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Wednesday, April 7, 2010


mr whiskers

Another day of good weather for outdoor spray painting. Again, a little bit of wind, but not enough to matter. It took about 3 hours to paint 2 of the wheels. It's good to have them done all the way around. I was flagging a bit toward the end. The last one I had to force myself to keep going at it until done. It doesn't seem like much, but it's tiring. I'm so far out of shape it's just the kind of exercise I need. Mostly stretching leg and arm muscles. Before I went to the place where I do the work, where it's level and close by, I went to my spring to clean the screen because I'd opened the pipe a few days ago and let it run for awhile to wash the silt out that gathers in low places. It draws debris, tiny bits of vegetation, to the screen over the end of the pipe.

I walked by the vacant Vance Caudill house and saw crouched among flowering daffodils TarBaby's face. He was looking at me like he wasn't sure. Looks like, but cats and dogs don't go by looks like alone. I called his name. I said, TarBaby. No change of the wariness in his eyes. I said, ElGato, he said, Mao, and followed me to the spring. I didn't know that was one of his hunting grounds. When I found him, he was stalking something and didn't want to let up. But the call of the human is a higher card than the call of the wild. At the spring, I found the big pink spring lizard (salamander) wiggling around on the bottom. It's been there for some years. Last year a Christmas tree worker grabbed its tail and my friend swam/walked up into the spring. The tail is back, but still has a little bit more to go on the end, maybe half an inch. It's a faded peach color with a pattern of tiny black dots all over it. I ran it up the spring so I could take the screen off the end of the pipe. Don't want my friend to have to live the rest of its life in a 2"pipe, then one day plug up the plumbing in the house when I turn on the water. Tear into the pipes and find it, or its parts.

Got the screen cleaned without drawing the spring lizard into the pipe. Mission accomplished. TarBaby walked back to the car with me, I picked him up and carried him when I got in. He's been in a moving car only in a cat carrier to and from the vet. He does not like it. I started the car and let him walk around exploring the interior, looking at the land outside through the windows of the big spaceship the giant gets in and goes away and comes back. He was nervous, but his curiosity was dominant because the giant was with him. I went onto the road and TarBaby watched the road and familiar landscape kind of fascinated to see his familiar world through glass from inside the human space ship. He seemed a bit taken with it, like my first time in a plane did for me. I drove slow so he could see everything. At a certain speed, it becomes faster than they can comprehend what they're seeing. It was fascinating for me to see him look at his world in ways he'd never seen it before. I have an idea it stretched his mind a little bit.

I drove up the driveway to Carpenter's parking place that is good and level. TarBaby watched the road after we left it until it went out of sight, like the last bit of familiar territory was there no more and we were heading into the place where the wild ones walk at night. It's as scary a place for a cat as a cemetery is for somebody superstitious. He turned uneasy when the road went out of sight. We were off into the unknown where everything that roams there is bigger than a cat and fights to kill. It's the house of horrors for him on Halloween. Being with me behind the shield of glass, he felt fairly secure. He was anxious, but not frightened. I opened the door and he jumped down to the gravel and stood around close to the car, waiting to see what I was going to do.

When he saw I was settling in, trunk lid up, taking out the jack and everything I need that's in a couple of plastic bags, he set to exploring. He knows the house and the ground around it.I saw him hunkered down on the deck in shade after he'd looked all around for anything he needed to know about for a heads-up cat. He watched me between a couple of uprights on the railing. When we're out of sight of the house, TarBaby is comfortable that he's safe with me. I'm his only defense against dogs and bigger. He's impressed that I am dominant over dogs. When the dogs have him cornered, the human yells at them and they quit right now. It's not, however, that they're obeying anything or even that it registers they're being scolded. The yelling caught their attention that I was outside the house.

They look up and see me, forget about the cat, take off lallygagging with tongues hanging out, bounding like Pluto, eyes rolling in ecstasy, running as fast as they can run for the chance to be touched by the human. See me. Feel me. Touch me. Heal me. The dogs were so predictable I almost felt like I was cheating. All it took was distraction. Last Sunday I saw a car of people park to go to the waterfall. The dogs were at the car in an instant, lallygagging, excited to see humans. Bless me O Great Advanced One with the Grace of Your Divine Touch; I'm a humble dog at your feet. They're like people in India who go around from holy man to holy man to receive blessings. The dogs run to the humans for a blessing, for the touch of one of the gods. The man inside the car door where both dogs were waiting for him was half afraid and didn't open the door for awhile. I knew the dogs wouldn't hurt them, I and watched.

He opened the door and Martha, who can slither into any space she can get her nose into, squirmed in on him trying to crawl onto his lap like a seal, giving him no choice but to pay attention to Martha. She's squirming all over him, him trying to keep her back, like I do when I open the car door. Jolene jumping up and down wanting to get in there too with those eyes that probably kept him in the car for awhile. After the people made it out, the man picked up a stick and threw it for the dogs. Distraction. But it didn't work. Allan doesn't throw sticks for them and I don't either. Nobody has ever thrown a stick for them to chase. Both dogs just watched the stick fly through the air.

I know the man was frustrated beyond his wits end, but I thought I'd let him handle the dogs. He opened the door and saw they were friendly, but was overwhelmed by the power of their adoration for humans. I don't feel bad about it, though. It's back to cat humor, getting a kick out of watching somebody jump. Down. Down. Get down. No. Down. Down. No. Get down. Down. Down. I don't know if that's what he was saying; it's my ongoing conversation with the dogs. No. Get down. Down. Feet on the ground. Down. Stop it. All the while they're dancing around me in an ecstatic rite of spring. The nearness of a human being, O how great. Jesus said we are gods. Dogs regard us as gods. I'm wondering if there might be something to it.

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