Noll: The Art of the Nap

Napping can be viewed as an art. Performance art. Collectively, napping is a body of work aesthetically perfected by cats.

Allow me to enlighten the uninitiated.

Napping is governed by four fundamental principles. Taken separately, or in pairs, the art is adequately executed. Taken as the four pillared craft that it represents, napping is a beautiful contrivance beyond cunning. It is sheer genius.

A cautionary note - Napping is best suited to those who practice the art with regularity, passion and purpose. Hereupon are the four tenets:
  • First - Location, location, location

  • Second - Ambiance.

  • Third - Secrecy

  • Fourth - Longevity

Noll's Disclaimer: To avoid embarassment, poseurs should never attempt the art. It is, however, perfectly acceptable to marvel and delight quietly whenever you encounter a cat performing his art.


Noll on Winter's Progress

My Own and I are as pilgrims, slowly progressing through this journey called winter. Though January's thaw has come, indeed, the progress creeps.

Today, along early evening, the loud cracking of the ice-encrusted snow disturbed the silence causing canines to bark and Tiggy to wake in startled confusion. Melting, freezing, melting, freezing. The sparring dance of earth and sun has begun.

Yes, begun - this ending of the darker days. Morning comes a trace earlier whilst dusk enters a little later. The days grow at either end.

I search out the day lit window. The snow reveals traces of creature comings and goings. Tracks zigzag across the ground. A sparkling white landscape spreads before me, with one change.

Where once the distinct footprints of rabbits, deer and possum resided, now unremarkable spaces pot mark the snow. Melting, freezing, melting. Winter knows its hold is breaking.

And in the trees, the buds that formed last fall seemingly increase in scope and importance. Day by day winter wavers.

Earth's pilgrimage, like ours, is incremental yet we feel earth's progressive tilt back towards the sun. Anticipation is a welcome state. We grasp it like a rail, slowly pulling, leaning ourselves into the blessed sun. The warm, blessed sun.


Photo by A.Szabo
Noll: Why She Loves Us

Nurturing is learned. It is a truth. Blessed are they who receive unconditional love; especially children and pets. For the nurtured grow up to love unconditionally. They seek, find and hold onto God's creatures. They love long after their loved one is gone.

My Own was not yet 3 when Spotty became family. From the onset, Spotty owned her heart. He was her first love.

Things to remember: Mild-mannered, gregarious, Spotty loved to roam the fields of Maple Ridge. For him, happiness knew no bounds like a fragrant field full of birds, mice, and rabbits or a long lap from the creek. For her, gathering flowers in his safe company made the sun shine brighter.

On more than one occassion, Spotty's wagging tail stung like a whip. Such was his joy. One chase and one encounter with a car was lesson learned. He helped hunt Easter eggs. He played tireless ball. He patiently waited under the patio table during midsummers eve dinners. For watermelon rind, he would slobber uncontrollably.

Sometimes, when sister and brother went off to play, My Own lingered. Sitting on the brick flower box, she stroked the car scar above his eye, touched his soft ears. Her companion when no playmates were around. A confident who liked nothing more than to have his ears lifted and whispered into; especially the one with the little white spot on the underside. A patient friend who wanted nothing more than a pat on the head and a biscuit, please.

Spotty was a good dog. His legacy unending.

My Own's Brother: In adulthood, he searched for a Dalmatian. The love he shared with Spotty, he later shared with Spot. It was unchanged and unconditional. Brother relived his childhood. In the fields of Maine, Spot romped at his side and Spotty tagged along in his heart.

My Own's Sister: In the gentle chamber of her heart, Spotty's love dwells. It has transformed sister's rustic home into a haven for homeless cats, rescue dogs, horses. Ducks, geese, a goat, rabbits all have passed through and found the limitless nurture in her soul.

Spotty was 12 when the tumor undid him. Refusing to eat. To drink. My Own whispered "Please, Spotty," into the ear with the little white spot. His brown eyes responded with love. But he broke her heart, nonetheless.

This is why she loves us. The truth is black and white. It is Spotty: the dog who opened her heart to love, to lose, and to do it all over again.


Noll Tells Tiggy's Tale

Brother Tiggy is the yin to my yang.

Where I was aggressive, focused and adventurous exploring beyond the hiding place chosen by our mother - and as a result, discovered - Tiggy reposed tranquil and diffused in a plastic pipe by the evergreen bushes.

When My Own’s daughter spied and vocalized my presence, My Own did not hesitate to snatch me up. She had been feeding our stray mother for several days. My Own had not correlated our mother’s ravenous hunger to her nursing state.

But my sunny yang, made her think. There had to be more kittens. When the snow fell, she left a box with a blanket for our mother. She checked it every day. It took her a week to befriend mother and fleetingly glimpse brother. Timid Tiggy’s yin made him recede into the drain pipe whenever My Own approached.

Meanwhile, I was being spoiled, nestled cozy and warm a few feet away.

My Own persisted. She coaxed. She cooed at our mother. She stayed with the food and talked while mother ate. All the while, My Own prayed for the drain pipe kitty to inch forward. It had taken five days of waiting.

I heard My Own’s approaching steps to my warm and cozy place crying “I have the orange one.” Our memories of one another still held. Joyfully, we fell into the other, a tangle of limbs and gaping mouths.

To this day, Tiggy sits on heated registers. He huddles on My Own’s lap at night. He snuggles up to Uncle Keaks. He monopolizes the sunlit southern exposure in the kitchen. When I look askance, My Own reminds me, “Tiggy has cold bones.”

So, my yang obliges his yin; uniting our life forces in the ebb and flow of our opposite natures.


Noll: What "Finicky" Really Means

Ever since recorded time, we have been called “finicky” No doubt, even you might have tossed out the word to one of your own. So, what does “finicky” really mean in relation to a cat? Allow me to explain.

Scenario: You open a can. Perhaps a pricey salmon pate or a succulent chopped beef and gravy; only to have the object of your affection dip its nose, sniff and brush off both you and your offering.

Your Response: “Finicky” you say to the pointed tail that recedes from view.

Our Muted Response: HA! We toy with you. And, the game is delicious because, you do not know.

Fancy’s Real Meaning: We are not so much “finicky” as master players. You have just been played! Forget the snub. The warm-hearted, and most of you are, will acquiesce. You will open another can.

And, in our own time, we will eat both.


Noll on Climbing Trees

To climb a tree is a simple task: animal limbs encountering tree limbs.

But, from ground level to the level of squirrels, eagles, pirates and Peter Pan, it is this small feat that set cats and, some humans, apart from all others.

My Own, in her childhood, spent many a day reaching up into the apple tree of her one true friend. On their living perch, they chatted the way girls do, spied on siblings, giggled, and ate one too many green apples. But oh, so high they were. They were daring. They were acrobatic. Beneath the leafing canopy, they were undaunted.

Incredible, how a mere three feet can change the world and open perspectives.

I know this. I too have climbed trees and soared. We cats, like little tomboys, are drawn to height like a sunflower draws to the moving sun. Oh, true and magnificent ‘height’ where reality and the sublimed converge. Intoxicate us!


Noll's View on Insects

In my opinion, insects serve one immediate purpose: to succumb to my will. Insects exist solely for my amusement, sport and sometimes a light snack.

This is not to say I don't comprehend how others view Insecta; logically, scientifically, fancifully or otherwise. This is merely to point out the folly in projecting any meaning beyond their purpose. Put them into verse? Are you kidding? Put them in my mouth - absolutely!

Consequently, when My Own ventures into the realm of arthropodic whimsy, there, I must leave her.

Images of Insects

I. “Webbings”
Duskly spun
Silk spider looms
Harp air-whisper sirens.

Luring into net-laced doom
Four wings
To grant survival.

II. “Consider”
A caterpillar
is a winged ballerina
in disguise.

III. “The Gift”
has given the humble bee
the gilding gift
of a king:

with each soft touch –
fruit ripens,

with every stealing kiss –
nectar flows.
Kareen 1/2009