roll the bones

I find myself slowing down as I write this, fixing to say goodbye to this particular corner of the internet until January. There’s nothing I would have liked better than to feel calm and reflective while the year grinds down and the planet’s internal clock ramps up on the slope toward summer and sunlight. Instead, I have an internet security issue, a post-surgical cat who won’t eat and who doesn’t care that his antibiotics require something in his tummy, a collection of chessmen that do not add up to a chess set, and a to-do list a mile long. Oh. And a self-imposed deadline for the book, too.

This is the best shot I got. Seriously, he’s like a movie star without her makeup.Maybe I can get reflective next week. By then I’ll be into the new routine, and hopefully the cat will have a rumbly tummy that will have him attacking his crushed and waterlogged kibble with vigor. He has to wear a cone around his head to keep him away from his stitches. This is bad for photography: He’s embarrassed and will not look at the camera with it on, and it’s clear plastic, so you can barely see it. He came home from the vet without a single yowl, and calmed down when he detected that he was home again, a place where there is not the slightest indication, visual, auditory, or olfactory, of puppydog.

Something you never want to hear from a medical professional is “Never,” especially in response to “Have you ever seen anything like this before?” Maybe they’ll write his case up in a veterinary journal and call him Patient B; this is the kind of thing that makes you wish you’d given your cat an ordinary name like Fluffy so that, when disease-naming time comes, “Fluffoma” seems like the right thing to do. I always knew he was a special beastie. But he is just as affectionate as ever, pushing his head at my hand for attention and a good hard rub, and more, more please.

And then the chessmen. I will tell you more about them some other time, but here is something I’ll carry with me. We unwrapped them slowly, layer of tissue and bubble wrap after layer. I love spindly chessmen even though I don’t know how to play; I just like the look of them, and these are very spindly chessmen. Myron set them up on a board and asked if I’d take some pictures. I turned on the camera, got one shot, and then the battery died. Like my pumpkin baby back in October, it was a lucky shot. The whole image is good, but here’s the business end:

early 19th century, Nuremberg type—I’ve been corrected ;)This was a year my eyes were open for lucky shots of all kinds. Chance meetings with wonderful people, books chosen for their covers, story ideas emerging from the ether. The cat is sick, but cats get sick, and he is doing as well as can be expected considering we don’t know what’s wrong with him. Bodies are only slightly less mysterious than the universe is, and time, and existence. Next year is a gift already wrapped and under the tree; I have no idea what’s inside, but I’m giddy to know it’s there and waiting for me. Besides, I’m not quite done with this one yet.