It’s snowing again in Arkansas. In the benediction of silence that is no-cars-on-icy-roads, we wait for the thaw that usually happens, that is not happening. Our stock of rosemary-scented tuna-bites dwindles.
I’m thinking about perspective.
Did you see this? The satelittle picture of the Great Winter Storm of ’11.
Look what the cold in this house did, this morning, to Bugs’s fur.
On the other hand, many of us here are mindful of the catastrophic Ice Storm of ’09. I think of it now every time the furnace kicks in. Every time. I love the feeling I get when that happens.
This morning’s cat-blog research put me in mind of perspective.
The centerpiece event of Bugs’s and my exile to the pet-friendly motel, for the three days it took for the tree-cutting guys to do their thing, was the Locked Room Mystery.
When we arrived at the pet-friendly motel – never mind I’d opened the carrier and left treats just outside it – Bugs stayed crammed up in the farthest corner, for fully one hour. Here’s what I wrote Kim at the time: “Maybe he’s sleeping off the shock. He’s still in there. Curled up. Sigh. I trust he’ll come out when he’s good & ready.”
And then, when at long last he finally inched his way out, when he looked up at me and cheeped a little, I thought, well halleluyah, the worst is over. But –
Strange traffic noises, different heater, different fridge, staff/guest noises outside, who knows what smells, despite that I brought familiar-smell stuff from home –
“I took my eyes off him for one nanosecond – now he’s utterly vanished. WHERE COULD HE BE? The door to outside has not been opened! I’ve looked everywhere! I can’t find him! I HATE THIS!”
Blogmates, I had checked that room out in advance. I had found no escape-hatches. There were none.
How many places can there be to vanish, in one motel room plus open closet plus pocket bathroom? How many? Few! He wasn’t in any of them!
Then I remembered the flash of illumination that inspired me to throw the flashlight into the Disaster Box. When I thought flashlight, I finally located him.
He had found an aperture between the headboard and the wall no bigger than his head plus fur. He wormed his way into that aperture and from there into a narrow tunnel behind the bed. Also no wider than his head plus fur.
The only way he could be spotted, the only way, was by flashlight.
Even so, I could glimpse only the narrowest scrap of gray fur. This, I inferred, was the same scrap of horrible gray backside around which I had had my hands clamped that time under the house.
Again writing to Kim: “I wanna brain him. Just wait til you come outta there, you little skunk – I will try to kiss you – and then wedge up that hole good & tight. This uncertainty, this unforeseeability of what torment is next around the corner – torture! Relieved for the moment. Until the next crisis.”
Now, I see, some perspective would have helped. This morning’s cat-blog research has turned up the following moving account I highly recommend. Rescue-kitten Millou, named after an herb that scented the Greek hillside from which her humans rescued her. Millou who, when first brought inside, actually pried off the housing around the extractor-fan behind the stove and escaped that way.
So relativity comes to mind. Millou’s great adventure puts Bugs’s into perspective. Millou’s tale, of how her humans rescued her from the Greek hillside and from there to Athens and from there, after a nine-month waiting period, to the humans’ home in England, is a saga worthy of mythological status.
When I’m tempted to admire myself, for all I let myself be put through with Bugs, I think of Millou and I feel chastened and humbled. Think international airports. Think inoculation waiting-periods plus complications. Think officious customs officials.
Pet-friendly motels look pretty good next to that.
Where do I get my patience with Bugs? (“Damage Update: Plant,” Jan. 30th.) The power of love.
Hedgehogs who don’t understand may be happy to call us crazy. Crazy works. To us who love our animal companions, who would do just about anything for them, to us who celebrate their arrival and who grieve bottomlessly when they depart – we understand.