starve people you know or having to kill the meat you eat yourself leading to vegetarianism - something like that.

There's also the threshold between genuine curiosity about the rest of the world and the judgmental evangelism that spearheads every exploitation ever perpetrated. Even a well meaning friend who emailed me from India with the line "these people are so miserably poor, yet so unbelievably happy," was being a bit of a mini-missionary, it is ingrained in racial, national, religious exceptionalism. So long as the golden rule prevents one from actually understanding the standards of the culture they are considering their judgment can only be by their own standards — always an imposition.

Liberal White Boy said...

I love most animals, including human beings. I hate cats.

Lilwave said...

It is always painful to come to the realization that our actions sometimes do not reflect what is in our heart. Who we really are, is not always who think we are. It is a hard lesson but it is what make us realize that we are still growing and what changes we need to make. This hit me in the face just recently also. Now you can love the strays the way you always thought you had. I have come to adore cats in spite of my allergies. What an awesome creature. I have an outside cat named Bowie but she likes when I call her kitty. I guess it's the same as when I call my son, my little muffin, lol. (of course I can only call him that when it is just us two). Bowie's survival skills are amazing.