Tag Archives: cats

demarcation: though the weather will turn again

Indira Ganesan, back garden, 2015
After the frost, 2015

The frost arrived visibly yesterday.  Past the woods, I could see the icy white coat on the on the horse fields, and imagine the crunch.  The horses themselves have found a place to nibble, in a corner.  I want to go out to take a photo, but that means outwitting Izzie, the cat that thinks she is both kitten and dog at two years, who likes to run out–impossible task.  Cats inherently need to roam, but domestication makes them restricted to the indoors.  I enjoy standing in my garden, breathing and staring, and she has often seen me, so why would she not want to join?  Coyotes, I tell her, raccoons, poison ivy, the bear if he decides to return.

We are a bloodthirsty lot, we humans.  We read werewolf stories, we kill writers whose words don’t agree with our own, we torture, maim, punish anyone who has less power.  Meanness can be second nature, coded in sanctimony.  To not be like this, one must consciously work toward another way.  One cannot assume one’s own nature is enough; maybe it is simply doing small acts, ordinary movements of humanity.  Happiness is our nature, say the sages; it is who we are.  But one needs to recall to ourself our inherent humanity.

I am thinking this after finishing My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante; by feeling trapped by befriending a cat-like Izzie who wants to explore the woods as is her instinct, while I chase after her, which is not mine; by the arrival of frost, which for me is a line of demarcation.  It announces clearly that yes, summer is past, that autumn’s harvest is nearing its end, that it s nearly Halloween, very nearly Thanksgiving.  I will turn fifty-five in between those holidays.

I have some travel ahead of me.  I have a novel that I want to rewrite with intelligence, infuse its pages with intelligence.  Since I wrote this draft, the clocks changed, it is November, squash bakes in the oven, and I have grated cheese over a cranberry bread to eat for supper.  I have dozens of essays to grade, a book to review, but meanwhile, I published an essay, an extension of the deer story, in the American Literary Review.  I thank Bonnie Friedman for inviting me to the table, and the editors for accepting my work.

Izzy Turns One, Ocean might be Two

Indira Ganesan, Mother & Daughter, 2014
Indira Ganesan, Mother & Daughter, 2014

So, my cats. As many of you know, I fostered a family of four kittens and their mom for a few months last fall. They lived at first in my separate studio while making sure they were not infected with ringworm( they weren’t) before moving into my home. And move in, they did. Scrambling onto the computer, checking out the windows, the sofas, claiming spots, developing personalities. One liked to sleep on the upside down lap desk propped against my table; another slept with her sister head to foot. One liked to hide in boxes, and their mom sought refuge in spaces near the ceiling, atop the kitchen cabinets, or the transom of the window. They wriggled, purred, fought and cuddled their way into my heart. As they were adopted, my heart would give out a little. My sweet allergic niece decided she liked Izzy’s photo the best, and so I kept Izzy, and her mom.

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I am still not sure how I wound up with the mom, but her name is Ocean. From five felines to two, my days spin around them. I wake at four, battling with Izzy who is busy tearing up the lining of my box spring. It is a task she looks forward to. We go back and forth for an hour and get up at a more respectable hour.

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They have grown this past year, Ocean filling out, and Izzy as well. Now Izzy will be a year old, and my teen-mom Ocean might turn two Sunday.

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It’s mostly about food, and napping, and sleeping.

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There is also the adorableness factor.