Friday, July 20, 2007
Blackberry is gone
The last three days of rain - unusual for our parts - bring me relief from the heat, and a sense of home. For I grew up in the Midwest where summer was sprinkled with rain showers and storms. Who as a child hasn't reveled in running to the protection of a tin roofed shed, then busied themselves with play under the sound of the plunks on the tin. As an adult, perhaps this is why rain on our many tin roofs, including our front porch, bring a sense of home.
For the last three days and nights, Blackberry has been missing. I must now accept he is not coming back. Born in the final little of Mama Kitty before we were finally able to trap and spay her, he was brother to Little Orange and Pumpkin Head. His two other litter mates were given to a nearby farm at birth. This final litter was born in a brush pile of blackberries, hence his name, but soon after Mama Kitty carried them under our front porch, far from the safety of her barns. I considered it an act of trust, that after two years, she finally calmed enough to rear the litter so near our daily boundaries. To this day, we can not touch Mama, but she does sit nearby on the deck with her final kittens, and still reveres Big Tony.
When he did not show for dinner three days ago, I knew it meant trouble somewhere. For he never went searching far for anything. He and Little Orange were compadrés, staying close to the house, and are somewhat little Poindexters. If anything, they would go back to the blackberry area where they were born, to escape heat, and catch some mice. I can only surmise he was over inquisitive with a raccoon or possom. The difficult thing of being human is we seem to need to constantly categorize and compartmentalize, and nature does not allow either to happen. We've gone to the trouble of naming seasons, yet every year we are all so shocked when we get winter weather in spring or a hot day in November. So when an animal one has cared for for 2 years goes off, and does not return, my human brain has no tidy way to categorize it. It's so clear he's gone, yet there are so many things that could have happened to him that one fails to find a neat compartment in one's heart to shove the feelings into.
This morning when I picked up my emails, I was saddened to receive a note that a fellow painter, Ann Broadaway , had died. She had written to me admiring my work, and we briefly chatted. Her abstracts resonate with me, and our mututal attraction to each other's work is understandable. In her bio, she writes that our childhood homes allow us to develop into our true selves, and if we are lucky, it is within a place that fosters a sense of safety and 'home'. She writes: "However, as adults that home no longer exists and we must look for and create another home for the present moment. The places we live in and create are reflections of our process of becoming wholly ourselves. As a child I conceived and implemented homes in corners of the wrap-around porch of our house, perched above the ground in trees, curled under the arch of the firebushes in the yard, and with my stomach flat against the ground, even under plants where bugs lived. "
So, a small black cat wanders off and doesn't return. A talented, breathing, painter dies. Both breezed through my life, but I felt the breeze. And like Anne, I am still trying to create 'home' in my painting, in my interconnections with people and my animals, in my daily chores on the farm.
To honor Anne, please spend time visiting her website . And to honor Blackberry, I have added two originals in the Donkey Dream section, with all sales going to the cat fund .