Are spirits in the material world

8 08 2010

I don’t believe in life after death.

There is life, here, in this world, and death both is and signals the end of life.

Now, is there something else, after life? That, I don’t know.

If there is something else, it doesn’t seem that it would conform to notions of Christian or Muslim heaven; those seem so earth-bound, so reflective of what we already have here, only someone’s version of better.  (A multitude of virgins or streets paved with gold? Really?) If there would be something else, wouldn’t it be. . . something else?

Backing up: I think of life as bounded by this earth, but I’m fudging on the whole existence thing, that is, we exist in life, here, and if our existence continues, then it would be in some other way.

Furthermore, that there could be something else doesn’t mean it’s supernatural. I don’t believe in the supernatural; I think everything—everything—is natural, and that that which is called ‘supernatural’ is simply something for which we lack understanding.

(And woo? Woo is a cover, a con: obfuscation masquerading as understanding.)

This isn’t rank materialism. I also don’t believe the (natural or social) sciences are sufficient to make sense of all worldly—universal—phenomenon; I’m not arguing that understanding necessitates a reduction of all things to the latest brand of physics. It’s simply that, if there is nothing beyond nature, then we’ll need new ways of understanding—new sciences—to make sense of that which current scientific methods cannot.

Does this tend toward a Theory of Everything? Perhaps, but since TOE is conceptualized in contemporary terms, it may be inadequate to describe all that there is.

And ‘is’ itself may be—hell, already is—called into question, along with ‘all’ and ‘that’.

*Sigh* It’s late and I”m not making sense.

I’m wondering about death because a little over a week ago Bean died and a little over a year ago Chelsea died.  I don’t think they’re in pet heaven or regular heaven or whatever. I don’t know if they’ve gone some place after death, if their existence continues, or what relationship that existence has to any worldly one. Maybe there’s nothing, maybe there’s something. I know they’re not with me.

But I would like to think, that if there is something, that they neither forget nor are constrained by life. This existence on earth, this life, is powerful, and if there is something else, I’d like to think it offers us more without taking away what we already were. Perhaps there is no full understanding on this earth, no way for us to comprehend all there is; perhaps life is to get us started, but it’s not enough, not enough for us to know.

I don’t know this, of course. And maybe this is it, and this life which is not enough is it. Perhaps this life is enough.

My methods are insufficient to determine one way or the other.





Bean-a-lee-a-lea, Bean-a-lee-a-lou. . . .

31 07 2010

Bean loved to do two things, eat, and:

Sleep

And sleep some more

She slept on the floor, on rugs, in chairs, on tables, on my desk, in my closet, and, of course, in bed:

Whaddya mean, move?

As Chelsea and Bean got older, I set a low chest near the bed to make it easier for them to get up and down. In one apartment, however, I didn’t have room for the chest, so set this stool next to the bed, instead:

Chelsea would step lightly up, but Bean never quite mastered that. Instead, she’d climb partly on to the lower step, then stick her paw into the notch on top and haul herself up and over; made me smile every time. Shoulda gotten a shot of that.

When I had a proper kitchen set-up—i.e., a table and chairs—Bean liked to jump into the chair. She then expected me to tip it back and rub her belly. She’d squeak and squeak until I’d stop, then look at me like ‘You’re stopping? Is there a problem?’

Even without the tip-and-rub, however, she liked to reign from the chair.

This became a point of contention between her and Jasper, as he, too, liked to loll on the chair. Bean would chase him off if he dared slip on to her perch, but at some point this past winter, she ceded the spot to him. It was a concession both sad and inevitable.

Still, she never gave in fully to Jasper, never let him get too familiar. Tolerance, however, she could do.

Early detente

I did see them sleeping together—actually touching—once or twice, but Jasper could never get the hang of how to hang without chomping on Bean. And then he wondered why she wanted nothing to do with him.

Chelsea was the same way, initially, with Bean, although because they were much closer in age, they had more time together to learn how to live together.

Unfathomable in the early years, constant later on

Chelsea, as I may have mentioned, was a marvelous jumper, able to leap from the floor to the top of five-foot bookshelves with little more preparation than a look and a butt-wriggle. This was how she most often escaped the Bean-kitten, as the young Bean had neither the strength nor, frankly, the chops, to follow her.

But oh, how Bean tried. One night, when my roommate P. and I were sitting on the couch, Bean chased Chelsea down the hall and into the living room. Chelsea skipped on to the nearby desk, then hopped on to the bookshelves.

Bean, determined to follow, didn’t bother first scrawling up the couch to get to the desk (a board slung across two file cabinets), and instead tried to conquer the desk in one leap.

She managed to get half her tiny body up, but her back didn’t quite make it. She bicycled her back legs, to no avail, and her front half slowly slid back off, until all that remained on top were her paws, the claws dug into the plywood.

She hung there for a moment, her little body swinging, before she finally let go.

Bean never attained the grace so natural to Chelsea, but she had her own dignity.

And she was sweet and lovable, who pipped and squeaked and purred and purred and purred.

Bean was a good cat. I don’t know if there’s anything after life in this world, but if there is, I hope she and Chelsea are together.

They were good cats.

If there is something else, I hope they’re happy.





you have done well it’s time to rest

29 07 2010

My beautiful Bean is gone.

Beanalea 1994-2010

Her name was inspired by a Jane Siberry song, ‘Everything Reminds Me of My Dog': She has a line about Old folks remind me of my dog/My dog reminds old folks of their dogs (Barfy, Ruffo, Beanhead). . . . Bean! That’s it.

Chelsea had been driving my roommate and me crazy with her constant talk, so I thought another cat might help chill her out. I was in Minneapolis at the time, a couple of houses down from friends, and they went with me to the Humane Society to get a kitten.

We saw one group of kittens, then went into another room (the sick cat room, it turns out) for more. I had the name; I needed the cat to fit.

J., the driver, held up a long-haired black-and-white kitten and said ‘Get her! Get her!’ I didn’t want a long-hair, however, and demurred. (I did coerce convince J. to get that kitty herself; ‘Entropy’, she was named. Aptly.)

And then I found my Bean—full name, Beanalea—and took her home. She lived with Chelsea and me in three apartments in Minneapolis, one in Montreal, one in Somerville, and five in Brooklyn. She didn’t particularly like travelling, but she always settled in once we had, in fact, settled in.

Bean, Beanalea, Bean-goddammit (for a brief period when she was around 6 months), Binkins, Polar Bean, Lima Bean, Navy Bean, Gah-bahnzo Bean. . . she was my Bean.

My beautiful Bean.





I’m watching my sweet mama from my vigil on this chair

5 07 2010

It’s almost time.

She’s been fading, fading, for months; I wasn’t sure she’d make it this long. But we are nearing the end.

I see her hunched-up walk and my breath catches in my throat. I scoop her up and hold her against my chest and tuck my chin into her fur and whisper No, not yet! I’m not ready.

And I set her back down and she walks fine and it’s clear that she’s not ready yet, either.

But it’s coming, and when she’s ready I’ll have to be, too.

Even if I’m not.

My beautiful Bean. . . !





I watch you sleeping on the bed

9 03 2010

My beautiful Bean is sick.

Not desperately so, and perhaps not-imminently-fatally so, but she is ill, and it likely that this illness will at some point result in her death.

It pains me to say this, because I do not want my sweet old kitten to die, but I cannot ignore her decline.

Cannot. Will not.

I did ignore what was happening to Chelsea. It’s so clear, in retrospect, that she was sick for years, dying for months, and almost gone by the time I saw that gone was the best place for her. I spent money I didn’t have on a delusion that at 18 what little life she had in her was enough for a few more years.

It made the ending harder than it had to be for both of us.

So I won’t do that with Bean. I will see her, as she is, an old and sick cat. Oh, I’m doing what I can, within reason, to slow that decline, but at 15 1/2, ‘within reason’ amounts to home care and wishes.

Whether that decline is weeks or months or even a year, I have no idea.

But I’ll be ready, or readier, this time. Chelsea taught me that. Wishes or no, I have to see Bean clear.





It’s raining again

6 02 2010

Penises are trouble.

You may recall a recent post in which I noted the odd-cute manner in which Jasper approached the litter box and his business therein.

I even posted pictures.

Well.

There have been developments since then, none of them good. Some cat is no longer confining his or her elimination to the litter box.

At first I thought it was Bean who, tired of being ambushed by the dauphin, went outside of the enclosed box so as to observe better the movements of the said ambusher. I therefore removed the top, thinking this would solve the problem.

It did not.

I reconsidered: What if  the matter were not that of a female cat squatting outside of the box, but of a male cat perched on the edge and overshooting? What if the puddle were produced by a poorly-pointed penis?

This seems to be the case.

I’ve had a conversation with Jasper about his aim, but he gives me the blank look of a teenager bored by everything an adult has to say. If he could, I’d bet he’d stick his paws in his ears and sing la-la-la-la-la-la over my remonstrations.

Boys!





Sugar boy, whatcha tryin’ to do

17 01 2010

Jasper is an odd cat.

When I pour my cereal in the morning, he hops on to the table and rubs himself all over the boxes and me in a kind of ecstasy. He then closely inspects the poured cereal.

He seems particularly to like Grape Nuts.

(For all of you non-critter owning folk who are now gagging at the thought of a cat on a table or a whisker in a bowl of cereal, hell, you’re probably right: it is unsanitary. I also think it’s funny.)

(This may be among the reasons that you don’t have critters and I do.)

And no, excepting the just-poured  pre-milk cereal, I don’t let him stick his face in my food. As I tell him, that’s just rude.

He does generally like to lounge on the table—which I wash off before I prep any food. My tolerance for kitty dirt does have its limits.

Whaddya mean this isn't a kitty bed?

He also has this thing with the litter box: He climbs halfway inside and pushes the litter around with some vigor.

He then perches on the edge of the box to do his business.

Then, back inside for more vigorous litter-shovelling. Which leads to litter all over the floor.

Which explains the broom in the bathroom.

C. wondered if he doesn’t like the lid. Possible, but given that he has no problem crawling all the way inside to scratch at every last bit on the box—minutes, he does this, honest to pete—I think it’s more about Jasper than the box.

Oh, and have I mentioned how well he’s training me? In addition to lulling me into thinking the breakfast routine in endearing, he’s also learned how to sucker me into comforting him—even when I don’t think he’s really all that upset:

The steam pipe in the bathroom knocks like hell, which makes Jasper squeak out a pathetic little cry, which leads me to say ‘C’mere Jasper. It’s okay. C’mere. . . .’ So he’ll squeak a little more, then jump into my lap for a round of head scratching. (And if I stop before he’s done, he’ll shove his head under my hand and wriggle it a bit.)

I gotta admit, I doubt he cries when I’m not home. I bet he just rolls over on whatever surface he’s snoozing and dreams of new ways of manipulating me.

That is, unless he falls off. Boy has no edge-sense whatsoever.

Well. Given that this is his first winter, I thought I’d introduce him to snow. It started promisingly:

But any attempt to lure him on to the fire escape ended at the sash:

Jasper was not impressed with snow.

Bean, of course, is still unimpressed with Jasper.

She’s tolerant enough of his presence, but I have seen them lying next to one another—briefly, it must be said—only twice.

He’s very interested in her, but he can’t seem to figure out that her unwillingness to hang out with him might just be related to his penchant to pouncing on her back or swiping at her with his paw or chomping on her neck.

Bean don’t like it.

In any case, as successful as he’s been in charming me, he’s not yet achieved that Zen state in which he can simply claim any space as his own.

Such as the middle of my bed.

Yes, Jasper may be the Odd Prince of Prospect-Lefferts Garden, but Bean remains Queen.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,319 other followers