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Rest in peace, dear Lib

Lib was a beautiful cat with a slick grey coat mottled with patches of buff and orange. She was sleek and lean with long graceful legs and paws and a delicate pointed face and ears. She was so slender and graceful she reminded me of a model wrapped in an expensive, one-of-a-kind fur coat.

Her official name was Olivia Orange named after a character I was playing in a local play and for the orange patches throughout her fur; but, we always called her Libby or Lib. I first saw her at the dog groomer’s office where she was snoozing in a patch of sunlight with countless people and dogs walking over and around her. I thought she must be a pretty laid back cat to allow all that chaos around her without moving. Little did I know then that she was just displaying her stubbornness to claim her spot and refuse to move. I picked her up and she immediately snuggled into the crook of my neck. The groomers all cooed and awed and said she had never done that with anyone else. I thought they were just telling me that so I would adopt her. She was among a litter that had been anonymously dropped at their doorstop so I decided to take her home.

Unfortunately her personality didn’t match her outward beauty. She was independent, more so than the average cat, stubborn, sneaky, and haughty. She was the queen of the house and she let you know it. She would walk through the living room with her head held high, stop and survey the room, arch her back and look down her nose at the lesser humans and animals in the room, then exit with a swish of the tail. She was very seldom affectionate or playful, she just couldn’t be bothered with such foolishness when a secret cozy nest under my good blankets was waiting for her. She couldn’t lower herself to chase a silly feather at the end of a stick and don’t expect her to kill a mouse. I once had a mouse in the house which I managed to shoo into the enclosed porch. I then turned Lib out on the porch expecting it to be turned into mouse burgers quickly. They eyed each other for some time and when the mouse decided to make a run for it by going straight under her belly she jumped five feet into the air. The only time she lost her cool was in the presence of cat nip. Then she would roll and drool like a sloppy drunk.

However, she did have one outstanding trait—she could count. When we traveled we would leave enough dry food and water to last until our return. When we came back we were greeted with her catnip mice in her bowl—one for each day we were gone! I don’t know how she did it but she was always right on the number of days we were gone.

Lately, her age was beginning to show. Her fur stood on end and was not as neatly groomed, she slept more often, and she had even become docile. Her time had come so yesterday we paid a visit to the vet’s office. There they have a special room for those who have reached the end of their journey. It is softly lit, equipped with comfortable chairs and couch, a big pillow on the floor, and scented candles burning. The walls are lined with pictures of some of the others who have passed through this room. She nestled calmly in my arms and when the drugs were administered into her veins she looked me straight in the eyes and then went limp. There was no pain or restlessness—just peaceful, calm sleep.

Rest in peace dear Lib. Hopefully she is now sleeping in a sunbeam and running through fields of cat nip. We will miss her aristocratic touch.

 

Below is a remembrance of Libby that the vet’s office sent. I love the story of the Rainbow Bridge and, someday, I will have lots of furry friends to greet me when I’m ready to cross that bridge.

The Violet Meditation

A lonely violet growing among the ivy, how did you get there?

Did a bird pluck you from your bed and deposit you here to brighten my day?

Did you catch a ride upon the wind?

Or, are you there to point the way

To the beautiful flowers of May?

 

So pure and white, like a left over snowflake from winter

You hide among the green and white leaves of ivy

As if to say, I’m here today and gone in May

But, Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey

A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?

 

 

 

Translation:

If the words sound queer and funny to your ear, a little bit jumbled and jivey, sing:

Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy.

A kid’ll eat ivy too, wouldn’t you”

 

Note:  my apologies to composers Milton Drake, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston for taking liberties with their 1943 silly song Mairzy Doats.

 

Spring time at the pond:

Great literature must spring from an upheaval in the author’s soul. If that upheaval is not present then it must come from the works of any other author which happens to be handy and easily adapted. Robert Benchley 

April is national poetry month so in honor of that I will take a cue from the above quote and let the poets and my photographs paint a picture of spring.

Spring is when life’s alive in everything.

—Christina Rossetti

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Never yet was a springtime, when the buds forgot to bloom.

—Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

Sit quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.—Zen saying

An optimist is the human personification of spring.

—Susan J. Bissonett

Spring—an experience in immortality.

—Henry D. Thoreau

Dogwood trees tell the story of Christ’s Crucifixion

The dogwood tree is one of my favorite trees. It is one of the first trees to bloom in the spring, it has a graceful form and delicate white or pink flowers, and it comes with its own legend.

Growing up in West Virginia the dogwood and the redbud trees were always the first trees to awaken and herald the advent of spring. It was a welcome site to see bright patches of pink and white splashed against the barren hills. It is said that the flower of the dogwood tells the story of the crucifixion with the nail holes visible on the ends of the petals stained with blood. The flower itself forms the shape of the cross and the crown of thorns wreath the center of the flower. One cannot look at the dogwood tree and not be reminded of the great sacrifice of our Lord.

The Legend of the Dogwood Tree

In Jesus’ time, the dogwood grew
To a stately size and a lovely hue.
‘Twas strong and firm, its branches interwoven. For the cross of Christ its timbers were chosen.
Seeing the distress at this use of their wood
Christ made a promise which still holds good:
“Never again shall the dogwood grow
Large enough to be used so.
Slender and twisted, it shall be
With blossoms like the cross for all to see.
As blood stains the petals marked in brown,
The blossom’s center wears a thorny crown.
All who see it will remember Me
Crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree.
Cherished and protected, this tree shall be
A reminder to all of My agony.”

Have a Blessed Easter

It’s March Madness, and I don’t mean basketball

The weather has gone crazy, mad in fact. Like most of the rest of the country we are having an unprecedented heat wave here in Ohio. It is March and we have had over 80 degrees the past week and have set all types of records. Daffodils are blooming and the flowering cherry trees and other ornamental trees have burst into bloom overnight.

We have a weeping cherry tree next to our back porch and every year it greets me with its beautiful blooms on my birthday, April 8. Without fail it pops open and is a special birthday gift from Mother Nature to me on my special day. This year my gift came three weeks early. It is now in full bloom and it is only the third week in March.

My birthday tree blooming three weeks early.

 

Last March when I wrote about our weather and welcoming spring I said things like– the snows begin to recede…tender shoots of crocus and daffodils pushing through newly thawed soil…the air is brisk with a hint of warmth….

This year after an extremely mild winter it seems we have gone straight into summer. Today it was 85 degrees which is about 30 degrees above a normal March. This is June weather, not what we normally have in March. So what do you do on a day such as this? You grab a friend, have lunch on a patio, and spend a leisurely afternoon in an art and antique shop—then, grab a camera.

Mother Nature may have gone crazy during this mad, mad March but she sure is beautiful. Unfortunately, the pictures below can’t accurately portray the beauty of the world today.

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