Nature verses the local grocery...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pawprints in the Sand

We lost a set of kitty paw prints in our sandbox today. Our Blazee lost her fight with renal failure.

I believe life begins a lot harder than it leaves; one second she was crying...the next, peace took her to wherever kitties go, who Love with all they're worth. There is a large void in our world - DH's world particularly; she was his shadow from her first whisper of a hiss as a day old lump of black, wiggly fur, fourteen years ago.

She took on the world like a miniature tigress with her first step, ran like the light and was a complete wild-cat to most, except her immediate family. With us, she could never get her fill of pets and chin rubs and ear scratches, nor did she ever stop giving her Love in the form of licks and burying her head in our bent elbows or rubbing our cheeks; her purr-box worked till the very end - even considering the pain and anguish she must have endured in her anemic, skin-and-bones state of being, over the past weeks.

Most of her life entailed free run of 7 acres and all the surrounding farm fields her little legs could handle. Kitty, my son's large orange tiger cat, was her only nemesis. I believe Kitty lived for the times he could corner Blazee up a tree. She'd scream like a tortured soul - which of course brought us to the rescue; we'd duly chastise Kitty, and the game was over...for a few days. Truth be told, I'm sure she could have taught Kitty more lessons than he ever dreamed he'd need in one lifetime. But that was their life, their game. And of course - as her good, loyal, devoted staff, we did our part.

Our struggle began about a month ago with blood work and a diagnosis of Renal Failure. We did the sub-cutaneous Lactated Ringers for a week, it helped a bit, but put her through more pain than it saved; one week was enough. We gave her a smorgasbord of soupy, kitty fare to keep her hydrated, but her overactive kidneys ran all liquids through her just as quickly as she swallowed.

We waited...and waited, giving her attention and saying our good-byes as the moments presented themselves. It is a weighty power, this control we hold over our pets life and death, a two-edged kill...or not to kill - under the auspices of humanity.

Today, it became obvious her kidneys were no longer doing their job and she was in pain. It was time. And our hearts bled.

A 5 foot tall, Russian Olive tree, now stands guard over her.

She will be missed...forever. God-speed, dear Blazee.

Good or bad, large or small, animal or mineral...Nature prevails.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Trails of Time: looking OVER the hill

I ran across an article from a prolific writer-friend of mine, Jan Verhoeff. Jan writes every day, I think perhaps - most every hour of every day. She writes well and is recognized as an expert in several areas including marketing.

But this article isn't about marketing, or writing, or even politics (one of her favorite soapboxes). Her article is about aging. And anger. Jan lost her Mom a few months ago and we have spent some hours discussing this topic.

I'm 63; oddly enough, this subject touches me deeply, and I am all too often, acutely aware of this anger she speaks about in her article.

Many years ago, I'd watch older, cranky folks and judge harshly; 'Aren't they old enough to know how to behave by now', I'd so naively think. As I said, naively; I was - then - young!

Today, I still pride myself with a generally positive attitude, mostly. But - there are those other times.

-Having one hand from birth, I prided myself in my excellent eye-hand coordination - more than double the average person's dexterity. Now, I drop more items in a day than my pride dares to admit. I often cry with frustration. And anger.

-I have always treasured my mental capacities along the years; my A's and joys with Algebra and math and all my schooling - without much effort, my ability to assay a situation almost instantly with problem-solving almost second nature. Many days now, when conversing with anyone, I find cracks in my road of thoughts and words that I quickly kid away as not sleeping well the night before, or fighting a bug, etc. White lies. And anger.

-As an animal lover and owner of many cats, a few dogs and 2 horses, I deal with their aging as well. Last year we lost 5 animals to old age; my second horse's legs gave out from arthritis and she finally laid down in her corral, unable to get back on her last time. One dog succumbed to her aging heart, another to her aging legs. One cat lost her ability to eat; my last 2 cats are slowly, painfully ambling about, one losing her fight to renal failure, the other going deaf and blind. My heart breaks, over and again, more times than I recall. I deal with deep anger.

Unfortunately, my aging brain works well enough to continually struggle with this dilemma. Is it fair? Why are we born to eventually die? Philosophers and theologians have bantered these questions for eons. To be reborn, to learn lessons, to teach others, to leave behind legacies, they argue, etc.

Are these reasons enough to bear the weight of aging and all its pain, struggle, loss of strength, energy, willpower, youth, etc?

I don't know; I probably never will. But regardless, we must deal with the anger and frustration. At times, I win this ongoing struggle for periods of time. I do so by writing articles like this; or by walking across John Martin Dam at sunrise and sunset; or watching a new-born kitten get it's first sea-legs; or watching my chickens give their all to catching an energetic grasshopper as though their entire being rested on their success.

Jan writes; "They didn't choose to grow old, it was forced upon them." This is so true.

So maybe one way to bridge this anger can be found in the moments of life. I find that I am most angry when I am comparing what I used to do with what occurs now. In my list above, I notice that being in a moment, surpasses that anger, allows for an influx of Love and beauty and of participation in Nature's insatiable need for beauty.

I agree with Jan; age is forced on each and every creature that breathes (and even the parts of Nature that don't; erosion of rocks, mountains, etc). And it does create anger.

But sometimes, I can become parts of moments; I can create them or enjoy those of others. Yes, age is forced on us. But we don't have to constantly carry that load.

Sometimes...we can look the other way...

Nature prevails.