On this day’s sun

Stella this morning looking towards the sun, her position concealing the large open, untreatable tumor on her face that is the reason she is currently in hospice care.

Stella’s human is enduring a personal emergency and was called away from her girl but Stella is a cat that gets twice daily insulin, pain meds shot down her throat and painful cleaning/dressing her face wound then mere seconds after these insults, pulls herself back to center.  Sitting then with me on the slope of their driveway, watching squirrels perform their life on the roof across the street.    The silver lining to Stella’s pain is her very own self.

As she and I watched this morning, one of the squirrels parkour’d down from the roof of the tan building on the left and ran to the yard next door.  Then, standing up and looking around casually, surveyed the scene as if having decided that the vibes were real good.

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A few years ago, I had an experience with a kitty named Melman where I leaned down to him to tell him that I loved him, and he (uncharacteristically) started rolling around affectionately on his cat tree as if he knew exactly what I was saying.   So I added, to keep this thing going, “Do you know what love means?” intending to breezily describe to him–with a mini-channeling of melodic words–the answer.  For this is what I do for my life:   I love creatures for a living.  I come into their homes and listen to what they need to feel loved and safe.   I read the room, and vary my words and my vibe until I nail it.   But all at once, right there near Melman’s cat tree, I stood up and was speechless, unable to verbalize what I wanted to say.  What did “love” mean for me and for Melman?   How does the word or the vibes combine inside the body of an anxious orange introvert on a cat tree to where he rolls around in pleasure and I immediately want him to keep feeling that?  What makes that happen?

And I had nothing–could say nothing/said nothing–suddenly understood that “love” isn’t something words can make truth from.  And that “love” is so much bigger than me I can’t encapsulate what it is from within the limitations of myself.

So I left it alone, intending to just rest with the concept of it as it existed inside me until perhaps some day, from the brew of experiences—with self, daughters, animals, sunrises—I might have another go.

And for several years, I’ve done that.

This morning, as I looked up the driveway at Stella—her shadow reaching back towards me—the sunshine was like this Navajo folklore (pic).

My initial worry that her mom wouldn’t get back to see her before Stella’s end time has faded out from our visits together because animals aren’t like that. They don’t live where we do in that way.   They live in the sunshine of the Navajo, where each day it rises to be the most beautiful sun there ever was.  Where those squirrels jumping around in the gutters on the house across the street are the most entertaining thing she’s ever seen.

And as I made to leave her house after our visit, I walked up the street a bit towards my car and looked back to make sure she wasn’t following me.  And she was.  So I turned back, and sat with her again, in her sun.  

Then when I got to my car, the music from my speakers was saying “… it’s the same old story, all love and glory, it’s a pantomime; looking for love in a looking glass world is pretty hard to do.”  Mother of Pearl by Roxy Music.

And 2020 has been a year of potential disaster, and the trip wires were all set for me.  Financially starting back at square one; trying to find my way to other opportunities but doing so unwillingly, with a bank account to match.  And for a while this year, it felt personal.  As if all that work—all the struggle, all the sacrifices—was going to start over, and repeat.  Carving out a path of “this shit again?”, with all the players dancing around in convergence of a targeted apocalypse.

But the bigger truth about struggle is that the trauma can change you.  It can crack you open to where you know you have nothing to fucking lose but to start seeing yourself and the world you’ve created differently.

Because, in sitting with “what is love?” I’ve come to understand that love is everything.  Love is all of these words; it’s the struggle; the opportunity to see ourselves, to become, to reach around outside the barrenness so as to rise.  

And had these days not arrived, again, I wouldn’t have believed this to be true.

Yet from this shift of worlds, with no idea of my next step, I drove home from Stella’s house living inside a moment where the sun is only alive for one day.   For Love is growing and experiencing itself constantly from within us, and is a story we’ll never stop writing, nor would we want to.

Stella‘s mom got back several months later— it got really rough for Stella before she did—and said goodbye to Stella in the way we’re sometimes called to do.
This is Stella before her tumor. Stella, means star, like the sun.