Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cats and Dogs

There is a local weekly newsletter which always includes an ad for an animal shelter up in Livingston. Each week there's a photo of a new animal and a couple paragraphs telling how the animal came to be in the shelter and how sad the animal is, wanting a new home. And it breaks my friggin' heart every week.

Out for a morning walk today, I ran into a man walking his golden retriever who eagerly came over to me for some head scratches and "good dog"s. I said, and I think I stole this from the blog of someone else here, how good it feels to be able to touch an animal when we spend all our time surrounded by wildlife we can't touch. It's a great blessing to be able to see all these elk and bison and ground squirrels and ravens and magpies and bluebirds every day, and the ones who appear on the rarer days as well, but somehow it's also a constant reminder of loss and absence. Even here, we live our lives so removed from the natural world, surrounded but not a member.

When the mood strikes, I've been typing my journal from 1989 into this computer. Yesterday's work included a weekend train trip I made down to DC to visit my former college roommate after he called and told me his wife (I'd been best man at the wedding) had left him. In the midst of all my other words were remarks about four days away from Hijack, my cat of the time, and on the return train, "Hang on, Jack, I'm on my way." I miss cats, not only Hijack, who lived to be an old teenager with me through numerous moves, and Walden, taken from us much too soon, but all the cats I've seen on streets, in shelters, other people's cats, no one's cats, the fur, the purr, the comfort of touch I may never know again.

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