The Power Beyond
by Kim Cady

Everyday I wake up with hundred things to do; people to meet; schedules to be kept and the future to plan. Then something happens to make me realize all my scurrying about is just such a tiny portion of the activity on this planet. In one moment, my scurrying about could be stopped, stomped, blown away.

I know this sounds awful pessimistic, but, I say by realizing your place in this world and how quickly that place could disappear rendering you a mere blip in a few people's memories - you become stronger. When you realize that there are most definately much larger egos in this universe and powers that have no ego, only strength, cataclysmic strength; you become a better artist. No longer do you look only through your own mind's eye to create your art; you start to think about others. When you read the headlines in this chaotic world you shudder. Occasionally, you get to laugh and sigh at a new born kitten's picture.

By opening yourself to the tragedies and triumphs of the human spirit, you as an artist can only grow. Reaching out as a volunteer in a cancer ward, working with the Red Cross, even making an effort to get to know that curmudgeonly neighbor that hates your cat will help your art. Every snub, every kindness, every connection you make contributes to your catalog of images that run through your head when you are getting so close to creating that masterpiece that's not quite there yet.

On Friday, April 10th in Murfreesboro, TN, two lives were lost and hundreds more devastated by fierce and unforgiving mother nature. Tornadoes ripped the community apart, destroying property and lives. I heard the winds and saw the sky. We were having storms for a few weeks. You really never know when the "big" ones will occur. You have to ask your higher power to give you the courage & intelligence to get through one of those storms. I know you all face some fierce weather in your communities. Whether floods, firestorms, earthquakes, or hurricanes, mother nature is getting fiercer.

As we realize our options in repairing our world, using less, giving more... perhaps these monsters will abate some. Whether it's global warming or not - there is no doubt in my mind taking care to use little & enjoy what our earth has given us and giving back - we can live in a safer world. Tragedies occur - they always will. It's so important that we respect and care deeply for our planet.

I would like to take this moment to remember those in Murfreesboro who lost loved ones and their homes. In my heart I hope you will rebuild your dreams and put to rest those lost. Godspeed.

For Velvet
by Kim Cady

Jackson Browne, singer/songrwriter extrodanaire, wrote a song called "Song for Adam" a long time ago... the first stanza is:

"Though Adam was a friend of mine, I did not know him well. He was alone into his distance. He was deep into his well. I could guess what he was laughing at, but I couldn't really tell. Now the story's told that Adam jumped, but I've been thinking that he fell."

This weekend I had to put a little feral down. I called him Velvet, and thought he was female for the longest time. This tomcat hung around my deck for many months, with one other feral that I had neutered a ways back. He was a quiet boy, not blustery or full of the dickens as so many intact toms are. He slept occassionally in my "outdoor animal igloo" and came up for dinner almost every night. The funny thing was, he had a collar. So, hoping against hope... I thought when he left my house, he went home. He would never let me near him.

He kept showing up, sometimes dirty, like so many others, revealing that he may be sleeping in the woods behind my house and that the collar only indicated "former" people in his life. This last week was abnormally cold. It was freezing and in the teens. Outdoor kitties have it hard in this weather. They'll go up into cars, and in other dangerous warm places. On Thursday, a very cold night, Velvet came upstairs. I thought it was another feral, "Stumpy", that I had to take to the vet to remove his lacerated tail, (again probably from sleeping in a car - I'd rather think that than that his injury was caused by one of my species). I nursed Stumpy through that, very carefully (as he was pretty fiesty) for three weeks & then he found a way to freedom well on his way to recovery.
It wasn't Stumpy. It was Velvet... limping, tail down, with a very large lacerated testicle. I gasped... and groaned... more vet bills, trapping and long time careful rehab... oh well... The next night Velvet came up, looking worse, and I baited the feral cat trap with tuna. He didn't hesitate to enter. He was trapped in an instant & even with his injuries, made it known he was very unhappy with this turn of events - hissing & spitting with all his little might. Then he settled down. (I'm sure he was in great pain & sick).

Off to the vets for the work... and another huge credit card bill. The next morning, Dr. Judy finally called me at 12 noon. I had been anxiously waiting to hear our course of treatment. Well, there was none. Velvet had a broken tail, no feeling in his rectum, couldn't pee or poop on his own, severe infection, and fever. Even for a fully tame indoor kitty, this was very bad. Dr. Judy told me it would be best for him to be put down and out of his pain. There was no safe recourse.

I hung up & told her I'd call back... I hadn't had to make this sort of decision in a long, long time & felt that I had trapped this little one only to have to kill him. But, after talking with a dear friend, who had recently gone through a similar choice, I realized for Velvet - a life of pain, infection, and misery in the wild because of his paralysis - even if I could get him through a few weeks - was no choice at all. I made the call - and Velvet went over the Rainbow Bridge.
It was hard... friends come & go so quickly through our lives. Some to travel, to distant places, to death... they do go on... somewhere we can't see right now... and our memories of them preserve their spirit here on earth.

So, very much as Jackson Browne so eloquently wrote in "Song for Adam"...
Velvet was a friend of mine - but, I did not know him well.... and as I sit before my only candle, I think of his dark beauty and know he's back there in those woods basking in the warm sun - a spirit cat - and telling me he's alright.

'Belle Starr Watching' by Kim Yvonne Cady @2003

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