Maybe it’s just my lung re-inflating, but I have been feeling curiously contented lately.
The snow is melting from our soggy yard and through the big glass doors to my left the creek is running high, green, spring thaw. To my right there is a couch with an enormous orange and brown afghan, purchased in 2007 by Roy and I, $5 each, and on top of this afghan is a sleeping cat, three legs, tiger-shrimp stripes rising and falling. Behind me is a wall of books and through that wall of books there is a bed with a sleeping companion under blankets filled with feathers, lazy yawning, off day. In front of me is a picture of this same companion, younger, hugging a different tiger shrimp cat and above this picture is a constellation of others– Dog Dungeons and New Mexico lightning and Dick & Jane pages and blurry pinhole Polaroids and a Portrait of Roy as a Young Man.
I am sipping coffee, bathed in grey light. The world outside our windows has changed so much in just one year’s time.
Yesterday, sifting through shoeboxes I’ve kept beneath my childhood bed, I read old letters and was reminded of how grateful I am for each person I know, for my brother whose child-scrawl wrote to me from the orthodontist’s office, for my sister who marked up polka-dotted cards with inside jokes and chit-chat, for my parents who wrote to me wisely, empathetically, each in their own distinctive handwriting while I was first away at college. Notes to accompany the Great Babci sweater or to flesh out Bright Eyes lyrics (from Techno) or in handmade envelopes (from Mufasa) or sealed with yellow duct-tape (from Sniffer) or scrawled on restaurant checks (from Pop), little drawings of birds from Dave, jokes in Matt’s ball point pen and blunt business envelopes, a postcard of a streetcar from Aunt JoAnn, a hunk of Uncle Willard’s hair, pictures of Rachel from Uncle Mike, newspaper cut-outs from Gerri and Julia’s familiar, careful handwriting. Birthday cards from Grandma and Grandpa, Babci and Dziadzi, and their strings of exes and ohs.
I was reminded of the John Prine song–reading these old love letters did bring me tears, and I know I am so squashy but thank you, all of you, for your words and companionship are at the center of what I care about.
Some cats from and about some of these folks.
Ken, from his most recent visit, reading Auntie Lauri’s book.
Scenes from New Orleans. Rachel vs. Lobster
Visiting a kitten.
This is where the kittens be.