Picasso was born in a shed in my back yard over a decade ago. She is my ally. She is particular, and if you can get over yourself and your expectations of how cats should be, she doesn’t seem snobby or ornery. And that is her magic. She’s only aloof when you want it so bad you would be happy to change her in order to get it. In other words – when you don’t deserve it.

She has spots:

Behind the woodstove…

…back of the couch, the window ledge in the first picture, along side my thigh. And she occupies them completely. It’s as though she were holding down a corner of the universe her focus is so acute.

When she feels her corner has been cosmically disturbed she opens her eyes as wide as an enigma and meows at you with a crackling intensity – she’s not being moody, she’s just that fierce, stop taking it so personally – something is off and we must attend to it, is all. When you’ve decoded her noises and resolved the imbalance she flicks her tail and narrows her eyes appreciatively and heads back to her spot to be left alone – and to leave you alone.

She respects your space. And when the air shifts into the promise of a storm – even when it’s one of those inner storms – a person, sitting on my couch, inching their way up to a steep edge – she is the type that is drawn closer by the danger. She is calmer in a wild wind than on a mild day. Her eagerness alone makes you feel safe and anchored. How bad can it be if the wailing wind makes her purr? How much death could there be nearby if the thunder makes her roll onto her back to expose her softest parts?

On days when there are no disturbances, and the mundane tasks of bathing, filling up the food dish, and napping have been seen to, she especially likes me to read her poetry out loud.

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

~ Mary Oliver ~

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