early autumn trees
A kitten in the house has revived my spirit. It is the consciousness that matters. Kitten does not talk, but we communicate well. We have tuned to each other. She pays attention to me and I pay attention to her. We read each other's body language and eyes. Cats, like donkeys, you do not force against their will. A donkey will kick you over the moon, a cat has twenty switchblades and needles for teeth. I allow Sophia her will, read her clues. When she wants down while being held, she will make a gesture like she's ready to move. I get it, let go and she goes without being controlled. I don't want to control her. I only ask that she stay off the keyboard. I don't want to train cat out of her to make her conform to my will. I allow her catness, she allows me humanness. I treat her right and she wants to please me. I've been told in the past I have obedient cats. Cats don't obey. I treat them right, they treat me right. It looks like obedience when it is by way of the cat's will, not mine.
Today, for the first time, I talked to Sophia in sentences, told her a story. I've spoken to her in phrases with her name in them, teaching her that Sophia means her, like the cat she sees in the mirror means her. She knows her name now. This evening, she was relaxing on me while I watched 2Fast, 2Furious, the second time, which I liked even better than the first time. I talked to her, using her name often, and had the feeling she's heard enough of that. The repetition was boring her. I decided to tell her the story of when I saw her the first time and she stayed in my mind for a week. She listened closely and I had a feeling she knew what I was saying. I did not want to make it too complex for her, just a couple of images. She liked being told about the first time I saw her and why I chose her, the time she was put into my hands and I held her first time. She was liking it. The time came she'd had as much as she could handle. It was stretching cat mind pretty far following human language. It wore her out. She snapped out of that mind back to napping cat mind.
the hay barn
I saw that she can, indeed, follow me talking to her. She acted like it was the thrill of the day to be talked to by the giant in human language. This her first time, I believe the more I talk to her by telling her stories her span of attention will expand. Eventually, I will read to her. The Tao Te Ching is short verses full of meaning. She is fascinated by my voice, watches my mouth while I form words. I'm reminded of Jenny watching Jack bray, closely to see how he does it, something she is unable to do. Sophia watches me talk like she is trying to figure out how my mouth makes these sounds and hers cannot. She likes to watch the monitor while I'm at the desk. A couple days ago I came upon a 20 second video of two leopards walking. I played it over and over for her. She watched it a dozen times before she looked away. She watches parts of movies. I found her watching one of the fast driving scenes, watching every move of the drivers, gear shifting, cars sliding sideways around a curve, she was in tune with it. She watched two guys in a choreographed fight. The movement held her eyes.
more trees of early autumn
A kitten seems to me the essence of the vulnerable. Sophia is so small and defenseless, she brings out the protector within me. I want to keep her safe, keep her happy, give her the freedom to develop her cat nature in relation to my human nature by her own will. It must be a good stretch for cat consciousness to connect with human consciousness. The way I see it, we only have one evolutionary leap in consciousness between us. We humans evolved the forebrain, which the four-leggeds do not have, and that's it. Our hands can pick things up and do complex things like operate a keyboard. We can reason things out. They think, but don't have access to reason. They do figure things out, however. They lack language, too, which, alas, does not serve we humans very well. We deal in confusion. In the age of propaganda, we use words to mean the opposite of their original meaning. Even language, itself, has become a confusion for us. I remember when rendition meant Charlie Rouse doing his rendition on tenor sax of Thelonious Monk's Round Midnight. Then, one day, rendition meant torture.
sunlight in the trees
Returning home, yesterday, from hanging the pictures at the library, being gone four hours, I was glad to see Sophia was not acting like she'd missed me. It told me she has her own life independent of me, inner resources. It took me back to the first time I saw her, no effort to appeal to me with her eyes or vocally. She seems complete in herself. I like this in her. She won't sleep with me anymore. I probably thrashed her off the bed in the night. She sleeps close by in a good comfortable nest. I like waking and seeing her in her nest. Even when I take a nap, she will nap on her nest. Just now, she was napping half on the desktop, half on my arm, eyes closed. I told her that her back legs are marked like a zebra, her front legs like a tiger, her face like a Siberian tiger. She made a little trill with her voice, shook her head and sat up. She looked me in the eyes, then curled up on the desktop against my right arm.
photos by tj worthington