My heart is longing for a four-legged friend to bring some spirit back into the house. It's not like there is a void in my heart. It's just that I miss Caterpillar all the time. It is becoming something I need to let go of, maybe. The love in my heart for Caterpillar is the same as when she was in the body. I can still talk to her. It's a matter of getting used to the absence. A kitten is available colored like Caterpillar with yellow eyes like hers. The kitten stays in my mind. Another part of mind says I don't need to be jumping into a Caterpillar replacement right away. Birds galore, chipmunks and squirrels are regulars here every day. I've cultivated them, fed them to attract them for my visual enjoyment. I cannot bring a killer in on them. Plus, there is all that goes with a kitten. Like teaching it to stay out of the road. Plus, I am not done with the sorrow of losing Caterpillar. I'm assured the time was right for Caterpillar, the method she chose was right. It showed me she was in tune with her wild mind. Domestic mind was learned behavior like a second language. Wild mind was her first and foremost mind. I like for my cats and dogs to have access to their wild minds. Where I live gives dogs or cats access to wild mind.
Caterpillar's back legs gave out. She lost her spring, the only reason she could lie on the ground to watch birds and chipmunks and not snatch them. Years ago, I saw her jump straight up and swat a flying snowbird about four feet above the ground. She hit it like hitting a tennis ball overhead. She did not knock it out of the air, hit a wing. The bird's flight wobbled and caught its equilibrium in a hurry and was gone. I did not like the cats killing birds, but they ate them. That they ate the birds I took for the natural order and allowed it. When they ate the birds, the cats are not just killing for fun. They did not kill more than they cared about eating. The cats were well fed at home. They did not require many birds, just enough to keep the desire for the taste of blood satisfied. Caterpillar had not been a hunter for several years, which I was grateful for, though on account of her back legs losing their spring, which makes me sad. My feeling is that she grew weary of her back legs not working so well.
I would do best not to think about it. She had her reasons that were beyond reason. Intuition guided her, or so I suspect. She seemed too much like she knew what she was about. She had purpose. It was the most interesting passing of any of my pets. Some were killed, some died of age. It leaves no choice but acceptance for my part. I'm grateful to Caterpillar for saving me the agony of burying her lifeless body. That's the very hardest part. The blues I'm feeling will pass. Caterpillar's is not the only spirit in the house. There is also my own spirit that inhabits the place. I'm either fooling myself or I do indeed feel Caterpillar's spirit is still here. Not like a ghost and not like her soul, more like the spirit of her presence continues in the air. Or maybe I'm more engaged with memory rather than subtle perceptions. I'll go on grieving, knowing simultaneously that Caterpillar, her consciousness, her soul, is doing fine. She's all right. I'm the one that's not. Can't help but think of John Crowe Ransom's poem, Janet Waking. The last two stanzas:
So there was Janet
Kneeling on the wet grass, crying her brown hen,
(Translated far beyond the daughters of men)
To rise and walk upon it.
And weeping fast as she had breath
Janet implored us, "Wake her from her sleep!"
And would not be instructed in how deep
Was the forgetful kingdom of death.
The forgetful kingdom of death. I will forget the spirit of Caterpillar's presence. Time erases memory. Therefore, I cling to memory and feel sorrow all the more, knowing this, too, will pass. This, the grief, the last little bit I have left of Caterpillar, the sorrow of losing her, I hold in my arms while her spirit is fresh in my memory. It has been another day of inability to shake myself into motion. Unmotivated. No motivation for anything. I like taking carrots and grain to the donkeys. Jack is braying. A car going by set him off. He is a good brayer. The spirit of the donkeys is very much here. About the time my sorrow loses its momentum, a baby donkey will enter my life. It makes me curious about Caterpillar's timing. Jenny's belly is growing huge by now. I'm wondering if she has a belly full of two of them. I won't hope or think about it. I'll just pray that Jenny's delivery be safe for all concerned.
light and shadow on white pine bark
photos by tj worthington