Mortaljive: The Rest is Silence

There is no still point in all the Universe, and that is the rock upon which I stand

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Some days the heart breaks again...

Our sweet and brave gray & white, magnificently whiskered Juan Carlos, a semi-feral kitten when first rescued by Donna in Los Angeles in 2000, has met a difficult and sad end. He declined to come back in the house on Thursday night, having turned away from the open sliding glass door, choosing instead for more adventure on a fine summer evening. He did not come back all night, and we feared theworst. The next morning Donna searched for him, finding only tufts of fur--we thought he had been killed by a coyote. Later in the day we came to find he was alive but hurt, possibly by a car or dog, and hiding in a thicket of thorny blackberry vines (this is the shorter version) of a house whose owner had died some time ago--Donna went headlong into the bramble in the wildly overgrown backyard and paid the price with laceration wounds from the thorns on her arms (and a few lashes to her legs for good measure). Our neighbors assisted as I cut through the thicket to make a path, and they found us an old refrigerator crisper drawer to place him in once Donna had him in her grasp (he was frightened but too weak to hide further, and the soft towels Donna used helped calm him). We then drove him to an emergency vet clinic--his back left leg was no longer viable, but there was some hope for his other injury, a fractured front left arm. Overnight at the vet clinic it was determined that the blood flow had been compromised in the front left arm, and with other internal issues there was no way to save this wonderful friend of ours--he was euthanized this morning, with Donna and I holding and caressing him. A very sad, very hard day, Bastille Day, the 122nd anniversary of my grandmother Armstrong's birth, the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie's birth, and a new mother, daughter-in-law to my sister, Amanda Richard's birthday--this day shall also have to hold our goodbyes to one we loved. The reason there is a picture of a glove is as follows: Juan Carlos was an indoor cat for most of his life, and would go on hunting expeditions most nights, sometimes until the wee hours, crossing the mighty plains of the living room, roaming the tundra of the dining room, skirting the water falls inside the kitchen sink. He would return from these hunts triumphantly, with gloves, socks, shoes, a dog toy, crocs--they were no match for him and his skill as a predator. He would plop them down in the hall and cry out, howling about his achievement, and we would answer him with "Oh, great Juan Carlos, you are our mighty hunter!" However, something was missing from these rituals: the real world, with real excitement, real adventure; we let him outside more and more, and so these past few months, little by little, Juan Carlos was able to experience what before had been only play. At the end of his life he went out a Warrior, Our Mighty Hunter, our love. To the world, just another cat--to us, he is King of the Vikings, Master of Adventure, the Sleek and Elegant One, and we will miss him terribly. We are lighting candles tonight, and Valhalla has one more place to set at its vast and noisome table. Tat tvam asi, beloved Juan Carlos. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.


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