Saturday, April 18, 2009

The miracle of the cat

The miracle of the cat - that's my subject. For some days now I have been aware of Sherlock as if he were a stuffed animal that came to life - miraculous - and I were a child delighted by this enchanted being.

You can talk about the miracle of a seed - how the Japanese maple in front of the house began with single winged seed that held all the information needed to turn it into this kind of tree, and not any other. But the maple doesn't follow me around the house, so my attention is drawn more often to the cat.

The other day I was fooling around in the garage, had the front door of the van open, passenger side. I looked up and was surprised. There was Sherlock in the van, comfortably tucked in on the floor, looking at me. Somehow it delighted me, the way he never misses a chance, the way he is self-determining, not like the ceramic cats on top of my bookcase, which never go anywhere.

How can it be that a stuffed animal comes to life and walks around on his own delicate feet, goes wherever he wants to go, drinks water himself when he needs it, having a preference for the bathroom sink, keeps processing cat food, taking it in for fuel, excreting the useless into his litter box. What fine discrimination is needed for that!

How can this animated thing be so individual? so sure of his place in the house, all his special seats, how he is allowed to lie on the kitchen table in the sun, looking out over his territory, but not when there is Food on the Table, a special situation he will never approve of, but respects. I look at his beautifully delicate pink nose - he breathes with that! Breathing keeps him alive.

So alive. And one day whatever animates all this will leave and go back into the general life energy, and he will lie motionless, no longer Sherlock the Amazing. To think of that is amazing, too.

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