Monday, February 22, 2016

365 True Things: 330/Cats II, part 2 (Java)

I wrote a while back about our kitty Jamaica, a feisty little she-devil. Today I'll write about her Buddha-sister, Java. Or rather, I'll mostly share a few photos and a little story, because the gist of her story is in the previous post.

Though there I didn't mention her general response whenever Jamaica would rush her, hissing and swiping, which was: WHAAAat? I didn't DO anything. Which invariably was true. She'd just be sitting around, being Zen, when all of a sudden the little fury-dervish would try to give her what-for.

And they were sisters!

Then again, they were cats. She-cats.

Here are some photos of sweet, fat Java with her beautiful golden eyes, who in another life may have been a dog (she loved to go for walks with us).

And here's a silly little story I wrote about her.

The Buddha and the Cat

The statue, about a foot and a half high and made of gray stone, rests among red and purple sages and orange poppies and yellow dandelions in the mess of a yard. It is the seated Buddha, the contemplative Buddha, his hands cupped within each other, thumbs curled, his eyes downcast as he ponders the ground before him. Or no, he is not pondering anything, he is simply breathing, in, out, in, gently banishing thoughts as they arise. Watch his chest rise and fall, rise and fall, as the breeze brushes his cheeks. Ants march in a straight line across his field of view, busy about their work. A bird flits to the shallow, tiled-mosaic birdbath a few feet away, splashes. The plants tower over him, pushing in on him from behind. The Buddha doesn’t notice; he is intent on his breath. With each exhalation he feels more serene. Wait, now: what’s that? a thump, solid, on wood. A cat: a black cat with a white flash on her chest, yellow eyes. Round about the middle, she waddles, her toenails clicking on the wooden deck. Her serenity surrounds her like an aura, palest yellow: she does not need to work at it. She moves in a cloud of contentment. Moving directly in front of the Buddha, she sits, throws a rear leg forward, leans and licks—grooming. Now you notice that, despite the riot of plant life, the patch of ground before the Buddha is barer, trampled down: just the right size for this fat black cat. She continues her work, her pink tongue flicking out, then catching and dragging on shiny black fur. She shifts her body, attends to the other leg. She cranes her neck forward and tries to get at her chest. Her belly. Under the tail. One front paw, and the other. When she has finished she sits up straight, wraps her tail around her, and faces the Buddha. Sitting about two feet apart, they gaze into each other’s eyes. The Buddha begins to smile, just the corners of his mouth turning up. A bright poppy bends forward and taps him on the shoulder, prods him on. Go on, let go, it says. Go on, agrees the cat, let go, let it all go. The Buddha smiles with his lips, then grins full on, his white teeth glinting. The cat is still sitting still as a whisper, but—is it your imagination?—it seems also to be on its feet, dancing, a little jig . . . as if with tails and top hat. But no. But yes! The cat frisks and struts and hijinks, even as—how can it be?—she sits utterly still, still as a feather floating on breezeless air. The Buddha can’t control himself now: he is laughing. His belly shakes, his shoulders roll; he throws his head back and delight and merriment flow from his mouth. The cat’s aura has shifted to red, and it seems to overtake the small garden space and hug the Buddha, hug the sages and the poppies and the dandelions, it seems to rise into the air and permeate the entire space. You want to step into it, into that shimmering pink-red, and feel the joy as the Buddha, and now the ants and the birds and the worms and the aphids and even the spitbugs, erupt with laughter. Amid this delight, the cat closes her eyes, oh so slowly. She basks in the day, in the warmth of the sun, in the fragrance of the herbs. Soon she opens her eyes and gazes at Buddha’s face, now still, returned to stone—all reverence.

No comments:

Post a Comment