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,