Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not Feeding the Cat

One day last summer, I was in the garden at twilight, weeding, tending.  That's when I first saw her.  This little fluffy kitten, crying this loud, growly-sad cry.  She was walking right on the fringe of the woods and I so wanted to go pick her up and bring her home.

I could tell at once that she was not someone's kitten.  She was so little and it didn't make sense for such a little kitten to be in the woods crying and wandering on her own.  When I stood to see her better, her long grey tiger fur stood on end and she gave me a warning snarl.  She was definitely not a tame kitten.  I called to her, because isn't that what you do when you see a kitten that needs you?  "Here kitty, kitty".  No, really.  That's what I did.  So incredibly stupid, but truly that was my action.  At that, she jumped up a tree, realized it wasn't going to work, fell, and ran into the woods without a second thought.

I saw her all last summer.  Her paw prints in our sandbox (and maybe some other "proof" of her too).  Glimpses of her in the sunflower patch and lying under the grapevines where the earth is cool and damp.  She grew, and by fall was a lovely, long haired, tiger girl.  And whenever I saw her, thriving as she was, I thought she must be someone's cat afterall.  Because a "wild" cat couldn't possibly survive without a human (without me?).   At least, that is what my slightly arrogant "here kitty, kitty" attitude privately thought.

A few days ago we had a doozy of an ice storm.  And then yesterday I saw her again.  Same long grey fur.  This time at night, twenty degrees, long hair completely frozen into long drips of ice.  She was in the neighbor's driveway.  When she saw me through the window she ran across the road and onto another neighbor's porch.  And again, I immediately thought I must do something!  Wild cats can't survive with ice for fur.  She must need me.  I thought about how to feed her or entice her to my porch.  Only to give up my schemes when my very realistic husband told me I was absolutely not aloud to put food out for her or waste the $7 a gallon milk on some cat. (cats don't even digest milk well he says)

Today I saw her footprints on my porches.  Both the front and back.  Oh, and she ripped the garbage bag and had some supper.  So, I guess I had already unintentionally put "food" out for her.  And as I cleaned up the mess and swept up the snowy pawprints I realized that I go about my life thinking that I must help all the wild cats of the world.  Sometimes the wild cats are people who are in need.  Sometimes they are people who really would benefit from me stepping in to aid, but sometimes it is not helpful at all, even though I think it is.  Sometimes, though I am ashamed to admit it, the wild cat is a person that *I* think is in need of my help, but that's not the case at all.  I wonder how often I've stepped in and "helped" when really it's just come off as me being arrogant or nosey or bossy or the like.  "Here, kitty, kitty."

Oh, to see the heart of those around me.  That I could truly learn to see intentions and feelings and kindness when it is there right before me.  That I could set aside my own judgements of what *I* think is best or right and just look to what is True.  To truly love without judgement, without having to think it all through and decide about anything.  But to just love.  That is what I want to learn.  I so wish I had learned this at a younger age.  I often feel like I am just stumbling through.  Perhaps this part of the journey is just like that, and I will get better at it as I go.

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