Thursday, June 22, 2006

Cat Narnia

Cat Narnia

This is the world Beyond The Cat Flap.

For my little furry feline friend, five years a city flat-cat with no knowledge of grass or butterflies or the difference between sunlight and shade, it is a Whole New World.

I think she must feel like she is stepping through the back of the wardrobe ...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch we had a heart thumping afternoon as Ruby decided to go on an adventure of her own. Missing for a good couple of hours, I have yet to hear the details of her excursion from her, but am simply overwhelmed with gratitude that she returned safe and sound. Sauntering up the steps to the house with a big grin on her face and no idea what all the fuss was about. Now I am fighting internal battles between my paranoia and her freedom. I think more training is required ... Ruby won't mind - training means cheese and crispy bacon!

I popped in to London this afternoon for a meeting. I am struck by how the perimeter has been redefined for me. Suddenly, Clapham Junction is not London - for it has been re-boundaried as the world beyond the ticket barriers at Waterloo station. As we sat outside the platform waiting for our turn, the policeman's hat that is St Paul's appeared from behind some seedy looking prefab huts. I could have cried. I wanted to get off the train, go straight to the city and hug every building I recognised. My new horizon is beautiful and breathtaking, but only in recognition of the familiar did I realise how un-nerved I still am by these foreign territories.

Still, the assimilation is underway. Walking back by the river this evening I even recognised a pink-stained white pidgeon ... incongrously pecking amongst a couple of dozen ducks, resting on the bank in the shade of a willow, with their beaks tucked right in. Are they sleeping? I am never quite sure. Perhaps it is a huge waterfowl game of hide and seek? It reminded me of something a friend of mine says - people talk about how great it would be to be a bird, the freedom of flight and all that - but they just don't think about the preening. So true ... and something I could do with reminding of. I'm not prone to wishing I was David Beckham or Victoria Wood ... but I do catch myself looking at the lives of friends and colleagues and coveting their astounding strengths and talents, and often just their ability to appear so comfortable in their own skin. I forget that even the most well balanced and blessed human is not really charmed - we all struggle, we all have demons and shadows. Of course, that recollection makes the achievements of those around me more remarkable, not less so.

But - yes, next time my eyes glint green whilst watching my cat sleep blissfully through another day, I will try to remember the grooming, claw sharpening and spider-eating responsibilities that go with the job.

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