"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

where time stops still

I've been running non-stop for weeks on end, wondering why I can't be blessed with thirty hour days to another's twenty four. How is it possible that the post-it's stuck on my cabinets contain things like "Send money for teacher gifts", "Submit continuation baby pictures", "Complete awards banquet year end video" and the like?

There is much that is long over due but today ... today felt special. Inconsequentially so and yet special.

And so ... those things wait.

I have a barn. And I have a cat. She's not much to look at and not particularly skilled as barn cats go. But ... she's gentle and she's kind and Eliza spends some days following her to the ends of the earth.

Early morning yesterday, I sat in phone conversation with a friend as Eliza traipsed night gowned, boots and frowzy haired off to the barn to say her good mornings. She emerged with a simple, "Calli has kittens climbing all over her .... " and with that I closed the call and hurried to take a peek.

The cat was amiable .. as much as any mother in child labor may be. We shared a sad moment over a still born and another in trust as I turned her back to the living needs and away from her forlorn loss of the one.

She's a young cat. Research tells me that young cats often don't make very good mothers. She allowed my glove-handed guidance to assist in discovery of the feeding process. She was a quick learner and motherhood began to flow naturally.

I sat in awe.

I'd been a young mother once too. Some might have thought the same of my inexperience.

I busied my afternoon in tidying the barn whilst keeping a distant eye out to ensure her attendance to the helpless infants. Bales were stacked, cages moved, feed bags hauled. I swept, I straightened, I removed.

The barn remained hushed and dimmed amidst my gentle declutter. She remained in her corner oblivious to it all. Completely enraptured with her little ones.

For her ... a simple cat made mother in an instant ... she stood where time stops still.

Today was my fortieth birthday.

Many beloved friends inquired over plans and offered celebration. In decline, I simply looked forward to a day to regroup, tidy, and bring myself back to the top of the swirling, whirling life around me.

I awoke this morning with grand plans of shaking the cobwebs from multiple weeks worth of to-do's. Tackling all that awaited. Climbing the mountain of unfinished business.

Yet as my day unfolded ... one moment to the next ... I thought of our dear Calli.

And brushing the busy-ness aside, I conscientiously allowed time to stop still.

I savored a breakfast made by little hands, the comsumption of which was proudly scrutinized by anxious to please faces.
I breathed deeply the aroma of the week's baked bread.
I felt lulled by the hum of the dryer.
I soaked in the warmth of the day's sunshine on green grass to infantile laughter.
I wrapped myself in the softness of a naptime little girl sandwich.
I read words from books that came to life.
I hugged with intent.

And just for today ... all else swept aside like a cat who only just discovered these joy's ...

I stood where time stops still.


  1. Our (also young) cat had kittens when the triplets were probably 3 or 4. I remember being so incredibly JEALOUS of her. She handled 7 kittens (and then through a twist of fate fostered 2 more) with such grace and calm. Much more than I had with three babies. Of course she only did it for 6 weeks, and then she started staying away for days at a time, and I'm still going strong at it 12 years later. But still, I envied that calm...

  2. Happy Belated 40th, Marlowe! Sounds like a perfect sort of day, in a way.

  3. Oh thank you for posting this. It was really beautiful. I could see and smell the inside of the barn. A miracle :)