My four-legged family keeps growing. Funny thing is, I’m not really a pet-person. I’m much more at home meeting up with animals who are living wild and free, doing what they naturally do.
And so here we are…me and Luna, a black labrador puppy, and Lily, a once feral cat. The three of us are finding our way together, weaving our web as a family, clarifying our understandings of whose space is whose, whose bed is whose, whose food is whose, and who has her claim on me as her mama at any particular moment in time.
During the past couple years, through life challenges and transitions and beautiful happenings, Luna has been my steady companion. Most of all, she’s been teaching me about love.
Every cell of her being radiates love and her absolute passion for living. She gives and receives love in a free, unencumbered, exuberant, funny, pure and simple, ceaseless kind of way. Luna genuinely embodies Love. She has the gift of connecting Heart to Heart. Joy to Joy. Song to Song.
And human to human, we can relate this way too. It’s a natural thing, our organic way, too. Luna is a guide, in her wise canine ways, for how to be the love, how to live centered in love, how to naturally radiate Love that has no bounds.
Lily’s entry into our home began with her hiding behind a wicker shelf, then resting in little cubby holes in the kitchen, then claiming my office as her home. In this moment, as I’m writing, we are all hanging out together, a little circle of three. I’m sitting at the kitchen table. Lily is sleeping across from me on a bench beneath an open window. Luna is napping on a rug beside me, her marrow bone and chewy toy nearby. So peaceful and sweet. Contentment fills the room. We’re finding our way in the dance.
Lily has raised two litters of kittens while living outside. She’s a keen hunter, entirely capable of tending to her safety and well-being. She has let me know, more than once already, that worrying about her is a colossal waste of time. Lily is soaking up the TLC, having a home and a person, being well-loved and well-fed. When she sits in my lap and purrs, it’s hard to distinguish who’s giving and who’s receiving the caring and affection. I’m soaking up the TLC too.
One night, just a few days after Lily arrived, I heard her up on the roof. Seeing her face peering over the edge of the gutters, hearing her meow and meow, got me all wrapped up in a rescue mission. It was a long sleepless night trying to reach her without toppling off the step-ladder, trying to build her a makeshift ramp from the roof to a tree, trying to coax her down with food – all to no avail.
While pacing around the sandy land in the pitch-black dark trying to find a solid place to set my ladder, I saw a shooting star. I took a moment to breath it in and noticed Lily’s silhouette on the very top of the roof under the vast star-filled sky.
Even though I feared she was stuck, I couldn’t help but marvel at the extraordinary beauty. Here was this little cat at the highest vantage point she could find looking up into the brilliant and breathtaking sky. A bazillion stars were surrounding her. The arch of the Milky Way Galaxy held her in a cosmic embrace. She was a part of it all.
A fleeting thought rippled through my mind that I ought to sleep outside in my hammock. But I was in the midst of a serious rescue mission. No time to relax. No time for adventure and fun. I tossed and turned in my bed, hardly able to sleep, and periodically went outside to see if I could conjure up a more effective save-the-cat strategy.
At dawn, I felt even more determined to get Lily down. I needed to get her off the roof before the sun got too hot. I needed a taller ladder. I needed to be bold and just grab her, even if she didn’t like it, even if I got scratched.
The moment I opened the front door, Lily meowed and leapt from the roof into a tree, climbed down the trunk, hopped onto the porch, softly rubbed against my ankles, and peacefully walked inside. Time for breakfast! I just had to laugh, with relief, yes, but also at myself. There was so much more to the story than I’d been able to see.
Lily wasn’t calling for help. She didn’t want anything about her situation to be changed. Yet once I got entangled with fear and worry and my grand rescue mission, I couldn’t hear anything else.
When I replay Lily’s communication in my mind, this is what I sense she was really saying to me. Lily (standing on the roof, meowing loudly, looking directly in my eyes): “Look! Look! The planets! The stars! Our friends in the sky! Come join me! It’s magical! It’s beautiful! Can’t you see?”
In her wise feline ways, Lily planted the seed of a question to open my awareness and expand my point of view, to deepen my connection not only with her but with everyone and everything in the remarkable web of life.
She’s calling me to reach beyond assumptions and fears, to open my heart and mind, to feel and sense much more widely and deeply, to pause and take a closer look and ask myself: Am I really listening?