Contemplative moment at home with Burnsie

My orphan kittens are thriving. At least, two of the three are alive and doing well.

In June I wrote about new mouths to feed at Las Golondrinas: my seasonal Hummingbirds at the kitchen window and orphan kittens found in a hollow log near my well house. The three little ones were pitiful waifs, boney and frail like furtive ghosts. No sign of the mother cat around the old fallen tree.

Blogger's orphan kittens at Las GolondrinasBurnsie would whine at the gate at feeding times, eager to run to the fallen tree. He knew the orphans were there before I saw them. He wasn’t aggressive; he was curious.

I took them small bowls of half-n-half milk, almost certain they were too young to lap milk on their own. At first they wouldn’t coax out from the recesses of their log, but I left the small bowl anyway. When they did begin to come to their bowl I noticed the smallest one was roughly pushed away from access to the milk. I tried feeding the runt separately but after a week only two kittens were alive. Burnsie found the carcass of the runt.

As the Orphans gained strength they became quite bold. They would wait at their hollow log for our approach to feed the animals and run eagerly to meet Burnsie and me, often hazarding getting stepped on as they darted in front of my feet practically on top of my shoes. Other times the Orphans played and romped under the feet of donkeys who gathered in front of the well house, the kittens’ tiny size out of all proportion to their fearlessness.

One of blogger's intrepid My Orphans have now graduated to large curd “Scottage Cheese” mixed with cat kibble topped with a bit of half-n-half milk. They’re not boney anymore but still tiny and still fearless. I call them “Monkeys” as they scurry about my and Burnsie’s feet on the way to place their food bowl inside their fallen log where other mouths can’t reach it.

I certainly did NOT need more mouths to feed at Las Golondrinas. But, as Wendell Berry says in one of his poems, we live the Life given, not the one planned.

These days my ‘givens’ include two Orphans, now Burnsie’s feline friends and pint-sized inspiration to me. As the Orphans have learned to swarm around me, the Nurturer in their world, so I choose to believe Life gives as well as takes away. Like the kittens, if I am to nurture the fire within me, I must swarm to those who fan my flames.

Joseph Harvill, publisher Great Scots Magazine

Quiet moment at home with Burnsie

Ever had that sinking feeling, when your spirit wilts and your resolve melts away?

I think of that on mornings when I go into the kitchen to start the coffee maker and find a humorous vision of a ’sinking’ feeling. You see, my cat likes to hunker down in the bottom of my sink. In the summer the window above the sink is left open with only a screen between the window and the hummingbird feeder hanging outside. It’s a deep-bowl, double sink, so Katy virtually disappears in the bottom of the sink bowl.

In my experience, cats and sinks go together. I snapped a photo some years ago of a cat we called “Percy” curled up, almost on his back, in the bathroom sink.

I can’t resist. When I find a cat flaked out in a sink I always grin and ask, “Got that ’sinking’ feeling again?” They look at me and say with a superior Cat expression, “It’s YOUR humor that’s sinking!”

Blogger's cat curled in the sinkStressed-out humans often talk of “getting in sync”. When I’m up to my armpits in magazine deadlines, I know up close and personal what a stressed-out human looks like who needs a strong dose of “getting in sync.”

I think next time I’m frazzled over deadlines and a tongue-tied Muse I’ll conjure up the image of old Percy limp as a wash cloth inside that sink. Cats and Scotties know how to relax, how to “chill”, even when Life is ’sinking’.

That’s my vision of the ’sink-ronized’ life!

Joseph Harvill, publisher Great Scots Magazine