Kittens

Kittens
Mother Love - Paul Peel (1860 – 1892, Canadian)
" … they carry within them some innate skill to reset the rhythm of the place …"

I hold the strong opinion that every place holds a rhythm. Think of this beat as the baseline supporting the foreground melody. We more than inhabit our digs, they also invade us with the rhythm they induce. For the ten months we went without pets, much of the rhythm of our lives relied upon us to pound the drum. Aside from the magpies arriving each dawn and the weekly familiar sounds of the garbage collection trucks, The Villa's rhythms relied upon the recycling heating system to reset the tone. Sure, supper prep always reset the cadence of a day, as does cleaning up in its own curious way, but without the rhythms of a pet, it's very difficult to engage in even the more familiar melodies.

A life needs disruption, what Douglas Adams referred to as an Improbability Generator, some force to force-feed a different rhythm into the same-old status quo.
For us, the acquisition of two kittens has brought this gift. Rampaging could start any time of the day or the night accompanied by soft clopping thuds from somewhere in the house. Occasionally, a louder thunk might echo from somewhere, signifying that a houseplant or tabletop treasure's come to ground. I look around and find only two utterly innocent faces staring up at me. It seems as if they're saying, "That wasn't me." or "It was like that when we got here," the same shameless explanations I used to try to pass off on my folks when I was small after upsetting the rhythm of life for all those around me. No excuse ever seems really necessary for passing such a gift.

I might be neck-deep in composing something, focused on my own fuzzy middle ground, when Molly, the skittishly shy one, might suddenly from nowhere bound up onto my desk in front of me, sniffing into my business. She might linger long enough to attack the printer which possesses the temerity to start clacking and pushing paper into her face. A feigned attack followed by a leaping retreat and the rhythm of my working day's been completely reset. How more fortunate could one writer ever get?

The absolute necessity of emptying that litter box at least once each day regulates my schedule like nothing else possibly could. Whatever else might have nudged its way into seeming so damned important, the humble little lavatory turn brings me back to ground. The ethic insists that the critters eat before I eat. I control access to the old feedbag after all, and I think it cruel to dine while the kittens whine around my feet. They always eat first. Of course, this hardly guarantees that they won't transform into starving panhandlers just as soon as we sit down, seeking just a sliver of sustenance from their people chowing down. This practice, too, utterly disrupts the flow, blessed small distractions from how we'd thought we'd go.

A pounce in bed attacking feet which innocently allured isn't much of a problem and seems much more like a cure for almost anything. Get to feeling mopey and sick of myself and enthusiasm intrudes. How could I possibly deny a game of string no matter what my mood? I trip over one of them when stalking in the dark. Both will suddenly disappear when I desperately need a snuggle. They live their own lives, not wholly indifferent to The Muse and I, but being cats, they carry a certain distain for humans, a healthy reminder that neither of us constitute the center of any world. They're really still just babies and have so much to learn, but they carry within them some innate skill to reset the rhythm of the place whatever they choose to turn.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved








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