Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Cats! Always appropriate!
Happy Fourth, everybody. We're going to spend a quiet day at home, and then have dinner and watch fireworks with friends. One of the friends lives near the park where the fireworks will be, so we can watch them from her backyard. This suits me and Gary just fine, since we've grown less and less enchanted with crowds as we've gotten older.
I have to admit that I'm ambivalent about the Fourth of July. Part of it is that I don't like loud noises. Now that I live in the driest state of the country, which is currently on extreme fire alert, another part of it is worry about wildfires set off by idiots who want to blow things up by themselves. And although I'm profoundly grateful to have been born in a country with privileges like public libraries, indoor plumbing, and civil liberties (however besieged), another part of it has to do with my suspicion of knee-jerk patriotism, especially right now. Blowing things up and singing songs about "the rockets' red glare" seems cruelly ironic at the moment. I know it's a fine idea, in the middle of all our mistakes, to celebrate the many things this country has gotten right, but the Fourth still sends me into an acute state of cognitive dissonance. I can't help it; it's how I'm wired.
The priest who taught my preaching class once told us that she was deeply uncomfortable with American flags in church. She believed in separation of church and state, and also believed that patriotism too often becomes a form of idolatry, not to mention divisive us/them thinking. The Gospel calls us to care for all people, regardless of nationality; the baptismal covenant calls us to pledge allegiance to Christ, not to a particular set of geopolitical borders. She was as grateful as I am to be American, but her first loyalty was to the cross, not to the flag, and conflating them struck her as a distinctly dangerous enterprise.
It is, of course, one of the benefits of being American that I can even say these things. I don't for a moment want to minimize that.
But, as you can surely tell, I'm really bad at patriotic pieties. So let's retreat into cute pictures of cats, shall we?
Here's a feline still life. It's very unusual to be able to get all three beasts in the same shot; it only happens when they're sleeping or comatose, as they are here.
I have to say that I've become a big fan of the digital camera, which allows you to take (and erase) lots of bad shots without wasting film.
Here's Bali the Beautiful. Doesn't he have pretty golden eyes? I like this picture because there's some decent contrast; he looks like an actual animal, instead of a black furry blob. Harley and the Figgle are much easier to photograph, because they have clear markings.
Although this set of shots included a lot of bad ones of Harley, who kept moving!
Exhibit A: Blurry shot of cat grooming himself. Quoth Gary: "It's not out of focus: it's art!" And I like this picture because Harley looks so irascible, as if he's flipping us the feline bird.
I should try to come up with a cute caption for this, but I'll leave that to my readers.
Here's noble Harley, posing on the ledge that separates Gary's loft study from the staircase. I took this picture to show how his fur hangs over the edge, which I always find particularly adorable.
But hey, I'm his mom, so I'm biased.
Sometimes he lies completely flat on the ledge, looking like a flatcat. I didn't get any even remotely good pictures of that, though.
This one just cracks me up. He looks like a tribble.
The caption for this would be something like, "Oh, you're going downstairs? You're going to get me yummy treats? So what's taking you so long, and why are you pointing that little box at me? Silly human: that isn't a can of catfood! It isn't even a catnip mouse!"
And, saving the best for last, here's an ultra-closeup of Figaro. Gary loves this picture.
And here's my caption: "Look, ma! The sky's completely full of laser dots, only they're all kinds of colors, not just red, and they keep falling! Can I go outside and chase them, please please please? Or maybe I don't want to, because of the scary noises. If I stay here, will you keep me safe from the noises, and play with me with the red laser dot?"
Enjoy your fireworks, everybody!