The theme for the Photohunt today is “memorial.” I’m sure that we will see many, many war memorials from all sorts of countries in this day’s offerings. I will never forget my visit to the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, and how incredibly powerful the experience of going there was: walking down into the black marble lined wound in the earth, finding the boy’s name from our high school who died over there, noticing the offerings at the site, watching the other people there. I cried for all the dead boys, immolated on the pyre of warfare.
My offering for this theme is a little more personal. I have several graves here in my gardens of the Havens. All of them are marked by some sort of memorial.
The first cat who died after we moved here was the perfect beauty, Cio-Cio-San, daughter of Tosca. Here she is inspecting a tame rabbit I rescued from the woods.
Cio Cio was not much of a hunter. Despite that, she was inveterate bird watcher, and her favorite place to watch birds from was lying under the bird bath on the patio of Jim’s parents’ house. So, when she died of cancer it seemed appropriate to mark her grave with a bird bath. This is Cio Cio’s bird bath, she is buried directly under it.
I like to imagine she enjoys watching the birds that are constant visitors.
Another cat that is buried on the place is a street cat I rescued from the grounds of Tan-Tar-A when I worked at the spa there. She was the last remnant of a family of kittens whose mother was hit by a car. When I caught her and brought her home, she had been living in the pump room for the pool, which she accessed through a four inch drain pipe. She subsisted by dumpster diving and was thoroughly traumatized by the pump maintenance guys, who regularly chased her out of her abode. She was always a very skittish cat, but she had the loudest purr of any cat I ever knew. When she first arrived at our house she was very shy, and every day she would find somewhere to hide in the house, and every evening when it was her dinner time we would play hide-and-seek until we found her, when we would gently bring her back to the little safe den we had created for her in the utility room and feed her. Eventually she stopped hiding, but by that time she had earned the name Heidi.
She was a proponent of feng shui, there was a certain spot in the living room of this house that was “her” spot, it was where she wanted to sleep and even if there was no chair there, she would occupy that spot, a need we discovered at Christmas time when we re-arranged the furniture to accommodate the tree. Uncomfortably in middle of the traffic pattern, she had to sleep in that spot despite the lack of any furniture there. We took pity on her, and always made sure that she had an appropriate roosting spot at the place in the room that she needed to be. She was a very lovely dilute calico.
She did not have a very long life, I’m afraid her early stressful kittenhood with inadequate nutrition impacted her immune system. One spring she contracted a virus and despite numerous trips to the vet, she died after a three day illness in our bed in the early hours of the morning, lovingly attended by both of us. She always loved to sleep in the front garden and so that is where we buried her. This is her grave marker.
Mike and Smokey are the boys that were the loves of our lives for the past ten years and beyond. I have posted many times about both of them, so I will not attempt to give you any ideas about what they were like. Feel free to search the archives for tales of them. I often compared their relationship to that of a Mafia Capo (that would be Smokey) and his Made Man (which would be Mike). Suffice it to say that after the proper hierarchy was established they became inseperable.
It only seemed right that when they died, they be buried together. Even though Mike died several years before Smokey did, I knew that they would be sharing space out in my garden, and that I planned for that eventuality. The stepping stone is one my mother made several years ago. Mike is buried under the flat stone in the left rear, and Smokey is under the stone just to the right of his.
The stone near the day lily marks the resting place of a great horned owl that I found by the side of the road where it had been hit by a passing semi truck as it flew low over the interstate, no doubt hunting for mice.
And so I conclude my memorial post.