Whisper 2.17

Hey, Shan.

Thanks for writing. OK. I get it. You don’t feel like traveling, and you’re not coming to visit. I’ll stop asking.

Just as well, I guess. Our house is crowded.

I don’t just mean with two adults, two teens, a dog, and a cat–but with spirits. Some nights, our home is so full there’s hardly room to sit!

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It’s a weird feeling. You ever been around ghosts? Sometimes, it feels like an air current or change in air temperature, hot or cold. Sometimes, it makes me feel queasy. It always interrupts what I’m doing or getting ready to do.

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I guess it’s not the worst thing. Keeps me feeling close to Mom, Dante, and Uncle Frank. It makes me feel like there’s some kind of continuity and that all that’s come before isn’t lost. We’ve got ways of remembering, like taking a picture, but a picture that we store in our spirits. Eh, didn’t mean to go all metaphysical on you.

Speaking of forgetting what one’s doing… you won’t believe what Riley did. Or rather, forgot she was doing.

She was grilling hotdogs, when Zoey came out to play, and she started playing with him.

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And the next thing you know, we had a fire on our hands. Zoey tore outta there as if the Reaper were on his tail!

Riley started screaming and waving her hands.

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I came out with the fire extinguisher. I’ve done this before. Lucky thing, too, for I was able to put it out and everybody was OK.

I had all this adrenaline built up, though, so I went for a long jog all through town. So much for spending the afternoon working on my novel, which is what I’d planned to do!

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I was glad, though. Running home, in the soft rain, with the mist kissing the mountains, I realized again how much I love it here. It’s beautiful like nowhere else.

Do you feel that way about your town?

I think we develop a sense of home-aesthetics; at least, I do. Wherever I go, I measure it by home. Has it got mountains? If not, it might be beautiful, but it’s not capital-B beauty.  Is it raining or snowing? Do clouds soften the light of the sun? If not, maybe it’s bright, yeah,  but it’s not Beauty. Are the trees covered with green leaves, and does frost make the meadow sparkle? If not, it’s not got the beauty of home.

This day was home-quality perfect beauty all the way.

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It was really pouring by the time I reached home.

There, standing in the rain, looking at our house, was a stray cat.

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Seeing the cat there brought back so many memories. Did I ever tell you about Stray Dog? That was my first true love. Stray Dog was this cute old gray fellow with a curly borzoi tail. He showed up at our place on a rainy spring day.

We always wanted to adopt him. In fact, my mom spent hours every day while I was at school out playing with him until he’d let her pet him, and then brush him. And then they became friends. And then best friends. And then, he wandered off once more, and we never saw him again.

I looked for him for weeks. We even cut our vacation to the desert short because I wanted to get home, in case he was waiting for us.

I learned a lot about love then. I thought, at first, that because we loved him so much, he’d have to live with us. Doesn’t love require that it be returned in kind? When he left, I felt so forlorn. I was convinced he didn’t love us, after all. And so, then what was I to do with all the affection I felt? Was I wrong to love him, if he didn’t love us back? My mom said that love is never wrong, and that love comes in all sorts of ways. Just because he wandered didn’t mean he didn’t love us. Just because he wanted to live as a free dog, who belonged to no one, didn’t mean that he didn’t also love us. It just meant that he had to live free.

I remembered all of this while I played with the stray cat. But I can’t help that I also felt growing in me this strong desire that it turn out differently with Stray Cat.

I’m sure once she gets to know me, Riley, Bo, Patches, Zoey, and Roxey, she’ll want to live with us. After all, we’ve got organic gourmet beef kitty chow!

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You know what else we’ve got? Organic veggie burgers! Sure you don’t want to come visit?

Be well, Shannon. I love you. I miss you.

Wish me luck adopting Stray Cat!

–Marigold

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