My daily life is enhanced by the presence of a pet. Who better to signal the start and end of the day with a friendly greeting and a reassuring acknowledgement? Pets mark the progression of the day and help us keep the shape and rhythm of life being attuned as they are to the natural patterns of the earth in its rotation. They amuse us with their adaptations to life with humans and when they show their wild side we are reminded they choose to be with us as much as we choose them.
Cats are my pet of choice from childhood onwards although I’ve known and loved friends’ dogs and other pets including a talking African gray parrot, a rabbit and a guinea pig. We like our furry creatures! That’s not to ignore our scaled friends and insects who make for interesting times too. At 19 years old our cat is mostly sedentary now however in his kitten days Tangerine was an excellent mouser. Over the years T as we call him has taught me excellent lessons on the subject of flexibility and relaxation. I love the way he makes a poem of the elegant sweep of his tail, the curve of his spine and the stance of his paws, not to mention the gorgeous red and orange hues of his coat. Despite his current infirmities T comforts us all and teaches us the meaning of trust and compassion. In addition to adding cheerfulness to our environment with their antic behavior and uncanny instincts, pets help us dwell in the moment.
Beyond beauty and cuddliness, animal ways are endlessly fascinating. They remind us of our interconnected relationship to the natural world. While not precisely pets, my family even took up beekeeping for a time as a suburban foray into animal husbandry. Bees are mesmerizing and in their ability to communicate by dancing and their symbiosis with nature they are a model of harmonious coexistence! Famously Yeats enjoyed them in his bee-loud glade. Bees are single minded yet devoted to their community. Each goes about its particular work building the comb in a hive, hovering in the air above a flower and keeping a methodical focus on their flight path as they ply a straight line directly in and out of the hive to collect and drop their pollen cargo. It’s an inspiring example of industry.
This week I invite you to share a photo of your pet and tell us how you see the poet in them.
Photos by Claire Mauro