Happy Trails, Rocky

It’s never easy. The routine is the same. Staff explains the procedure and what we should expect. He is taken to another room to be weighed and prepped. We sit in the exam room, try to comfort each other,

“Yes, this is the right thing to do for Rocky’s sake. He has been suffering.”

Returning Rocky to his human’s arms, “5 and 1/4 pounds,” the tech announces.

Good God, he lost another 2 pounds. Never was a large specimen, but over the past few months the weight loss has been quite noticeable. Loose skin holding together a scrawny skeleton.

“He’s anemic,”

the tech shares as she shows where the IV has been started. Rocky doesn’t seem to care about all the attention he is receiving. His eyes, once the most beautiful yellow pools imaginable, are pale and dull. The opiate seems to be taking effect as he leans into his human’s arms.

The rush of memories which this creature has lived for us brings tears and a momentary wish to stop everything,

“We can make him better, let’s just take him home and love him as ever.”

He loved riding on the dashboard of his Freightliner trucking for America.

My humans walk me on a leash when we have time to stop at a truck stop. Tonight, one of my humans left the side box door open. I’m going for a walk by myself. I’m a cat, not a sissy dog that needs to be walked on a leash. The air is fresh and alive with scents new to me. The most enticing smells are coming from the field of sage and cacti in the field behind our rig.

I knew Rocky was missing from the truck when I began the routine checklist before heading out on the interstate to the next destination. Normally he was very attentive to activity on the truck and wanted to be involved. But, not tonight. When I noticed that the side box door had been left ajar, my fears heightened. Who knew where an inquisitive cat could be exploring. The fields behind us were coming alive with night life – wild dogs, coyotes, snakes, hawks and owls. A small 6 pound cat would be a tasty morsel. Got my shoes on and cap, grabbed a flashlight and started my search. “Rockee, here kitty, kitty, time to leave. Rockee.”

I hear my human call for me but, dangit, I’m just having too much fun. Critters out here in the weeds I have never chased before. And I’m running without a leash around my neck. Doesn’t get any better than this. Oh shit, what was that? Just came swooping down at me like an airplane. Yeah, I know what airplanes are, I’ve been to a few airfields in my life. Been to Offutt, Tinker, Eglin, Dover – you name it, I’ve been there. “Swoosh!” Oh shit, there it was again. Maybe I should head back. Don’t want to miss dinner.

“Rockeeeee, where are you?” I’m sending up prayers now. We have to be in Phoenix by daylight and there is no time to search for a wayward cat. One more lap on this path and that’s it. We have to go. “Dangit Rocky, get back here.” I hate snakes – especially when they slither across the path in front of me. “Rockeee!”

Those dogs I am hearing don’t sound like the two poodles I know from back home. I need to run faster, I’m hungry and scared. What’s that up ahead of me? It’s a human, but is it my human? I’ll just jingle the bell on my collar and hope for the best. “Jingle, jingle…….hey there, yoohoo, it’s me, Rocky.”

I am about to give up the search and head back to the truck empty-handed. “Oh Lord, one last plea. Rocky’s a good boy.”

Jingle, jingle, jingle.

Music to my ears. Turning around, there I see Rocky sitting on his haunches trembling five feet behind me. He is so upset and distraught that the body tremors are jingling the bell on his collar.

“I knew everything would be cool. I’ll just sit here and allow my human to pick me up, hug me and then scold me for running off.”

WHEN THE CAT YOU LOVE BECOMES A MEMORY, THAT MEMORY BECOMES A TREASURE. unknown

Sweet dreams, Rocky.

May all your road trips be safe, may you forever have salmon to eat and may your next life include me.

CATS

 

“No amount of time can remove the memory of a good cat; and no smiley-face-2amount of masking tape can ever totally remove his (or her) fur from your couch.” LEO DWORKEN

 

God put cats in our world to teach us patience and unconditional love.

cat emoji

cool cat Max

Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  Beyond the horizon is rest calling my name.  Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My cat, Max, and I are very similar.  He looks for his food bowl when he’s hungry, he toilets himself when necessary, he washes himself whether he needs to or not, and he looks for human companionship when lonely.  The one thing which I wish he could learn is to brush his teeth every day.  I haven’t given up – even Max is still a work in progress.

Actually, Max is better at some things than I am.  He always manages to find time for several naps during the day and, coolest of all, he finds the tiniest sliver of sunshine in the front room of the house to bask and replenish from a tough day of doing nothing.  I’m envious.

“Just living is not enough….one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”  Hans Christian Andersen

Max has no idea what a joy he is in my life.  He simply does what cats are created to do.  Same with the flowers in the fields, the birds in the air, animals in the woods, pelicans, alligators, fish.  Only humans seem to stumble and trip over the meaning of man’s place in the world.

There is much we could learn by sitting on a park bench, hiking in the woods, watching a sunset or a pelican fishing for dinner.  God gave us innumerable examples of what was intended for us if we would simply be still and observe His other creatures.

My cat, Max, hasn’t given up on me yet.  He still meows when he’s got something to share, purrs when he’s at peace, and lies in the sun where life is wonderful.  So much wisdom to gather from God’s creation.  I wish I were not such a slow learner.

heart manatee

 

abundance

CANDLE

I can sometimes convince myself that the spiritual life is as peaceful as an afternoon respite sitting on a moss-covered bank by a slowly moving stream through a dark, cool forest.  The only sounds are the chirps of the birds in the trees and the occasional rustle of dry leaves as the squirrels scamper off with their latest discovery of a hickory nut which had been buried earlier in the year.

It can be that way….sometimes.  More often the spiritual path has been a roomful of noisy, recovering alcoholics, reeking of the cigarette they just burned while standing outside.  Or it could be spending a few hours with a friend reeling from his latest battle with the demon alcohol not understanding how he could have fallen into the depths of a relapse.

Both scenarios are  spiritual.  The first is a passive opportunity to reconnect with the Higher Power of my life and replenish the bank account which keeps me fully funded in Spirit.  For me it is just as important as the fellowship of recovering alcoholics itself. Often I have attempted to go without the daily reading, private time of communion, devotion to inner reflection only to become less enthusiastic in other aspects of my recovery program.  Neglecting time alone with the Higher Power invariably leads to confusion and burn-out.

Years ago I led a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.  At the time I was sponsoring 3 or 4 pigeons and was on the verge of isolation and burn-out from phone calls at 2:30 AM or knocking on my door when I was just getting ready to sit down with a book I’d been wanting to read.

I chose the topic “burn-out” for discussion.  To my dismay nobody wanted to participate with this subject….too negative, they said.  Perhaps they were right, but, that topic is precisely why many of us fold our cards and dropout in this game called life.  Unless I demand of myself time to replenish my soul’s needs, I will be absolutely worthless to others and ultimately to myself.  The God of my understanding cannot use me for the work God has planned for me if I am emotionally and physically drained.

And it’s a result of ego telling me that I am indispensable, the world will stop if I don’t contribute, people will die if I am not there to save them.  The inner truth tells me, “Yes, people are going to die, but, life is not dependent on your contribution.  The world will go on.”

That’s a tough pill to swallow for me.  In one of my first AA meetings, an elderly lady sitting next to me defined the alcoholic as one who, in this production called life, “wants to be the producer, the director, the prop man, the set man and the star actor.”  Yep, that was me.

My cat, Max, is approaching senior status in feline years.  This amazing companion has taught me more than some of the greatest spiritual leaders I have read or motivational speakers to whom I have listened.  First, I have learned from Max, unconditional devotion to another creature.  Unfortunately, that is easier to practice with a pet than with people, but, the concept is there.  Secondly, Max uses his energy wisely.  He still loves the same activities as always such as grooming, chasing the leaf blowing across the front porch, stalking a lizard, and eating.  Truthfully, he still devotes as much time as ever to eating.  But, Max snoozes more now that he is eleven years old.  He has his favorite outposts in the house and more often than not can be found stretched out cutting zzzzzzzzs.  Amazingly, when Max is awake he is a purr machine.

I have learned a lot from my cat.  I don’t yet purr ( well actually I do simulate a human purr when I’m petting him) but, I do sense a calmness and peace when he invites me into his world.

God has provided for us a wonderful world filled with natural beauty and marvelous creatures.  Nature teaches us the cycles of life; birth, youth, maturity and death.  But, all to often, we ignore the other subtleties of this Creation which, I believe, can teach us how to live life abundantly.

A passage in the book of John speaks to us of the thief which comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  It is written in the context of a shepherd and his flock; however, as with all of scriptures when I view them in a spiritual sense, the meaning becomes so extremely apropos for today’s world if I understand that the thief is the busyness, the chaos, the wars, the violence, the famines, the hate, and injustice which dominates contempory world culture.  The life available through my time of spiritual devotion defends me from this thief.  Those moments of communion will not change the world, rather, they will change me.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

namaste rainbow