Scaredy Cat, scaredy cat
run away when you see a rat
- image by J
It's only been one week, but he has changed.
"No longer civil," J concluded solemnly.
He is crouched by the tree, in exactly the same spot as the past few weeks - but his posture says that he will at any moment jump, scoot, spring into the drain - and away. Gone is the open, curious gaze. Maybe the past one week has taught the cat-man to fear losing one of his nine lives to some sick, nasty passer-by.
I guess fear and possession together make a two-edged sword. The more you possess, the more you fear losing any of it. Yet if you say you fear losing nothing, does it mean that there is nothing valuable enough for you to want to protect, love and hold on to? If this fear is so real, how complete or absolute can our possession be? The people, property, experiences, and experiences that become memories (hmm, where do memories go after they leave us?) we think we possess. And on a larger material scale, whole villages, entire cities. If we do not lose them to crashing waves, wars and hurricanes, then to the sure decay of moisture, mites, dust, fungus, viruses, fire, toxins, the sun. I chanced upon this from the L.A. Times:
Houses that have been sitting in floodwater for days face severe structural damage. In many cases, it may be cheaper and more realistic to build new homes than to try to salvage existing homes.
- Moisture weakens wood and can trigger growth of fungus and mold.
- Sediment and water collect in walls, short-circuiting electrical systems.
- A tilting wall or an askew roof threatens a collapse.
- Appliances suffer extensive damage.
- Contaminants migrate into household items.
- Interior surfaces, including flooring and drywall, are destroyed.
- Brick and cinder block expand and crack; mortar can dissolve.
- Pressure from water and soaked earth can crack or lift the foundation.
- Insects and other organisms breed in standing water.
Elizabeth Bishop gave good advice in a poem to "lose something every day". This way, we woudl get used to it. Because the truth is, like it or not, we do lose or risk losing something every day. At the very least, we shed time and tired cells (oh, sweet fruity youth!).
Yet no matter how much or little we have lost, or if we were numbed to it, it is probably still hard to respond like that man Job. Job, though having lost everything, could still declare this: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
I am not sure I have Job's faith yet when it comes to loss.
Almost a year ago, J's health report gave birth to a fear. We joked about the "abnormal" numbers in the report, calling J's liver foie gras. But for me at least, the joke was just to cover up an anxiety whether something more serious lay behind that diagnosis. It's an anxiety that has stayed with me since then. Last night, an aunt who has always lived with my family came back from the doctor's with news that there's a growth near her ovary. I prayed for her health, but it is still worrying. How I fear losing those I love! If only they all have nine lives...then maybe the fear would go away.