Inspiration is coming a mile a minute as I walk the ocean side
trail in Pacific Grove. The purple ice plant, “magic carpet,” is
resplendent; and its sweet, musky smell, intoxicating. Sailboats
in the bay seem to nod to one another - their kaleidoscopic
spinnakers unfurled. The sun had surprised the soggy earth,
making steam rather than rain.
Spring break tourists are swarming the rocks and posing to have
their pictures taken; to freeze this glorious day for eternity.
How I wish, as I pass masses of poppies - puddles of egg yolks.
I need inspiration badly, as I am taking my 13-year-old cat to
the vet later in the afternoon. I pray that she’ll tell me he’s
not dying yet. But I am ready for anything. I’ve been keeping a
constant vigil as his sarcoma, which started 15 months ago as
one little bee-bee, has mushroomed into cauliflower-sized masses
behind his shoulder.
Sweet little trouper, he is still eating his savory salmon feast
with gusto, purring, holding his weight – just barely – and
cavorting around. If he knows the end is near, he’s not worried
In fact, my friends tell me he’s hanging around to be sure I
make it through the publication of StarWords. Maybe that’s why
I’ve chosen an offshore printer who will take longer than a
local printer. I’m sorry/not sorry to report that it’s looking a
lot more like July than May for publication.
So, with these thoughts percolating, I plop my rump down on a
secret bench (I’m not telling, but it’s along Ocean View Blvd.,
hidden on the water side) that has had enough rumps on it to
wear away its artwork: sea and sun, fishes and clouds. And while
the word “fear,” painted on it years ago, is still quite visible
- there, just beneath it, fading but true, are the words “hope”
It’s clear to me that those last two words cancel out the first,
so I bow to the sun and pray for the courage to love my Truffle
one day, one hour, at a time . . .
Truffle is his name because he looks as yummy as a bon bon. And
the good news is: his impending death is bringing me a
plentitude of lessons on love, compassion and acceptance.
I cried to my body worker recently, and you know what she said?
“Sometimes animals will hold an illness to spare us from it.”
Also, “You have lost your mother and your last three cats to
cancer. Maybe the universe is offering you another chance to
work out your issues with death and cancer.”
I’m still chewing this over. In the meantime, I have written
Truffle a letter that I’d like to share with you:
Dear Super Cat, in
your red super cape,
We met when you came trotting down the garden wall. Wet kitten,
you loved water from the get-go. You stole my heart, plain and
simple. I gasped at your beauty: taupe patches on cream. Your
white hind legs would later become pantaloons; your charcoal
tail later bloomed and flew at full mast as you, little
eohippus, charged up the fake cherry tree and bounced off the
“Who has the bluest eyes?” I’d chant, “You or me?” We’d look in
the mirror to see.
Little Pisser, loved unconditionally by your brother, Peaches,
and tolerated by your sister, Monet - at wit’s end, I actually
tried to adopt you out. But that wasn’t to be. And while you
have continued to spray everything in sight, I thank my lucky
stars for every day that you’ve lived with me and every night.
Nicky (AKA: Muffin, Nipper, Tuffy, Fluffy, Nipsy) boxes are your
niche. Got your head stuck in a Kleenex container. Hard to
remove, but getting it on was a no-brainer.
The loss of your siblings brought you – like glue – to my lap,
nightly, for TV. You bonded with me. So close, sometimes we’d
breathe in unison.
Number One Ratter, the gifts you’ve bestowed on me: neatly
murdered rats 1-2-3!
If there’s a heaven for furry critters, you’re sure to meet up
with your brother and sister.
P.S. Number one
indignity, the vet had to shave Truffle’s side to expose his
tumors so I can treat them. He now wears a red cat sweater.
Proudly, I might add. You see, he has a penchant for getting my
underwear wrapped around his neck and trotting boastfully across
the carpet. Thus, as his cape flaps behind him, I sing to him,
“Super Cat, leaping from tall high buildings . . .”
“Muse” is my favorite name for Truffle, who perches beside me on
a director’s chair while I write this. Without him, this book
might not be happening . . .
I decided to pose a question to myself before sleep last night,
having just read an article in Reader’s Digest about lucid
dreaming. “I will dream about death, and when I awake I will
have a solid belief system about it.”
When I awoke, here are the dreams I remembered: first, I was in
our family’s summer cabin and I was sweeping tons of cobwebs out
of its rafters; second, I returned to the place where I had lost
my previous cat, Monet. I had inadvertently left her behind
years ago. I knew she was long gone, but I decided to call out
her name. And there, across a field of white light, she cavorted
happily with a partner – a white cat I’d never seen before. When
I tried to harness Monet and get her back, it was clear she
wanted to be free . . .
Feel free to e-mail me and give me your take on these dreams.
Also, any prayers for Truffle are greatly appreciated. Mine
tonight will be, “Higher Power, please help me be the person my
cat thinks I am.” . . .
Coming next posting! A brand new Q&A interview with radio star