Monday, June 13, 2011
Rest in Peace, Felix
We found her last night at the bottom of the driveway. It was not possible to know if it was due to being hit by a car, having died a natural death, or at the hands of a predator. Given the risks of feline leukemia in outdoor feral cats, I thought it the more likely verdict, but there is no way to know, nor does it really matter in the outcome.
It was sad--it always is to me--and you would think I would be used to the comings and goings of stray cats and dogs since my hill seems to be a favorite dumping ground for unwanted animals. I am not used to it, though, and always feel a great burden for not having done more. I feed them, try to seduce them to allow human interaction, but once they are older and have not been socialized to humans, it is pretty much a task beyond my skills apparently. All I know is that they can eat regularly, have fresh water, shelter from the rain and cold, and not be in danger from the humans and animals who occupy this hill.
I have been sick for 3 weeks now: the final two weeks of my South Africa trip and the week since I have been home. It makes me feel more despondent than I might otherwise. There is always the toll that international travel takes on the body, and when I am in South Africa--in spite of the many wonderful experiences and the love and joy I experience there--there is an emotional toll as well. I simply cannot look at the vast need there and not experience a sense of overwhelming emotion--not so much because the need is there, but because humans have intentionally created it and many seem oblivious to its presence or feel any sense of responsibility that it is there.
It always is hard to re-adjust to being back home again, and things seem a little dimmer at times those first few days back in the routine. Couple that with illness that just doesn't seem to get better, and then finding Felix, and it makes for a sense of helplessness that I know only a few more days will heal. I think what hits me at times like this is that sense of mortality: that there are finite limits to what I or we can do, and that all of our days are numbered. I know it will pass, and soon I will be back standing in the possibilities that are all around us. But for today, I mourn.