Lessons My Cat Has Taught Me—Number 11: Sometimes Yes, Sometimes No

Portrait of a Cat

My last lesson was all about freedom and love. And so, I suppose, is this one.

This is how it usually goes. Loki comes in from his day outdoors between 9 and 10 at night. I give him his yummy wet food for dinner. We go upstairs. I brush my teeth, he drinks from the tap. I finish evening ablutions, he goes and inspects my study. I stretch out on my bed to watch Netflix or read.

And usually—MOST OF THE TIME—after 5 or ten minutes, Loki will hop up on the bed with me, curl up half on my shin or my ankle, and stay there ’til I turn the light out. Sometimes, though, he doesn’t show up. Or, if he does, he goes and makes himself comfortable on the bench by the window. I have no idea why.

Probably he just wants some quiet time to himself inside. Or I don’t smell right. Or it’s too hot.

Who knows?

All I know is that my proximity is not *always* desirable. Sometimes he just wants to be alone. There’s absolutely no use fretting about it or trying to cajole him otherwise. He’ll do what he wants to do, and all the calling and sweet-talking in the world won’t get him to hang out with me if he’s not feeling like it.

And in the end, once I truly grasped this about him, it was a relief. Loki does what he wants. MOSTLY he wants to be near me. And it’s the very rare night when he doesn’t *eventually* come snuggle up to my side when the lights are out and I am nearly or fully asleep. (I do worry a bit if he doesn’t… sometimes it’s a sign he’s not feeling well.) The key thing is: it’s not about me. It’s about that cat. It’s about how Loki feels and what Loki wants, and ultimately that has very little to do what I do or don’t do at any particular moment.

He has moods. Go figure. Don’t we all? (After all, I don’t exactly love it when he wants to suckle my neck and knead my scalp with his little scimitars at 5 in the morning.) Learning how to let my cat be himself has been useful to me in realizing how important it is to let other people be themselves: feel what they feel, want what they want.

And to know that, most of the time it’s not at all about me. Even (especially?) when I love them and they love me.

A Year Ago: Lessons My Cat Has Taught Me: Number 6—Purr

Cat nestled into extended legs.There are many things one can say in praise of cats: they are elegant, fearsome, independent, athletic…
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Exterior Lamp with Shadow

The new camera (and its high-resolution images) is making me want to redesign this blog. I think I’d like to have the images be a larger size on the homepage. It’s not as if I have anything else important to do.

A Year Ago: Metal Beach

Barge interior.There is a tide in the affairs of men…
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Miniature waterfall at Asheville Botanical Garden.

ISO 125, f/5, handheld at 1/10 sec., 20 megapixels.

This is not an image I could ever get out of my iPhone. Or indeed my venerable GF-1 without a tripod.

I wanted the new LX100, a gorgeous, ergonomically excellent camera. In fact, I bought one. But the sensor failed on me after fewer than 50 exposures. Back to Amazon it went. I debated whether I wanted a replacement, but ultimately decided for a camera that would genuinely fit in a pocket—a camera I’d have no excuse not to have on me just about all the time.

Enter the Sony RX100M3.

It’s a new era: I now have a carry-everywhere camera that can handle easily 80% of the kind of images I want to make. The zoom is a 24-70mm FF equivalent. It takes some getting used to having all the controls be menu-driven. That’s not my favorite, for sure. The trade off is that I can make choices with this camera that my iPhone could never offer. And although it was pricey, this is my first real camera purchase in 6 years. Technology moves so fast now, it’s possible that something significantly more compelling will show up sooner than I expect. But for now, I think this will do me nicely.


Corroded barge with markings.All I saw was the tasty corrosion and the artful strip of hanging metal…
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Wall Bumps, Cherokee

Concrete wall, post, shadows, trees.

Every now and then I make a photograph that I love well beyond normal. This is one of them. It charms the *heck* out of me.

Let me point out some of the reasons I adore this picture.

First of all, the wall bumps. Come ON. Who does that? And why? Whatevs, they are unexpected and adorable. I want to pop them like bubble-wrap.

Then, I ask you to note the green fence and the telephone wires, how they parallel one another. (You may need to look at the Gallery version to see these properly.) Most excellent!

Please also note the extremely vertical pole, with its extremely angular shadow—which is somehow mysteriously completed at the bottom right of the frame. Awesome!

Kindly note the green green of the grass and the evergreen bushes and the sere winter brown of the rest of the trees. It’s almost as if the seasons change from the left side of the pole to the right. Freaky!

And then there’s the shadow filigree of the vines hanging down on the wall, like inverted icicle Christmas lights. Evocative!

The whole thing looks like a concrete musical score to me. It’s both abstract and not abstract.

This photo was taken with my iPhone. I wish I’d had a better quality camera with me, as the detail is not what it could be. Still: luurrrrrve it!

A Year Ago: Orange Hospitality

Oranges in cut glass bowl with shadows.
How lucky I am to have friends who offer me hospitality…
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Heart of Light

Sliced end of romaine lettuce.

This is the time of year, experience tells me, when the melancholy really starts to settle in—the cold and the grey, the short day and the long, dark night, the holidays that can feel as if they make a mockery of the sadness in one’s bones. Everything I can do to forestall the slide is worth doing. And the simplest and most direct thing that works for me, I’ve found, is to be of service to someone else.

I was scheduled to serve as healing intercessor at the 5:45pm service at my church, The Cathedral of All Souls. I made my way there in the early nightfall, feeling glum but dutiful . Altogether we were five: four parishioners and the priest. We said the prayers, shared the bread and wine. I expected that I would not be called upon. But I was—among the five of us, two asked for the laying on of hands. One of the two was, in fact, in deep distress. By being there, by being able to offer what she needed, I felt once again tremendously privileged and deeply grateful to be present and useful.

You never really know what you have to offer until you show up for someone who needs it. Every day that I can offer something kind and helpful and constructive is a day worth getting out of bed for.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

A Year Ago: Lissitzky Light

Transmitted and bounced light on the wall.Things are a lot sunnier in the recent pictures than they have been in actuality…
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Wine bottles hanging from a winery tree.

I think I should plant one in my yard, don’t you?

A Year Ago: Oak River

Bark of an old oak tree.This grandfather oak had dynamic, swirling bark that flowed like a river delta…
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One of These Things…

Human Shadow and Utility meters on acid green wall.

…is not like the others. Yes, that’s me among the machines. I’m looking a little one-dimensional, don’t you think?

In other news:

My dear friend Sonali has a new house, which I helped her find and purchase. Finally, something useful about being a realtor!

My dear friend David has a birthday today! Happy birthday and many, many happy returns of the day!

I’m hoping for a little bit of breather, as there is lots of stuff around the house that needs tending to. I have to get my desktop computer fixed. My study has got to be reorganized into a more functional configuration. I need to set up the new real estate blog.

Before the end of the year, I intend to finish up the courses I need to get rid of my provisional status, and cover my regular CE for the year as well.

A Year Ago: Lessons My Cat Has Taught Me: Number 3—Clean Up!

Cat silhouetted against yellow walls.

Dishes no longer sit in the sink. Food has to be put away right away after meals…
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RAD or Key West?

Exteriors in River Arts District, Asheville, NC

Before our early snowstorm, we had more than a week of gloriously sunny autumn weather. I have hiking pictures to prove it, which I’m sure I’ll get around to sharing, eventually. Bob and I had a lovely dinner at Pizza Pura after marching around in Dupont State Park. The color scheme here put me in mind of the Keys.

Somehow I totally managed to overlook the anniversary of my move to Asheville. This must mean that I think of this place as my home now, and that it is no longer a novelty (or a just a place that’s not DC).

That’s probably a good thing, don’t you think?

A Year Ago: Valet

I seem to be on a mini bridge binge
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Water Tower, Greer SC

Water tower from below.

Bob and I spent Monday together. Much of the afternoon was spent walking in Dupont State Recreational Forest, and I have some nice pictures from that outing, but before we got there we made an errand run to Greer, SC.

As we approached our destination, I saw this water tower. I almost declared an aesthetic emergency, but we had a goal to accomplish. (We didn’t, but we tried, and it wasn’t our fault.) On the way out of Greer, I asked Bob to pull over so that I could attempt to photograph the water tower in a way that would explain why it so captivated me. I took 4 images trying to get it right. This was the last. I’m pretty happy with it.

A Year Ago: Lessons My Cat Has Taught Me: Number 2—Explore!

Cat peering out of a bookshelf.There’s a long bloody line carved into my right cheek, from my upper lip to my jaw…
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Bamboo Passage

Black & white image of path through bamboo and other trees.

Not in Japan, or indeed anywhere in Asia. Another autumnal Asheville fool-the-eye, this one from the grounds of the Biltmore Estate.

A Year Ago: Enclosure

Undeveloped riverside property at Carrier Park, Asheville, NCSome days, every little thing—no matter how mundane or derelict—is kissed with glory…

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