A Walk in the Dark

Summer ends in a record breaking heat wave. 110° Fahrenheit, little humidity, it’s a dry heat. Sautillo-tiled patios hot enough to toast tortillas focus the temperature on the walls of the house threatening to melt its sunny yellow paint. Taxed by supporting too many air conditioners, transformers explode. Finally at dusk, open doors and windows invite the coolness of the night. Parched gardens enjoy a watering under the waxing moon. Wild creatures stave their thirst at unattended sprinklers. And Mickey takes a walk in the dark.


On Mother’s Day in 1986, my son cradling a black and white ball of fur announced that Mickey (like the mouse) was his gift to me.  Turned out that the tiny kitten should have been named Minnie, but my two year old son would not be thwarted. I’ve never been much of a cat person, preferring the amiable loyalty of a canine to the indifference of most felines. And Mickey fulfilled my expectations. Cute as a kitten, she tolerated my son, but was not keen on lap-sitting or prolonged petting. By the time we moved two years later, Mickey preferred to be outdoors hunting. Although she brought her kills to the doorstep, only the coldest winter night would force her inside.


The summer before my son set off for college, we moved again. This time deeper into the valley on an acre of land with a barn and all the requisite critters to keep one six pound feline very busy.  In the first year of reconstruction, putting in a pool, converting the garage into an office, planting half the acreage in flowers and herbs, Mickey was rarely seen, off exploring her new hunting grounds. But in September 2003, at the age of seventeen, Mickey moved in.


For the first time since kittenhood, Mickey insisted on using a litter box. She “insisted” by urinating on my one indoor plant—an orchid that hasn’t been the same since. I provided a litter box in the bathroom, but that’s not where she wanted it, so she kept using the potted plant until I moved the litter box next to the orchid. No more misses.


Then she decided to boycott the dry food she had eaten all her life. Without the supplemental hunting, she lost weight. Finally she settled on canned cat food, nothing special—she turned her nose up to the fancy senior cat foods—just some fishy smelling mush that she preferred to eat one teaspoon at a time.


Shunning the great outdoors, Mickey lost her athleticism and grew outrageously long claws. She knew better than to claw the furniture, but refused to use a scratching post, so for the first time in her life, she got her nails trimmed. By me. I do all the pet care. Feeding, grooming, training, picking up poo, and basic vet care. Before venturing into the medical field, my adolescent dream was to be a vet. And I have been blessed to own some of the healthiest animals. Could be my nutritional product I’ve been sprinkling on their food since 2003. Hey! Perhaps that was the change in old Mickey.


The first bottle of Genesis Gold® was manufactured in July of 2003. My original experiments on the nutritional foundation later dubbed—“Creation in a Bottle”—began in 2000. Outliving her pups, my Great Dane died at 12 ½. My Quarter mare did not succumb to old age until 35. And Mickey was changing her attitude at 17. Genesis Gold® not only optimized the health and wellbeing of my family and animals, it provided the necessary income to slow down my patient visits and start writing a book.


Mickey ignored my first attempts at writing a self-help healing book, but after I had a dream that formed the foundation for a fictional trilogy, she took to curling up in my lap. Not any old time. Only when I was in the muse. When I was creating. Oh and yes, when I was meditating about the story line, she would sit between my crossed legs.


Since I began writing LoveDance, I never had writer’s block. Mickey sat in my lap for hours every day while I typed. For eight months, I was in the creative mode with my black and white muse. My family commented on how friendly Mickey had become. Why was she always sitting on me? The first day, I sat to record my dream on September 16th, 2003, the front door blew open. It felt like the muse blew in. And Mickey jumped into my lap. During the creative process, the door mysteriously blowing open heralded some of my best works. And Mickey was always there.


Until I began editing my work. She would have no part of that. So for the two years, I dove into the publishing world, editing, researching, formatting, Mickey took to sleeping on the couch or under a sunny window. Like an old lady, she seemed to shrink and become more frail. Her eyes clouded with cataracts and with most of her hearing gone, you could walk up to her and she wouldn’t seem to notice unless you touched her. My husband and I would take turns checking on her to be sure she was still breathing. But last summer when my daughter begged me to write the prequel to my novel, Mickey climbed into my lap once more.


A couple days ago, I lay besides her stroking her rough fur. Nearly 21 ½ years old, what is that in cat years?  A 120? Like a senile old lady, she often emerged from bed with her hair sticking up strangely. She had become haphazard at grooming herself, so I plucked the fur balls from her neck as she purred in gratitude. Silently I wondered how she would die. And I had a vision of an elderly Indian walking away from the tribe and into the wilderness.


Last night, Mickey did just that. She took a walk in the dark. And she did not return.


My husband and I searched the property. In tears, he admitted that he wondered the day before about her death. I assured him that his thoughts did not create this reality, yet he did perceive her imminent passing. So did I. We both knew a four pound ancient kitty could not survive the night. Defenseless, she was probably taken by coyotes. In fact my husband saw one while searching for her in the vineyard and the coyote looked at him as if to say, “I fulfilled my purpose as did she.”


Our son took the news surprisingly well; he had been preparing himself for this call since he left for college five years ago. She outlived all of our expectations, yet I am not finished with my life’s work. For without Mickey how will I ever finish this trilogy? This morning, I set my intentions to find my muse again. Instead of Book Two of LoveDance, I thought of another story I planned to write. One about Guru Pets. Those animal companions that bring us inspiration, that help us along our soul paths. Animals like Mickey. So I turned on my laptop and sat down to meditate. And the door blew open.


 In vain, I looked out hoping she would be there. Instead, I felt her energy curl into my lap as I sat to write this story. In form and now in spirit, Mickey is still my inspiration. Thank the Divine for Guru Pets.

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