I have friends who have linked recently on Facebook to news articles about the devastation and ongoing sorrow in Japan and who have almost apologized for it while doing so, as if to say: I don’t mean to bring the room down, but…. I understand why they do so. No one wants to be a Debbie Downer. Especially at the hoppin’, loud cyber-party that is the hyper-hypo* world of Facebook. (“At first, it felt like a comfortable, intimate gathering of people I actually knew. Now it feels like I’m sitting in the corner at a huge party, muttering a few feeble words now and then,” wrote Jama Rattigan in Her Blog Post In Which She Pondered the Pros and Cons of Facebook and Which I Still Remember. But I digress.)
(* And seven points if you got that early- to mid-’90s Saturday Night Live reference.)
However, I think we would all agree that this news event is somewhat of an exception. The destruction and loss over there on the other side of the world (from most of us) is unfathomable. And has been on our minds this week. All of us. So, like many do, perhaps I should say (and especially for a kicks post), I don’t mean to sound depressing, but… I will not, though. I know you’ll join me in taking a week to acknowledge the loss and declare our solidarity. That we are united in thoughts or prayers or thoughtful prayers or prayerful thoughts or Zen-like contemplation or meditating or holding your breath and crossing your fingers or whatever you believe.
Author/illustrator and designer Bob Staake created some art work this week that says WAY MORE ELEGANTLY what I’m trying to say all bumbling-like here. Above is We Are Japan. Below here is Sisyphus In Japan.
I thank him for letting me share those this week. I think both images are splendid and full of grace.
Please, this doesn’t mean you can’t share kicks, though. We’re here. We’re alive. Our homes did not fall down around us. We have our loved ones. And all those little kicks? They give our days their flavor. So, don’t hesitate to share them.
All illustrations are © 2011 Bob Staake and used with permissions.
As a reminder, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.
Well, there I am up there, asking you to share kicks, yet I don’t really have seven separate ones this week. My family and I had to say goodbye this week to our oldest cat, Gandalf — on his birthday, no less. He was fifteen—which, in people years, officially means Truly Extremely Exceptionally Flippin’ Old—-and he just sort of started slowing down and wasting away. We had to put him to sleep at the vet’s, but we all got to be there. My seven-year-old, my little philosopher, decided he’s either going to be reincarnated into a new kitten or he’s lapping up stardust milk on tuna clouds. Make that budding philosopher and poet. (Well, I mean, I’m quite taken anyway with the notion of stardust milk.)
I shared this picture on Facebook this week — but must have sat there an hour trying to decide if I should. It was probably taken about thirty minutes before he was put down. Private moment, in other words, not to mention an emotionally-spent one. But I finally decided that I wanted many of my long-time friends, who knew and loved him as well, to say goodbye. (“Loved him and his crooked, little eye” was my favorite response from an old friend.) I share it here today not to rack up condolences. In fact, after I birthed me some babies, I became an altogether different pet owner who doted less on her cats, though they’re all loved and taken care of. I share it here today simply so that you know how beautiful he was. And because this is my tribute to him. ‘Cause I have a blog and ’cause on Sundays at that blog I sometimes stray from talking about only books and illustration and just ’cause I can pitch kind words about him into cyberspace.
He was huge. (Five Stomachs, we used to say, would be his Indian name, if he had one.) He was slightly cross-eyed. He was goofy. He was loving. VERY, as in curl-up-and-sleep-and-purr-on-your-very-head loving. I used to call him the Feline Savior and say that when the Kitty Rapture came, all cats would instinctively head to our house to enter His fold and be a part of the goodness and mercy and all that. (What? I used to say it, but I never claimed it was actually witty. And, please, Christian blog-readers, know that I mean no offense and that this theologically addled yet affable agnostic is only trying to point out how obscenely sweet he was.)
And I got him as but a wee ball of white fluff years ago (when I lived alone and before I had my own family) during a difficult time in my life, a time of loss, and he was true and steadfast, if cross-eyed and not-exceptionally-bright. (He was simply unable to master some Cat-101-type tasks. As a Southerner, I’m required here to say “bless his heart.”) AND so terrifically loving and sweet to me every day since that time, and I’m not sure I always deserved that big, big love.
May he rest in peace far, far away from all mean dogs who chase and growl.
No, really. Even though I’m talking about earthquakes and the wrath of Mother Earth and deceased pets, I really do want to hear your kicks. What are your little and big gratefuls this week?