L’air …

Yesterday the air felt dense. Not hot and not cold, just full and thick. The clouds stayed low, heavy, old, bosomy. Like flat pillows. There was no wind and little sound. Even the birds were quiet. The night crickets played their instrumental feet softly as though the night was nigh – all day their orchestra played. The day barely lifted from its grey night.

The Professor, the little kitten, died yesterday morning with a small sigh of relief, the quiet stillness of the awakening barn wrapped about him like a drifting veil.  He had been living here for one week .

I know I have said this before but it is a cornerstone of my manifesto. Each soul that touches yours has value. No matter how long that touch lasts. It has worth. It is a lesson. So listen.

Some relationships are very short – snippits, flashes.

Like the time I was down in the subway in Paris, one Christmas.

I was travelling alone, which is my favourite way to travel,  especially at Christmas.  I was standing in the paused train, my feet in concert heels, planted solidly, slightly apart; London styles (holding a strap in the underground is considered girly – sitting close to the doors is worse),  open book in hand (reading on the subway is mandatory), the underground moving-people-train-room full of the rustle and giggle of evening Friday night, the going-outs and the going-homes crossing through wafts of perfume and fatique, preparing for the hasty take off indicative of Parisian subway trains. When. Just as the doors were closing (and they close fast in Paris, there is no forgiveness in the French subway) – a tall elegant man in smart sleek black leaped through the smacking gap, his leg extended,  his brief case preceding him, his body a missile, shooting through, the doors slamming shut with a  French stick smack right against his back. We both felt the woosh of air as it was cut off – guillotine styles.  And as his momentum shot him through the air towards me we saw each other. No-one ever sees a person in the underground. But we did. We saw each other.

The train and the man lurched forward,  his foot thumping to the side, his briefcase rising for balance, the train spitting speed and as I reached to steady him, my gloved hand to his perfectly appointed jacket, his black eyes hit mine and every particle of this panting body was grinning with open gorgeous delight at the success of his daring. His mad run for the closing doors, totally committed to throwing his body through the gap had succeeded. No words were exchanged in that flash between us, as the train picked up speed, and people shuffled kindly to make room. He and I knew in that moment – the joy of beating the odds. Hurling oneself at the smallest of gaps and getting through. We knew it and we  laughed in its face. Hah! We silently hooted. Heads up and back down with hidden underground laughter.  Dimples.  Joy was there. A pause. Fecund. Breathless.

Then eyes locked, we both raised our eyebrows just a hair, a smidgen, a minute openness, a smudge of complete recognition, a whole life in a millisecond, a veering, a thought, a recovering. An eye to an eye, as close as ever I have been seen and saw.  A total world.  And in perfect unison, we nodded a toast to each others solitude, and like bricks into wells – we dropped – totally, without a splash, back into our respective lives. My eyes were drawn back to the words of Neruda who I was reading at the time.

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

Or something like that.

I turned the page of my book and he reached for his phone.  Gone.  A whole life together in under thirty seconds.


You see what I mean?  Even in a thirty second lifetime relationship, we can learn. We can learn to throw caution to the winds and hurl ourselves at a closing gap. And win. Maybe The Professor won before the race started.


I suspect we have brought in a feline flu with these new kittens and hopefully today all the cats are off to get their distemper boosters a little earlier in the year than normal.


Today we work some more on the fencing. And everything else.  These calves are good and ready to get to the new fields and in under those wonderful trees.



Sheila stays at my back door though. She and I are having a long relationship. I hope you have a lovely day.

Your friend on the farmy,

miss c



51 Comments on “L’air …

  1. You are a wizard with words, . . . how well you’ve described those unexpected, fleeting little moments when we see clearly that we are all connected; it takes your breath away.

  2. i was just about to say the same as Celtargirl…you are a wizard with words..they tumble so naturally and exciting . Not just an old country farmy lady but a very clever writer.
    Very sorry about the Prof. but if he already had the disease his fate was already made, you just gave him the best week that he would ever have….

  3. Lovely story. It made me think of depending on the kindness of strangers and Blanche Dubois for some reason.

    Good morning C and Sheila and the farmy. Have a wonderful day.

  4. Thank you. That fragile thread of connective-ness is really a strong titanium cable that runs through every living being. Acknowledging it is not always so breathtaking… I love & live for those magical moments.

  5. It is so wonderful when we can learn a lesson such as you related—time is short, relationships are important and we all have incredible worth. Even the littlest kitten like Professor can impact and have importance in this world of ours. Thank you for reminding me of that. This is a wonderful post today—you are such a gifted writer and I loved your words on this Monday. Thank you for sharing Professor with us —-he will be missed.

  6. It’s funny how eyes can meet between total strangers and yet there is a relationship in those brief seconds. I’ve always found that phenomenon fascinating. I’m sorry about the professor. He was a cutie. I hope the rest of them hold off the flu. Our little guy is on antibiotics right now for a respiratory infection. So far so good.

    • at least the kitten we are looking at for you is far away and have had no contact with this barn at all.. best we keep it that way i think.. c

  7. We haven’t had one of your wrapped in the moment story for a while. Thank you, drew us all along right with you 🙂 Is Queenie’s Bobby weaned yet, or will this happen when the calves move to the other barn? Laura

    • That is what i am planning to do. She will be pretty mad at me, so it is best he is over the creek, then she can settle down where i can keep an eye on her. Soon I hope, he is a Big Boy!

  8. In a few words the littlest Professor touched my life.. what sorrow this brought me this morning, I don’t think I’d have the heart to raise animals and have them part so soon. I get far too attached.. I loved your story this morning! This happened to me last week at IKEA of all places, lol!

  9. Sad when we have to say a good bye to one so young, but thinking of little lives the way you do helps tremendously. When you said he had an extended tummy made me wonder is he may have had feline peritonitis as I had a kitten years ago who died of this at just 10 weeks old. Apparently quite common in the young.
    Loved your written memories of your journey on the underground – brought back many memories of the many trips I made in London! And you are so right about the standing feet apart for balance and reading LOL

  10. We’re you reading the story of the gift Pablo received through the tiny hole in the fence when he was a child? It is very much in the realm of your Paris encounter, only their eyes never met. This gift from a secret friend affected his whole life.

    • so long since I read him but you have jogged out that memory, thank you.. i was trying to think.. I need to go back and read his work again..

  11. Poor little guy. He did have a look while he was here. A look of presence and meaning in this world. I hope your vet checks for feline leukemia, too. Wonderful writing today, as always.

  12. Your prose melted all over me like whipped butter on warm toast. What a fascinating journey you have traversed thus far. I’m so sorry about the little Professor – in his brief appearance he touched all of us.

  13. Little Professor. It sounds like the wet version of FIP, Feline Infectious Peritonitis for which there is no cure. So sorry for the loss

  14. delicious story; yes every soul important, wonderful writing; i love boo, he’s such a Mommy Dog; he’s Garpian, like the Word According to Garp!

  15. Celi .. Your words are exquisite. I think I just met that man on the train too! How exciting. So very sorry to hear about your kitty ..
    Best of luck with those vaccinations

  16. Reblogged this on Grannymar and commented:
    A very short season, giving Cecilia a reason to share her wonderful philosophy on life, with a magical turn of phrase!

    No matter how deep life throws her, she rises to the surface and swims above the storms on a cloud of positivity.

    • Sorry, Celi, the link in the comment is incorrect so the post is floating around cyberspace instead of landing at grannymar.com. 😦 Any chance you can edit and guide it to the correct flight path? Thanks muchly.

  17. Beautiful words linking the now with the past. Life is a series of interconnected moments and souls, swirling, meeting, parting, swirling, meeting, parting again… and again. Connections that are a gift but impossible to quantify 🙂

  18. We live, we learn, we love, and we suffer loss of varying degrees. It’s the definition of who we are, c. Blessings to you, love. xx

  19. Pingback: Over at THEKITCHENSGARDEN | Grannymar

  20. What a touching, beautiful post . Indeed , you are a wizard with words, describing moments and situations. All day because I have been remembering my encounters . Thank you Celi

  21. Love your Paris moments . . . . isn’t it funny how we oft remember the very details of an unexpected ‘happening’ decades afterwards . . . methinks we all have them and you description did make me smile whilst ‘seeing’ you together with the tall and handsome stranger for just a moment or two way back when . . .

  22. Rest well, little one. You knew love and kindness in your short life; one cannot ask for more. Lovely memories, Celi.

  23. Such a writer you are.
    We lost the little Granny last week – she had been here in hospice as she was very old and needed constant attention and care for a bit. It was a gentle passing, and although my daughter knows it was a life well lives and softly surrenders on her own terms, it is difficult for those left behind.

  24. I never cease to be amazed at the farmy community, and their wisdom, so much of it learned the hard way. Voices of experience. Enjoyed your Paris story on the underground.

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