She prances by me, her big belly swaying on her little feet, because I’ve let her have her way and go in to wake up her beloved, my husband. She doesn’t acknowledge that I “won” by keeping her away from him so he could sleep in on Saturday. She rejoices in the victory of running to climb on his chest to begin their morning ritual, secure in her belief that she is his one and only true love.
Kamala and I had a rocky beginning, and vestiges of it still exist six years later. She came to our back door when we moved into a new house, and because our guys had not had one critical shot, so I shooed her away. I’m not mean, and I love cats and critters in general, so when I say shooed, I mean shooed, as in, “You scoot now, go home,” with a flip of my hands in a normal toned voice.
Crap. Who knew she had been abandoned by the previous owners, and was a relative kitten? Who knew she was a sensitive soul, and that flip of the wrist, shooing her away, was enough to send her running from me forever?
Run she did, but she always hung around our house. We soon learned she belonged to no one, and took on the task of trying to get to know her. No way. She ran. We watched her season after season, catching her food, sleeping on a warm day on the oak branch, one eye always open just a slit. In tall spring grass we would see the tip of her tail and her ears, then a spring in the air that where we would see the whole of Kamala the huntress, then she was off to the trees to dine. We fed her and left water out for her, but I am sure the raccoons got it more often than she did, and was afraid they would ambush her too. We made her a very warm bed high in the rafters of the barn.
Four years later we were planning on moving to Portland. Jai was sitting at the screen door day after day calling plaintively. Occasionally she would come to say hello, and they would nose through the screen. (Mind you, this wooing of Kamala was short lived when she came to stay, and they bicker like old married fogies.) One day Mitchell walked out and called her as he often did, and she came running and leapt into his arms. He brought her in, and she was just in time. Moving day was not far away.
And now it has been years, and frankly, she has never quite forgiven me. It bothered me for a long time, and I tried to make up for it. This helped some, and we play, and she mostly is okay with me. But she has deep memory, and there is a part of her incredible survival instinct that says, “She shooed me away once, she could do it again.” This morning is such a morning, where I was up early on a day when we can sleep in, a rarity, and so I shooed cats out of the bedroom. Then I set out to hug and cuddle and treat them. Sammy and Jai say yes, and do not hold grudges. She looks at me like I am a serial killer.
I breath it in, and breath in all the fears of the world everywhere as I set the kettle on the stove. I do my penance as a scary person and work my Buddhist practice, tonglen. I breathe out safety for all the frightened sentient beings. Kamala is my constant reminder of The Fear in myself, holding onto fears, not letting go. She is the supreme wisdom dakini on my life, with her silly little white boots, long monster claws, and utterly feminine tail that flips like a girl whipping her ponytail as she stalks my sleeping husband.
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