Monday, June 04, 2007
THE CATS AND ME
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.