Saturday, March 26, 2016

MASTER GEORGE

Taos Veterinary Clinic’s office called yesterday to say that George’s ashes were ready for pickup.  A jolt went through my body at the reality that our George could now be merely a box of grey ashes. If only I could rewind the two years that he lived with us, but alas, time surges on in only one direction like a powerful unrelenting wind and our will is no match for its force.  

My Desk Companion 
George was (is) a strong spirit. Of course he was a cat and yet he had many uniquely George traits that added to his charm. His intelligence and curiosity was sometimes problematic. There were many things we had to be careful about leaving unprotected because George would figure out how to get into almost anything and find what we didn’t want him to have. When he first came around our home, I called him Squeaky because he didn’t really meow he made a sound like a rusty hinge. Somehow, I don’t remember when, I began to call him Curious George because he was compelled to explore everything. He was also fascinated with running water and followed us into the bathroom if we let him, and would jump on the toilet seat or sink to watch the water rush down. Sometimes he would put a paw in the running water, shake his wet paw and put it in the water again as if trying to understand what water was about.

When we first allowed him in the house, (actually we leave the front door open in summer) he decided he would move in and put our sweet, once feral cat Shadow in her place. He would occupy all of her favorite sleeping locations and chase her around the house. This phase didn’t last very long and soon they were best buddies. Shadow still finds his absence troubling and I wish I could explain it to her. She is following me everywhere.

I’ve wondered if George might have been a hybrid because of certain traits that were unlike most domestic cats. He didn’t lift his tail high in the air as he walked in front of us the way most cats do, or lift his tail like a flag when following us. He carried his tail low like a tiger or leopard and he had a rangy shape. He was a big boy and weighed close to 20 pounds before he got sick. He loved people and his throne was the end table close to the door where he could greet people as they came in. He had no fear of dogs, which was probably not a good thing, but somehow he got away with it. Our son Corey has a boxer, lab, and something else mix that George thought he had a right to dominate. Fortunately, there was no face off, since this polite dog, Mini respects our hospitality. The closest she came to attacking George was once when Corey petted George in her presence. This was totally unacceptable; she quickly told George he was out of bounds with a deep throated woof.

I miss George very much but there is an unusual state of spirit that moved over my senses since he left his body and left an empty place in our home. It isn’t a replacement but a light form that shines where his presence was. I am somehow able to see and feel the world differently with sharper eyes and more sensitivity. Old conditioning makes me falsely cautious about giving an animal so much credit for influence but there is definitely something more than memories and grief. He has left his light form in our world.

 "..You and I shall smile together, so long as our two forms appear different in the Maya-dream of God. Finally we shall merge as one in the Cosmic Beloved…” said Paramahansa Yogananda at the passing of his master, Sri Yukteswar.

 Master George by his simple beingness renewed my awareness of unity with all who live and struggle in this time/space world and then move beyond it.

Can a four-legged creature be a spiritual master? I believe so. They are not interested in our way of organizing the world to fit ego driven concepts both personal and social. Such abstractions have no use in their lives.  If we look at them as more than a familiar pet, a warm furry possession but the window into realities that we are often exiled from due to our self-induced alienation from actualities beyond the borders of our human abstractions. I suspect that is one reason we have animal companions.  The animal being within us needs lots of backup in this mechanical, cerebral world we have created for ourselves. The salvation of the planet may depend on we humans coming back to earth, certainly our own survival does. Although we haven’t found a way to reach our neighbors in space and thus triumph over the bonds of earth just yet, it will do us no good if we carry our alienation with us. After all, we are already living in space. The desire to conquer the universe may be just another version of “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence (galaxy).”