Loving

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My friend Rob was in town, a single afternoon of play, and we went for the familiar, with heaps and tons of photos snapped at the Japanese Garden. I am going to miss these days, of him sending a last moment message letting me know he will be here in a day or two, and might I have an open schedule? Yes, of course I do. The timing is always perfect and our shared moments, too. We talk of the big and small and delight at all we find on the other side of the lens. I take him to tasty places and we mmm… and ahh… and laugh and marvel at the wonders on the radio.

And this time, our last in Portland, there was something of the magical. Walking back to the car after lunch, taking an unplanned route, a cat, as if it had been waiting the whole of the morning, bound down the sidewalk to greet ME. My heart leapt and I gasped, for it was no ordinary cat, but a near twin for my dearly departed Paris. She flopped at my feet, in the same way she always did, and I rubbed her belly and stroked her tail, marveling at the silkiness, the turn of the head, the tufts of fur between her toes. Paris. I love you, Birdie. I miss you, so very, very much. And she, in her way, told me she was happy, no longer in pain, running, jumping, flying even, into my heart, up to the sky. Forever and always.

And Rob, for his part, bore witness. Neither of us would have believed it had we both not been there. Perfect timing. Thank you, Rob, for coming, for being one of my oldest and dearest friends, for being here and there.

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Tears

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief. . . and unspeakable love.

Washington Irving

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We met her nineteen years ago, the runt of the litter, with giant ears and ever so much fluff. Smitten, we were, and instantly. Loving and cuddly one moment, wild and willful the next, she brought us much joy and many surprises. Like the time she caught a tiny mouse and held it in her mouth, without so much as a scratch of harm.

Her fur was silky and I could never get enough of its sweet scent, while constantly marveling at the wild riot of curls on her belly and the shock of fur protruding from between her toes. She meowed often, kindly and fiercely, depending on her mood, and purred even more.

She was our Paris, Birdie, Buttercup, Princess, Sassafras, Fluff and Stuff, our Favorite Girl.

She had gotten old, and it was more obvious with every passing day, the usual ailments of frailty, faulty vision, intermittent hearing (or maybe not, she was crafty like that), and others, too, more painful and not worthy of describing. So we decided it was time. Yesterday would be her final hurrah.

She ate well, with treats and tuna and an extra helping of dinner. She wandered the yard, purring, always purring, eyes closed to the sun and catching a multitude of scents on the breeze, before gazing at the birds and squirrels as they flitted and hopped. She dozed in her favorite spots and cuddled on my lap while I read. When the hubster came home, she curled up in her favorite basket and dozed some more before resting on each of our laps.

And then, this morning, my last picture with her. She smelled so good and meowed and chirped like no other kitty I’ve known. A quick needle prick by the deft hands of Deborah Rotman, a most compassionate and caring vet, and she fell quickly to sleep. I kissed her and held her again before the final dose was delivered. I cried.

I am crying now.

Bye, bye Birdie. I will always love you.

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What

I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.

attributed to:

Elizabeth Barrett Browning & Roy Croft

Sweet Luna! She’s eighteen months old now, walking, laughing, and spreading love wherever she goes.

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Friendship

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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