This past Monday, feline EmmaRose and I experienced the imperative inherent in impermanence. One being can never know another completely, which is as it should be. The richness of relationship, its mystery, keeps us curious and often, in awe.
As a cat, EmmaRose is ever present. Routine is her preference for that means food and shelter—her sense of security—is not threatened. For the three and a half years she has lived with me not even the furniture has been rearranged. It seems she appreciated this more than I knew.
We spend most of our time in the bedroom, which doubles as my work area. I work from an adjustable Tempurpedic bed complete with laptop and bed table. EmmaRose is quite partial to sleeping on the Internet router, especially in winter, or near/on my lap while I write.
Our living room has never had much furniture. There is still a lovely antique, wooden rocker with a padded seat. It is more comfortable than it looks. Also, there is a large, rust-colored ottoman suitable for human and feline window gazing.
There WAS a twin bed box springs and mattress that I tried to disguise as a sofa-daybed. For me it was ugly, uncomfortable, an unpleasant reminder of another time. From time to time, however, I would find EmmaRose curled up and asleep on it.
That I regularly removed accumulated cat hair from its quilt cover should have told me that this was a nocturnal sleeping place. Did we not once watch a possum in moonlight from the sofa-daybed?
In hindsight, it is obvious that a good deal on a used loveseat and recliner changed our relationship. In fact, EmmaRose seemed to sense imminent change the moment we heard the knock on our front door.
She did not watch the daybed leave the apartment, preferring the familiarity of the bedroom to wait for the moving in and moving out to cease. Only then did she return to the living room.
Although she is only five and a half pounds, she has an immense presence, especially when she communicates. We don’t focus on the actual meow or word. Rather, we pay attention to tone, and her feelings regarding the loveseat and recliner were quite clear.
Here we were in the reality of impermanence. The known furniture was gone and the unknown leather furniture was here. Accepting loss precedes learning to live with what is. Becoming once again secure in one’s world is unique to each being–there is no set amount of time.
We can immerse ourselves into the newness of our world or we can skirt the change for awhile. Regardless, it is up to us to seek that first peace so integral to relationship, which is precisely what EmmaRose did three days and four nights later.
It was during the opalescent hours, as one day becomes another, that EmmaRose beckoned me to the loveseat for window gazing. In the light of the waning crescent moon, I glimpsed an occasional firefly but soon the purr of EmmaRose brought me, too, to sleep.