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Time with a Cat

by Ronald A Pavellas

I was yielding to the insidious tendency to dwell on my advancing age, as it becomes increasingly difficult to ignore the reminders of my deteriorating appearance and function. The inevitable end was quite clear, only the timing and manner remained hidden. It was tedious to “count one’s blessings” rotely, as a palliative to this recurrent ennui. There was only one thing to do: take a walk.

Not a long walk on a short pier, as I heard the saying in Brooklyn so many years ago, but a walk in the fresh air along an arm of Stockholm’s big lake Mälaren, despite the day being overcast and somewhat windy.

There was no new life to celebrate: the grasses, bushes and trees had spent their flowers, the birds were well over the nesting period and the lake’s edges were cluttered with the detritus of careless humans and the decay of the lake’s biota. I had no direction to go in, so I sat on a bench facing the lake.

I brought no book or writing material. I needed to be intellectually naked, to be open to the fates, unprepared for evaluating and rationalizing.

One of the neighborhood cats wandered by, the sleek gray one. It looked briefly at me, sniffed at a few nearby plants, and then gracefully jumped onto the bench. It sat near me and gave itself a few licks and scratches as it faced the sun with me. I remained passive but observant.

It stretched a wonderful cat stretch, walked the few steps between us, slowly and confidently, then sat in my lap. I am no stranger to cats; I immediately assumed the role required of me. I petted and stroked and scratched the cat exactly where and how he or she needed, and we were bonded for a short but timeless period.

The warmth and the feel of the cat were familiar to me. Visions of my youth, when I lived with cats, flowed over and through me. I remembered my parents and sister, especially, and then my children and a former mate. These memories morphed into others, just as a dream progresses. I felt as if I carried a great museum of memories inside me, but it didn’t seem as burdensome as it sometimes does. Perhaps I dozed a bit.

The cat eventually had enough of what I was offering, unwound itself from my lap, walked over the bench a short way and dropped to the ground without a backward glance. The communion was over. I went to the supermarket to buy groceries, and then back home to perform household chores.

the weight of the world
grows heavy with time
but not with a cat

07/15/2019

Posted on 07/15/2019
Copyright © 2019 Ronald A Pavellas

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Linda Fuller on 07/15/19 at 11:15 PM

This is lovely! Thank you.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 07/16/19 at 11:29 PM

As a life long cat person...owner, really enjoyed this piece, Ron. Thanks for posting!

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 07/17/19 at 04:33 AM

Very satisfying haibun for this cat lover. Especially liked the phrase "intellectually naked" and "I felt as if I carried a great museum of memories" Thanks for this!

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