Saturday, May 5, 2007

Feline Philosophy


If you’ve kept up with this blog at all, you know that it focuses on philosophical, spiritual, psychic, and psychological questions, most of which can’t be answered but are important to many people and interesting to speculate about. Things like “What is the ultimate Source or God?”, “What happens when we die?”, “What is the nature of time and our perception of it?”, “What is ‘reality’, and is there more than one reality?”

Questions like that are constantly barging into my mind even if I haven’t invited them. I’ve always had a great thirst to know the ultimate nature of things – not so much how things work, but rather origins, first principles. My mother said that when I was a small child and she was reading to me, I kept interrupting her with, “Why?”

Well, last weekend I suddenly realized, with real surprise, that for once I was not asking those questions, even when I was lying in bed at night or at dawn. It became apparent that my mental processes had changed: Those riddles and speculations had quietly folded their tents and disappeared, leaving me with a strange feeling of lightness and freedom, like a general going to the top of a hill in the morning and finding the opposing army gone.

Why did that happen? (Note that my first reaction to an absence of questions is to ask a question!) After a few hours the answer came: It was due to the furry mite you see in the picture above. The then 6 week old kitten had made my computer room her home since we brought her from her rescuer, and I had been with her there during most of the daylight hours for a week. Her food, litter box, toys, and bed were in my room, to which she was restricted until it seemed safer for her to explore the whole house and meet the big cat.

Naturally she saw the nearest human as her mother, as well as a substitute for her brothers and sisters, and so I was treated to endless antics as well as number of minor puncture wounds on my hands, feet, ankles and legs. She cantered, galloped, bounced across the room sideways, charged things, batted things, chewed things, and displayed her ferocity in rampant poses. Whenever I walked into what had once been my room she would come tottering toward me squeaking loudly, clambering onto my bare foot, demanding to be picked up. If I merely stroked her without lifting her, and sat down in my computer chair, she would try to climb my left leg as if it were a coconut palm. When I winced and removed her, she would get on her hind legs and stretch to grasp my left hand with her front paws and claws and insist on my lifting her on my palm to the level of my chest. I would lean back in my chair, hoping she would decide on a nap beneath my chin.

My chest was not, however, the ultimate goal. From there she launched an exploration of my nose and chin and lips and ears, led by her insistent nose and nibbling teeth. If I forcibly rescued my physiognomy from involuntary plastic surgery, the kitten would add some letters to my email by walking across the keyboard (usually leaving a long trail of xxxxxxx’s or wwwwww’s) which was her pathway to my L-shaped desktop. The big desk offers not only a computer and a printer and a small TV/video/DVD recording area, rich in wires of all kinds, but also a telephone and a couple of headsets, a coffee warmer, a pen container, and a camera . . . all of which were explored and most of which came under attack. Of the larger devices only a headset was knocked to the floor, but Star created a veritable avalanche of video cassettes, CD cases, pens, and post-it pads.

There was no end to the fun, and it really was fun. Except for an occasional brief nap on my chest, her activity never ceased. It was as if the whole Life Force of the universe had arrived in my room in a tiny, blue-eyed concentration of limitless energy. It was pure Source in newly minted physical form, untaught, untamed, uninhibited, completely spontaneous. To say that she was more alive than I, more one with Consciousness and creation, would as much an understatement as to say that fire is livelier than stone.

A line from my children’s story THE LAST FIREFLY came back to me, where the firefly, no bigger than a grain of rice, says to the huge bloated bullfrog, “My head may be tiny, but my thoughts are just as big as yours."

The kitten silently informed me,“My body may be small, but my life is just as big as yours.”

I know that it was somehow because of my absorption in the kitten that the writhing questions about life and consciousness and reality slithered away and freed my head at least for awhile. Beyond that I can’t explain what happened, and I know that I should not try to explain it.

1 comment:

  1. Fleming, this is a beautifully written piece. Nothing could have been said any better and my eyes are misting even now as I respond.
    You have reached into heart and soul with these words...