How many times do we take for grantedSanctuary, “Long Since Dark”
Simple things that make life sweet?
Enraptured by material longings
We miss the point
We need to know, to see
Beyond your being and in the void lies the meaning
I lost a friend today.
I didn’t know that they were a friend until now. I thought they were an amusing acquaintance who passed me by on a regular basis.
I don’t even know their name.
This afternoon, in a fog that rendered me oblivious to all that wasn’t immediately visible, my partner asked me if I’d seen the orange kitty.
A strange question. No. I hadn’t.
She pointed across the street. When I went to look, I could see a still, orange form laying half in the gutter and half in the neighbor’s yard.
My hand went to my throat. Still wasn’t moving. I put on some shoes and went to the end of the driveway. Definitely the orange kitty – a stray, as far as I’ve ever known. And definitely not moving.
My partner, being the practical one she is, said we should bury it. I said no. My heart was already breaking. I couldn’t handle having to bury it. So I closed the door and went back to my little world, hoping one of the neighbors would do what I could not. During the day, my partner overheard neighbors mentioning the cat, but as I later went to close and lock the front door – hours later. Sun was setting – I saw that still form through the bushes.
No one had claimed it. No one had taken pity on its spirit and buried it. No one had even come out to look at it.
Loosing a sob, I went to the garage to get my tools. I put it in a cardboard box and brought it to my back yard. Beneath the walking stick tree, I carved a hole in the ivy and the clay that was thankfully wet, snottily sobbing and gasping for oxygen. My asthma cares nothing for what I simply must do, nor did Mother Nature, raining on me as I worked. Sobbing and wheezing and turning red and stumbling, I poured dirt over it. As the dirt filled its eyes and ears, I cried. As I tamped the dirt to make sure no scavengers got it, I cried.
I went to the shower and scalded myself, but no matter how many times I wash my hands, I cannot get them clean. Its spirit clings to me. The blood running from its eyes will play in my nightmares tonight. The poor thing was most likely hit by a car and made it to the side of the road to rest and die.
I used to see it out my back window, strolling around my yard, inspecting the fences of the neighbors, sniffing at other cats who came by. It would shelter under the walking stick tree, in rain and even in winter with no leaves to help. It burrowed into the snow and sat under the tree. My nextdoor neighbor set out food and water for it, but it was completely feral; it would howl and hiss if it got cornered and would usually just run away if you got within fifteen feet.
For some reason, it chose my back yard as its home.
I’ll be honest, I tried once or twice to make friends. When all it did was run and hiss, I gave up.
It. I don’t know it’s gender, it’s name, or whether or not it had ever had a home or a family. There were no markings, no collar. And it was there almost every day.
But the back yard is empty now. My sunny-colored friend is gone. Why was it a friend? Because I saw it almost daily and tried to interact with it. Because it was here, on land that I am the steward of. Because I know the rites and the ways. And I needed to be brought out of my little world and connect to the world. To be connected to the ba, the ka, and the akh. Because I can.
Travel well, little one. Join your brethren in guarding the way to the afterlife. May it be better than the life you left behind.