Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sunshine On My Shoulder

Hate is a strong word. I try not to use it. So I'm not going to use it in my upbeat blog, except for just a second ago. But I want to say for the record that I strongly dislike winter. I definitely feel an aversion to it. My feelings towards winter are mostly negative, I'm sorry to say. I just don't agree with winter at all, and it doesn't agree with me.

I mean everything is dead, dreary weather everywhere, not many veggies and fruits in season, hunting, uncomfortable chill every time I go outside, paleness, low energy, darker hair, winter weight, cold car seats, and a little amount of sunshine. It's the season of cold death. But on the other hand--Christmas, coats, boots and fires are fun things. I put up with winter so I can have hot chocolate and sit by a fire while wearing a beautiful coat and boots. Oh and I like to snow ski, but I think the mountains are pretty far away this year.

Now that I'm done dogging the season I'm currently in and making you feel depressed about life, I'll explain my disdain. I am a summer girl. I was born in the month of August, which means I am a Leo. I don't know if astrology is true or real or what. All I know is I've read about my sign, and I thought the magazine had written an article about me (narcissism? maybe). Leo is the sign of the sun, a fire sign. We love the sun. We need the sun. Picture a lion lying on a rock in Africa with the sun blazing down on him. I'm not saying that all Leos hate winter, I'm just trying to give myself some slack for being a grumpy old man in the wintertime. The way I act this time of year, you would think that someone sent me to Greenland, naked and wet to live in a teepee.

Another thing--on top of all this, it's really inconvenient that I get really cold. Cold-natured? You have no idea. It could be 72 degrees outside, and I'll talk about putting a sweatshirt on. Then I'll get looks from people around me that seem to say, "Something is wrong with you, weirdo." But I would say 87-77 F is my range of comfort. Poor WT has really had to adjust himself to the thermostat. Don't know what it is, but I could be a circus sideshow with my cold fingers and feet. All I need to do to cool down a cup of tea is put my icy fingers around it seriously. But caution if you ever ask me to do this for you--it will be lukewarm within 42 seconds. No joke. I don't care how hot your coffee is.

So lately, here in the Delta, it has been cold, cloudy and/or raining perpetually. Typical winter. Way to go winter. Yesterday, the sun came out. It was blissful. When I was sure it was for real and not some kind of corn field mirage, I ran out in sheer glee! I frolicked in my front yard. My pets joined in joy. We chased each other in circles. I exclaimed, "Oh sun! Where have you been! I love you! Please don't ever leave me again!" And then I turned around, and my mail lady literally had fear in her eyes as she was backing out of my long driveway as fast as she could, dust flying on our gravel road, mail falling out of my left-open mailbox. She'll probably ask for a new route.

After I calmed down, I basked in the shine in our yard for a little while and watched my two cats and dog:

The big one is named Big Kitty. Clever, huh? Well actually we never named it so when we found the little one, we started calling it Big Kitty. I'm not that close with this cat. I love it in its own way, but I was not around when this one came to be a pet at this home. WT used to have about 14 cats (3 generations of kittens). He was like an old cat lady, only he was a young cat man. When we got engaged and decided to remodel the house, Big Kitty was the only one that stayed and put up with all the worker men and machines and what not. He is fierce, an aggressive hunter.

(Side story about Big Kitty: One night last week we were eating supper with some company from out of town. A pretty, yellow bird starting running into the two side windows of the dining room. It was trapped in that nook between our house and garage. I felt terrible for it [see Animal Sensitivity post]. All of a sudden, Big Kitty appeared on one of the outside window ledges. All at the table predicted the outcome. So I yelled, "Fly away bird!" And that's when Big Kitty disappeared from the first window ledge. The bird kept softly bumping into the second window [the one right beside me], and then there was a flash of Big Kitty, flying all the way up to the middle of the window, arms outstretched over his head like he was at a wedding doing Shout. His paws clapped the bird, and he went right back down like he had caught a football. The crowd went wild at the table. Circle of life.)

The kitten is named Blue, well Delta Blue. WT brought her home from the farm shop in November. She had been abandoned by her mother and siblings. She was smaller than my hand. She had piercing blue eyes. I didn't know if it was a boy or girl, so I gave her some warm milk, put her in a box and named her Blue. Later, there was nothing blue about her, and we found out she is a girl. My friend Sarah told me it was weird that she was named Blue. Okay then, Sayrah, I shall name her Delta Blue. I mean once you name an animal, you can't just change it. But you can alter it a little bit.

I love my little Delta Blue. I've gotten way too close with this cat. I'm sure Big Kitty is wondering what the heck he did to make me hate him so much. I try to pet him, but there's just no chemistry there. This kitten is so fast and frisky. She is also really strange. She sucks on on the end of her tail while she sleeps, curled up on one of WT's boots in the garage. Although, I think that's from being separated from her mother before the breast feeding stage was over; how do you explain the sideways running? She runs with her butt first and then her head, and back and forth. But somehow, she moves forward. She loves people too. Amazing little thing.

This is big Jackson, checking everything out. Note his beautiful winter coat, the burnt orange silkiness of it.

At first, Big Kitty and Delta Blue did not get along. Blue, being the sweet little frisky thing she is, ran right up to Big Kitty, and he swatted her away like a fly. I got mad and reprimanded Big Kitty for being such a bully. But then after we put Blue outside to be a hunter of mice like Big Kitty, and after some spying, I got the gist of their relationship.

I don't know if you've ever seen Million Dollar Baby, the movie about the older man who trains the young girl to be a world champion female boxer? Well anyway, my cats are like Hilary Swank and Clint Eastwood if that makes any sense at all to you. Big Kitty is like the old, worn out, anti-social trainer who is teaching this sweet, abandoned, energetic and lovable girl to be a great boxer, or hunter/outside cat. In the following photo, he is showing her how to use the restroom outside. See how much Blue admires Big Kitty, watches him so closely so she can do it like the best of them.

Big Kitty shows her how to bury it so she won't use the corner of our garage anymore. Don't they look like father and daughter? He lost all his daughters during the renovation of the house, and her father left before she was born. He's the only father she's ever known.

This is Jackson, getting some sun, staying far away from the crazy cat scene, and wondering why in the world I am taking a picture of Big Kitty going to the bathroom in our yard.

You can just feel their closeness. It's just so special with their rough start and all. Don't get too emotional. Pull it together.

Delta Blue chased me and Jackson when we started our walk, moments after this picture was taken yesterday. She followed us for a long way, and then ran sideways into a creek. She started meowing because she couldn't see us anymore. I got worried and thought she might get lost out in the farm fields forever, so I walked back to the house so she would follow me there. When I got there, ole man Big Kitty was on the driveway, pacing back and forth, meowing and wondering where Delta Blue had gone. I could have sworn I saw them give each other a tearful hug when Blue ran up to him.

But anyway, got a little sidetracked. The point is that I enjoyed the sunshine. I looked at it like I had been living in a basement for months. I was utterly grateful for the blue sky it brought too. And the pretty sunset.

It made me think--how often do we not notice the sun and all it's doing unconditionally for the world? I took it for granted for a little too long. Everything depends on the sun. Your life and the life of everything around you are nurtured by the sun. Do we say thank you every day for the many gifts of the sun, and how the earth is a perfect distance from it so that it sustains life here? For the warmth and light and energy it delivers every single day? Why should we ever forget about it?

Just think about it for a second and try to remember to thank God for the truly remarkable gift of sunshine.

Have a good evening!

Liza Jane

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