Still Looney

Dogs barking as usual. Traffic sounds whooshing through the pines like fake wind.

Suddenly my neighbor drives up and, headlights ruining my exclusive and private affair, parks his truck in his driveway-- thereby illuminating me in the back yard, his engine still running. He just sits there in the car, headlights still on me like an eclipse of the sun, oblivious to that which I am looking heavenly toward.

Of course he doesn't get out to watch Nature's rare offer. After siting there a while he'll just shut down the car, grab his keys and run with them jingling into the night air, and duck into the incandescent security of modern man (called a house), forgetting his roots like everyone else.

Oblivious to the show. Like so many people in these trying times.

As I gaze into the now dull red sphere, I wonder how much is happening on this rock beneath it at this very moment. Death, for one thing. War. Pain. Suffering. But good things too, like new babies and teenage love. I call some friends to tell them to go outside but they are all either busy or not answering.

Oh well, more for me.

Better than any TV show, Netflix rental, or even neighborly affair is this drama unfolding above me in the sky as I write these words. A total lunar eclipse. The last one now 'till 2010 apparently. I just came in from watching theater of the sky's ballet movement, and it was the best SciFi ever. Even the passing clouds were in on it. As I gazed into blackness, a ruddy disk whose previous performances spawned so many archetypal stories throughout history, was beatifically bookended by Saturn and Regulus.

This is special sky tonight!

Regulus is Latin for 'prince' or 'little king'. The Greek variant Basiliscus is also used. It is known as Qalb Al Asad, from the Arabic قلب لأسد or Qalb[u] Al-´asad, meaning 'the heart of the lion'. This phrase is sometimes approximated as Kabelaced and translates into Latin as Cor Leonis. It is known in Chinese as ??十四, the Fourteenth Star of Xuanyuan, the Yellow Emperor. In Hindu Astronomy, Regulus corresponds to the Nakshatra Magha. -- wikipedia

Night winter full moon brightness overtaken by a chance alignment in heaven.

If you think about it, all that orbiting going on up there night and day ... we are all totally oblivious to the wonder of it. Motion we do not feel: The sun is busy moving across the sky. The moon too. Every day. And night, which is really day somewhere else. The stars seem to move around. And then once in a while it all lines up. Eh, but nobody watches any more. In fact, in some great cosmic mockery, people all look at things CALLED watches instead. Hehehe.

The Earth's orbit and the moon's -- these are ellipses of routine. And yet, in this rare aligning of gods in the Great Empty Space, the Hidden Mover plays his Great Show in the Sky with the very light and shadow on which we build "good" and "evil." From Out There. All the full moons you have ever seen mean the sun is simply out of your human view now, yet shining on some other part of the globe while you are in darkness, yet still warming the closely distant face of the moon as well.

The benevolent Light.

But not tonight. Not now. How her face is Red! Its shimmering has been blocked and reddened for a while by something called Chance. We call it that, but I wonder if it is all that random. Alignment of three bodies is surely a plane, right? And there again the joke - people will gaze upward at a plane. Mostly, because it makes noise.

If only this eclipse was noisy, I think to myself. Maybe more folks would really stop for a minute, crane their necks skyward, and look out into the eternal moment rather than to their past or tomorrow, and ponder the greatness of it all.

It could do us all a bit of good.

Of Harbingers and Goodbyes

Many say I'm superstitious and some will say a kook, but when a sparrow flew into my house the other night (for a second time I might add, just to bring the message home), I just knew it was a sign. An old tale is it signals a death in the family when that happens.

And, it did.

Today we had to put our beloved pet, Tallulah, down. She was a 10-year old fat black cat who was the most lovable companion and squeezable of true friends. It was a very sad morning, and it's going to be a tough weekend of empty spaces. She's been there from our return from Los Angeles in 1997 all the way to the Mason Dixie line a few years back. Born in a South Attleboro trailer park (how she had the railroad-track moxie in her from a kitten!), she quickly came to be the spoiled-rotten royal daughter of two queens living in West Warwick luxury.

We had to drug her on the drive South. I only gave her a half of the pill, and for several hours she had one drunken eye. It was hysterical and precious as she fumbled all over the back of the PT Cruiser on the way down here, acting all Dean Martin out the window.

An indoor lioness without claws, Keeten (that's our nickname for her) basically thought she was one of the pups. Always right there begging for scraps with the other two, her little bell around her fat neck ringing with every elephantal step. Heh. I will miss that heavy stride. You should never hear a cat walk, but you could hear her pads hit the floor let me tell you.

Her sickness though has been rather quick. We knew it was coming and that somehow makes it tougher. For the last month she hadn't been eating really. Not her usual jelly-bowl belly self. Not going in her catbox either. Her personality was certainly there, but her cry became weak and faded and she would only walk a few feet before plopping down for a rest. We took her to the emergency room last week to be sure.

After X-rays and bloodwork and antibiotics all week, she didn't fare much better. She sat all day and peered out the window. I knew in my heart of hearts it was time. We had late-night talks, her and I. I asked her if she was leaving, and she squinted up at me a couple of times. How she purred and purred though! As if happy. As if knowing the game was up and real living would begin soon. The porch has a full-length window door where she laid all day, peering out. If she were an outdoor kitty, she would surely have trudged off to the woods to die in grace, as all felines somehow hear the call to do.

But Miss Thang sat on her royal red cushion behind the glass and peered out at the birds and wind, night and day. Until this morning.

We took her to the clinic first thing, and somehow deep down all three of us in the car knew it would be her last ride. Her cry from the pet carrier in the back seat was there, and penetrated time, because it had grace within it. And love. More consultation and more bloodwork delivered the news. The very caring lady vet gave us two choices no human should ever have. The prognosis was surgical, medical maimery or sweet peace. How we both cried, oh my. But as she lay on the cold silver metallic table, I know her rolling over and purring like a small plane right to the end meant she was not upset with us; that she knew it was time to say goodbye.

But of course, I just couldn't squeeze her hard enough to believe her at the time. Our tears fell openly onto her black fur and wet it with our desperate love, and she didn't even flinch. At one point, she even reached out her paw to me as Bobby held her too, and I know she was reaching out to say something beyond human words. Of course I am heartbroken, as is Bobby. But the cards and times are all played out. I understand she is at rest, and did not go alone while we were not at home to be with her. And I understand there is a purpose to it - one I may not yet recognize but know will profoundly mean something later in reflection.

I understand that harbingers and signs are real if you watch for them, and peace and grace come in very small packages. Like little black kittens born in trailer parks.

Like little sparrows caught in my room.