It’s raining a cooling and soaking rain that washes the sages and trees into freshness. The smell of sap is also in the air. The downward turn of energies is upon us. I love Autumn. I lit the first fire in the stove today, complete with copal resin to send a message to the hillside and the rain clouds pressing against the mountain beyond. I’m grateful for the changes in my life, even the dust of the objects and old ideas I am moving out of my life. This is a time of going deeper within, closer to the fire, removing the excess in favor of simplicity, and order.
Hail, Autumn. Bless our passionate efforts with rest and a sigh of relief, and the grace of falling away from what is finished. A deep seat and a cup of tea will be celebration enough.
Willie has been gone for days. I knew when we moved here 6 years ago his chances of being killed by coyotes were increased. He had already survived 12 years living in town with night roaming dogs and I have spent many hundreds of dollars saving him from punctures from feral cats. It’s a rough life being a cat sometimes. So, he’s about 18 years old and has eaten lots of wonderful fish and cat food, and had a health plan more secure than my own. He had a thin winter last season, but came through in better shape with all the fresh fish and canned cat food.
I miss him. He was the guardian of the garage, where all the grain is kept for the chickens, and the host of other amazing things two middle aged people keep in storage. He kept me company in the morning with my coffee and deigned to sit in my lap when I wore a sweater. Willie was a very swift hunter and often left me little lizards bottoms, looking like a pair of pants on the doorstep. He was hell on grasshoppers until the chickens came and wiped them all out. He never missed a mouse, that I know of.
He was not to be trifled with, either. Do not mistake him for a house cat, by no means. He would hook you, with keen precision, snagging just the first layer of skin on your hand with one claw, sharpened several times daily. He managed to sneak in the house a few times and hone them on my husband’s leather couch, which won neither he or I any favor with the man of the house.
Willie was a loner, and independent and could abide no other cats. He barely tolerated a couple of strays while we were in town that I fed for several years. He made sure they didn’t get into his garage guarding duties. Out here in the country he was a force to contend with. I felt he had a pretty good chance here, and he did well for 6 years.
Now, he has been missing for several days, and we have many coyote families around the valley. There are plenty of hunting opportunities here and the ranchers are determined that no coyote is going to harvest any of THEIR stock. I can see their point, and yet I have a contention with the methods they imply.
I have to listen on a fairly regular basis, and as I did this morning for three hours in the wee hours before dawn, to the sounds of three individual coyotes, likely a whole litter of young dogs, while they cried out in agony as poison took its toll. For a long time I thought they were being trapped, but after many hours of listening, I have determined they are baited to poison, and sometimes shot, if they can be spotted during daylight. Personally, I think poison is a cowards device. To die that prolonged and painful death when there are immediate and effective measures seems the most vile and inhumane thing to employ.
If they must die, then let it be quickly.
Today I am lighting a candle for Willie, my beloved feline companion of 18 years, and for the coyote family that could possibly have been his demise. I will celebrate the balance of life and death in this season of Equinox, and count myself blessed for many reasons.
To the Coyotes and Cats in the circles of life.
He’s gone missing. It’s not like him to be gone for days at a time. I knew when we moved here that he would some day disappear. Too many factors to consider. He has survived all the feral cat attacks, and the coyotes and coons, until now. He hasn’t been home in three days. I don’t feel him anywhere. It’s sad. And yet, that cat had the best of everything, and always a vet when he needed one, and his own garage to patrol at night, and a very full life at about 17 years. He was pretty sassy and held his own with the dogs, who would bounce him occasionally. He gave ’em a snag her and there. Taught my daughter’s dog about cats by sinking his claws deep into her nose the first time she tried to mess with him. She backed off and shook her head, her eyes watering. Cats are sharp.
I loved this cat. He was a classic tiger cat, independent as could be. We had an arrangement. I fed him, rescued him when necessary, and he kept the mice to a minimum. He was also known to leave the pants section of a lizard here and there. A snack for me, I suppose. He would come into the house on cold nights in the winter and sleep curled up by the fire, a yawn and stretch in the morning and back to work. He was quick and rarely missed his target. He was impressive. I miss him. I doubt I will ever know what has happened to him. He was getting a bit blind and he got pretty skinny last winter, despite the canned food and fish he enjoyed on his perch in the garage. William. Will for short. The little Wm. on his head etched in cat stripes. He would scratch you in a heartbeat if you messed with him. You would ways want to know where that clawed right foot was when you rubbed him the wrong way. He was very discriminating when he snagged you, too. Just letting you know he knew exactly how to put that hook into the top of your hand. Look you right in the eye as he did it, too. He was in charge of the relationship from the beginning. Liked my lap on a cold morning in the yard with a cup of coffee. Scratched the leather sofa a few times when I wasn’t looking, and got me in trouble with my husband, who is allergic to cats. Or so he says. I’ve seen him pet the rowdy cat, and put him out without ceremony once in awhile when Wm. got in the house without permission. Ed was fearless handling him. I had learned the hard way about picking him up when he was bent on that piece of fish skin in the dogs bowl. Cats are fast, and sharp.
Sure going to miss him. Thanks for gracing my life, Willie Kitty.