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December 18th 2009

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    When the Grey Cat's mistress returned she brought with her the scent of dog and other disreputable flavors.  The Grey cat sulked and I heard a whispered 'K' word, and I reached for acceptance with the understanding that cats do not arrive ready made.  They are products of experiment and learning and a commitment to deviousness.

    I have watched the Grey Cat look into the horizon and I have remembered his grandfather, and his great-grandfathers and some very bad tempered uncles.  They had dispute and they had friendships from which the Grey Cat benefitted.  

    When he was little, his grandfather would bring him small, fury and wholly disabled but still alive creatures to play with.  And it was a proud day for his grandfather when the Grey Cat slipped through the cat flap all by himself and returned with a green Katydid.

    

    All these events I have watched in horror.  Understanding them as belonging to a part of existence beyond my control.  Yet I wonder if the Grey Cat is lonely.  Whether he pines for less complicated affections.  Someone who might actually lick his ears.

    In the culture of cat he would be the last of his kind.  He is a storehouse of understandings passed through childless generations of old cat to young.  Knowledge that has kept the Grey Cat whole in this place of Horned Owl and Barred Owl, and so many roaming packs that once were puppies.  A burden of wisdom for the Grey Cat to take unshared to a lonely grave.

    But the 'K' word is forbidden to language here.  Long years of tribulation followed by promises have resulted in its exile.  I can see those promises documented in memories that are crisp and clear and eminently reasonable.

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tim candler

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(Weather in Central Kentucky)