Calico Check-in, Summer

Okay, Boss, got your message—received and transmitted. 

It was rather difficult for me at first, all that was coming through was “be still…”.  My disbelieving ears thought maybe it was “be silly” or something, but no, couldn’t be that.  Again and again I kept hearing it: “be still”.  

Now, you know that being a Family Guardian Angel in the guise of a cat does not mean that I’m not really a cat—-I’m simply a rather special cat, that’s all: a cat with wings.  Of course, this makes it urgent that I hide whenever any strangers come to visit, since the only people I have powers over what they see of me, are the ones in my own Family-—except for outside, when my invisibility is put on, which works for everyone.  

So here we are, in a place wonderfully brimming with things to chase and pounce on, and you’re telling me, a cat remember, “be still”?  When there are so many other things that are -NOT- being still?  To tell you the truth, I wanted to stay at home where they thought they were leaving me (I’m very good at being still, at home), but in true Guardian Angel duty I put on my invisibility and went along with them on their camping trip into the wilderness.

It is a ‘wilderness’ of huge beasts-—each one a ‘beast’ of a trailer, motorhome or 5th wheel!  And I’ve never seen so many wild animals coming out of those arks!  They were pretty good at being still–my family–sitting around the campfire staring at their laptops.  No complaint here about TV interfering with family interaction.  Who needs TV? (Who needs family interaction?)

But about the instruction.  See, I know about being still.  We cats are very good at that, when it comes to preparing to pounce on all those things that move.  What had me wondering was, what does “be still” have to do with me and my family?  It sounds like a catchy sort of summer logo, but you know us, Boss.  We’re all pretty ‘still’ most of the time already—either sitting at laptops, sitting on top of laptops (when I can manage it), or curled up on top of the fridge sleeping (that’s me again, not the humans).  And for a theme that starts with “be still…”, at that campground, there definitely were a lot of things that were -NOT- being still!

You can imagine my dilemma, Boss, as a cat.  It was hard to know which way to pounce first!  On the grass itself, the shade flickered regularly.  Hovering and flying just above the ground there were hundreds of bugs—I don’t know, maybe they were sniffing out human sticky-spills or something.  Then, as your eye travels up, the air was filled with thousands of these fluffy white tree-seeds floating everywhere.  Look further up, and you find the source of the flickering shade—zillions of fluttering little poplar leaves.

With all this flickering, flying, floating and fluttering, one could get dizzy trying to catch them all.  My head was getting kind of crazy… at least that’s my excuse for what I did next.  At the campsite right beside us, there was—excuse my language—a D-O-G, sitting quietly and minding his own business.  Before I could stop myself, my pouncing was turned in that direction.  That sort of thing is extremely tempting after all, when you know that the animal can’t see you.  Starting with a simple paw-whack on the nose, then a bite or two on the tail, I even managed to get in a few jumps right on top of the whole mass before he got too wildly aggravated.  Of course, what made it especially fun, was his family yelling at him to shut up, and telling him there was nothing there!

The summer-hot day made me give it up at last.  As a matter of fact, the breeze disappeared, and all of nature stopped moving.  Except for The Mom in my family, who moved from spot to spot trying to stay in the shade. Soon I was panting, and sneaking a few laps of The Boy’s juice (he was so involved in what he was reading that he never noticed his drink going down faster than it should.)  Even the general noise of the campground seemed to be muffled in the oppressive, pushing-down, squishing-in heat.  My idea of going to the store for an ice cream I quickly discarded, since there is never enough time to get my tongue in for a few licks before it’s GONE.

The suggestion that did go through was not my idea, believe me.  Going to the pool for a swim.  My thought was to stay back and guard the trailer, but unfortunately, trailers do not need guardian angels.  The pool was jammed full of moving targets… wish we could have yelled at them to be still, Boss.  Tentatively, I stuck my paw in the water and tasted it.  Yuck!  Then I was cooled off in a sudden and unpleasant way.   *splash!*  Backing away and shaking myself disgustedly, I worked hard at projecting the thought to my family, about being quick with their swim.

Lamentably, that was not the worst thing that happened to me that day.  

By the time we got back to the campsite, the flutterers were at it again—this time just a slight whispering, high up:  “Be still…” (which soon put The Mom to sleep in her chair, like a baby).  When my gaze reached the very top of the trees, the fluffy white clouds sailing by added to the tantalizing picture, continuing in the look of intrigue in the perfect angles of the branches. Perfect for climbing.  

The ‘getting there’ was indeed as satisfying as the ‘being there’ (thanks for giving us angels wings, Boss).  It was an excellent vantage point way up at the top, and I could have enjoyed staying there for hours. If it hadn’t happened that I was forced to stay there for hours.

The you-know-what, excuse-my-language-dog, discovered me up there.  Just why he could see me, didn’t dawn on me at the time.  He of course had to produce the typical picture of a cat stuck up a tree with the dog barking on the ground.  His family was away at the time (in the pool, no doubt), so he was able to keep it up for an interminably long while.  If that didn’t beat all, amidst the racket I could hear my own family talking about me (when they weren’t complaining about the noisy dog, of course).

“Poor cat, I hope she’s not too lonely, at home all by herself,” they said.  If they only knew!

Of course, I’m decidedly embarrassed about the whole thing.  My excuse is that I was so shaken up that my mind wasn’t working properly.  It was rather jarring when I heard:

“Why don’t you use your wings, silly?”  My neck stretched and I exclaimed in high puzzlement,

“Who said that!?”  That’s when I noticed the little folded wings. They’re more hidden on dogs, who don’t have as much liberty to hide themselves from people.  So, in true cat fashion, I tried to pretend that ‘I meant to do that’, as I stretched out my own wings and flapped—very gracefully of course–to the ground.  Being indignant about this angel-dog’s meanness could not keep the memory out of my mind, of my own tricks on him, earlier.  (*gasp!*  You mean he was seeing me that whole time I was jumping on him?!)  So I lifted my chin high when I reached the ground, and prepared to just stalk on by.  But that d-o-g could not resist, of course.

“Got you back, didn’t I?” he said.  “Cat got your tongue?”  Lucky for me, his family arrived just at that moment, so he had to go to them and leave me to my shame.

Cat got your tongue.  Honestly!

Anyway, it was late in the evening when your message finally started to get through properly. You know how I’m always careful about understanding the message clearly before passing it on to my charges, Boss.  It was so late, that The Mom, The Dad and The Boy were all down for the night.  I curled up in the sink and watched them; here was something else that was definitely not being still; the three of them were constantly roiling, kicking, snorting, and just generally not being very comfortable at all.  They must have been dreaming quite extensively, maybe thinking about the novels they’d been reading.  Then it came to me how impossible it is to separate mind and body.  It’s very difficult to keep your body still if your mind is not at peace, to make your mind happy if your body is not happy (in other words, sick), to give your mind rest if your body is bothering you in some way, etc., etc.  

At this point, I knew I was beginning to get it, but that there was still something missing.  A third part not to be separated from the whole?  It was now 4 a.m., and in fact, the quietness was so thick that it felt pressing.  It had started out as a cooler night, so the air conditioner was off, and outside the trees and things were completely dead.  A strange tension built inside me and threatened to squeeze out in some sort of scream.  One more sleeping-bag rustle would surely put me over the edge.

And that’s what happened.  It was The Mom, so I landed onto her with all fours.  This was actually how I did my job of relaying your message, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.  Needless to say, she woke up, wondering what weird dream she’d been having.  A few minutes later though, she was grabbing her covers and heading outside… which turned out to be the perfect solution.

The cool, pre-dawn freshness was immediately more breathable.  As well as the anticipation of glory streaming up from the eastern clouds, the air was filled with something wonderful.  As we waited, two or three leaves began to move, one bird to chirp… and then we heard it, and the last piece of the puzzle fell into place:

“Be still
and know…
that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

So, yeah. I can go along with that.

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