Thursday, February 16, 2012

Living With a Cat

At night, on velvety paws he sneaks up on me.  He startles me awake with whiskers close to my eyes and the soft sound of purring in my ears.  I forget my dreams as I curl around on one side and the cat nestles up next to my skin.  He lays there patiently unless my electric blanket gets too hot for him-- furry being that he is.  He lets me sleep in peace, sometimes settling between my feet.  Not the most comfortable position for me.

But as I wake up, I find  the fabric little mouse that we fill with catnip in the hallway or my yarn or even my new knitting that I forgot to secure in a bag --- he loves yarn.  It is a testimony to his hours of play during the night.  But now he runs down the stairs, sits by his bowl and waits.  I am supposed to feed him but I open the fridge, get the almond milk, get my home made granola, my fruits to greet another day.  Eventually he gets fed; he runs to the spider plant to munch on it, his dessert I guess; then settles by the window to look out and eye the landscape over Colorado.

He is my winter Tabby cat.  He spends time with us until we get too busy traveling and doing Art Shows to really care for him.  A great arrangement that I have with my daughter.  I love to touch his fat belly, the markings on his coat mesmerize me as does his sleekness and his talent for jumping high that he manages to show always.  Sometimes he climbs across the most crowded places but nothing falls, adept as he is to travel carefully between object not disturbing any.

All the cats that I have had in the past have been healers.  They seem to draw the sickness out of your body by sitting legs stretched on your chest and eyes closed purring until you are lolled by the heavenly sounds that I wish I could carry with me always. They purr their love and their enjoyment.

He is hugely attracted to the outside but hardly ever wants to go out  by himself.  The little rabbits, birds and squirrels catch his eyes and sitting on top of my credenza by the window, he clicks his tongue, moves his tail, all hunter in action with the body flat on the glass ready to jump, but I laugh knowing his stance is nothing but a motion and he is safe in my home.

Sometimes I peer over his looks disbelieving that a foreign creature like him has chosen us, the family of man and dare to be our friend.  He has that look of the wild, and I know that left on his own he will return to the long ancestral habits that his specie has nurtured before it got domesticated.  His tame looks do not fool me.

But he does follow me like a dog would do.  When I go to my studio, he runs after me down the stairs and looks for his favorite chair just close to mine and sits.  After grooming himself thoroughly he closes his eyes but still stays aware as his ears move in the direction of any sound.  I am sure he hears so much more than I ever will.  That it why he is a cat and makes the nights his time to roam.

We put up with his cat litter that I clean every morning, his crying in the middle of the night sometimes, his walks between our legs and once in a while, the gentle bites he takes on my husband's ankles as he comes down the stairs.  He knows that the man in the house is the one who gives the treats.  The cat sits on him by the TV while I beg for him to join me.  Males win sometimes!

Now he lays down at my feet, belly up soft and beige as tabby cats like to show and he dreams of catnip and of our hands gently caressing his fur.  He is all within himself but I know that he is also all vigilant.

                                                                                         Copyright 2012 Micheline Brierre

 The Cat

All sinuous and curves of fur
he stretches and yawns, his markings
a pattern of a thousand lines.
Now stretched  by my chair he lays
mysterious companion
who walks by my feet
and looks with eyes
of eternity.

I stare at the yellow-green of pupils open on my life
long looks reminiscent of time immemorial
when he roamed the earth, wild and proud
as a creature of lonely nights and vivid days.

I have dreamed of long journeys when we travel
in lands lush and humid, mossy and green  
a solace for his paws and for my feet.

I sleep, legs warmed by his body
and I escape in immense voyages
of the soul where he leads the way
as cats can only do.

Copyright 2012 Micheline Brierre 
All photos copyright 2012 BD Kaplan Photography

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Love of People

The end of the year was a mixed event. I got sick with a bronchitis and was alone in my house because my husband had gone to St Louis.  He planned to bring back his mom's car that she had decided to give me.  At her age she thought it was best to stop driving.  I guess she loves me!  I felt weak and had an exhausting cough that kept me many days in bed not doing much but reading all the books I could find at hand.  It was not easy.

My daughter's best friends came and shoveled the snow out of my driveway and I stayed indoors as much as I could.  Miso the cat was my companion.  He was my daughter's tabby, a huge cat who had come "south for the winter" as her friend said.   I do live south of her, although in the same town, and his voyage to my house lasted less than 20 minutes! This is his second visit at this time of the year since I stay home then and do not travel.  He gets to remember his favorite spots in the house and knows that I am his winter companion.

This gave me time to think.  I reviewed the year and found so much good in the everyday living and all the people I got to see and correspond with.  This year brought old friends back to visit me and at many art shows I got to hug many that I had not seen for a whole year.

I also got to think of all the things that happened to me and to them this year.  The people were certainly the most fulfilling aspect of every day. I realized that looking at a person in the eye to follow the tracing of their words, plus the words they might not dare say but that reveal their absolute consciousness is a treat. I was able to understand them with an empathy of the heart.  It was the best of the year.  Not traveling, even though going elsewhere is exciting and enriching.  Not reading some of my best books although I love reading; it was simply sharing a great moment with soul friends, people who listened and talked straight from their gut and heart.

This particular pleasure is like eating great pastry or like going inside of me to search for the traits I most love; or spending time alone investigating the many quirks in my head when dreams linger by and echo in my soul.

People are it.  Fascinating, interesting, crazy at times, sad, fulfilled, passionate, inquisitive, quirky, present and so terribly satisfying.  I line them up in my head and I feel blessed with so many who share so many characteristics and offer so many disparities, enough to satisfy me for a lifetime.  So this year of 2012, I dedicate to all my friends and my family that brings me the joy of following their life, of sharing their sorrow, and of laughing with them when their excitement is high.

I thank all of those who wrote to me, who talked to me, whom I dreamed of, whom I remembered, whom I rediscovered as well as the ones whom I missed and never got to see.  I want to celebrate us, the people who roam this earth and make my life worthwhile and prodigiously happy.

I used to think that bread was a huge and very simple pleasure. So satisfying.  A nice chunk torn from a baguette and so good to the tongue.  I think that the huge flow of humans that populate my life and let me enter their lives is the greatest satisfaction and the most enthralling and interesting aspect of living.

Copyright 2012 Micheline Brierre