Well, folks, I’m off to Colorado tomorrow morning. So don’t be expecting any blog entries next week because, though my dad is taking his computer, I suspect he won’t let me at it long enough to type an updates. I am bringing my good old paper journal, however, so if I do end up writing anything good, maybe I will transcribe it for the blog. The last time I wrote in that thing was October last year. And then I started blogging and now all my thoughts go online. I should use my paper journal occasionally so that I can air those thoughts I don’t feel like being politically correct about, or those things I want to discuss about widowhood that I’m still too afraid to speak publicly about. No matter, this is what it is. And I’m on vacation until next Saturday.
My agenda this week is to climb Mt. Elbert and leave the ashes of my late cat-child, Tanya, on the mountain by the USGS marker where I placed Mike’s ashes in June 2001. If that is all I manage to accomplish this week, it will be enough. I used to leave my husband cards when I visited this site… I might leave him a letter or something this time. Tanya was his favorite cat. Whenever I was around, the cat forgot I existed. She mourned for him after he died. Really, she did. She wasn’t quite the same, either. She’d always been the typical cat–all snooty and aloof and perfect in her movements. Unlike my other cats, she was agile with the physique of a mini panther. Every jump she executed was perfect; she landed on every spot she intended to and never missed a mark.
Tanya never paid me much mind when Mike was around. She adored him and only he seemed to have the magical touch with her. If I tried to play with her in the same way he did, she would hiss at me. After he died, she warmed up to me a bit. And she could be affectionate when she wanted to be, she just was never as friendly as Nicki and Cleo (who I could swear were really dogs in their past lives).
Still, I loved her like, I suppose, a mother loves their dysfunctional child. She was my baby, I adopted her and took care of her. She patiently endured the torture of being trucked across the US to Colorado, and then back a year and a half later. She would curl up against me at night. Her purr was a steady low motor against my cheek.
I will never forget my first Christmas with Mike when I bought the cats (then only Tanya and Nicki) this toy that was a fishing pole with features at the end where you would place your bait. The toy had a mount for hanging it on the wall so that the feathers hung above the ground and the cats could jump at it without you having to do a thing to interact. We had that thing up for literally five minutes on our basement door. Nicki was performing incredible gymnastics trying to get at the feathers–twists and flips and twirls in the air. Tanya merely watched Nicki.
Then, Tanya jumped onto the TV set, higher up, which was just three feet from the basement door. She watched her sister’s gymnastics some more. Then, in one swift movement, she extended her front leg like a biped and, with her paw, reached the string on which the feathers were attached. She pulled the string to her mouth and bit the string right in two. The feathers dropped to the floor to Nicki’s stupified delight. And my present was broken.
Tanya understood physics. She was too smart for us humans. She also used to purposely knock over water glasses left on nightstands or tables or countertops. I’d seen her do it and it wasn’t an accident. She’d use her paw to knock it over and she’d watch it closely as it fell. She actually enjoyed washing things crash to the ground. I lost several wine glasses set to dry after washing this way…
I cried like a baby when she died in the late hours of September 22, 2006–Mike’s birthday, I kid you not. I liked to think he was calling her home, as corny as that sounds. As I stroked her stiff, cold body in the private room the vet sent me to in those last moments with her, I thought, Well, at least Mike has his kitty back. At least you aren’t alone.
I pictured Mike greeting her in the Light, and Tanya, sleek and beautiful, rubbing her delicate little head against his leg. He’d surely tussle her and the tuft of hair behind her neck would rise with excitement, her tail lashing like a whip as she rolled around trying to bite his finger (as was their game together).
Anyway, Mike and I would have been married 9 years on August 28th (which is why I like to climb this mountain in August). I would have gone down there to make the climb that week, but the Democratic National Convention is in Denver then and all my local friends warned me that it would be a disaster if I came up that week. Too much traffic, as if Denver didn’t already have enough, and probably a stiff hike in hotel rates.
Well, thus far in my life, I’ve never had a romantic relationship last even close to 9 years. It would have been nice. Some day, I’ll make it past three years. Or maybe not at all. Maybe I’ll be single forever… would that be so bad?
My dad is coming with me on this trip because he tried to climb Elbert once and had to turn back. Hopefully, we have great weather and both can make it up. We’ll be making our attempt on Thursday. If all goes well, we’ll be done by three. It’s not a technical climb–just a long, five mile hike upwards (nothing flat in Colorado). It usually takes me five hours up and three down. A nice long endurance day.
I’ll be missing my bike something fierce. My dad will probably go running every morning and he might try to talk me into going with him. How I hate running. Is there nothing more torturous? Bleh! But if that’s all the exercise I’m going to get, I’d better do it, for if I know my father, I will be enticed into a lot of liberal beer drinking…
When I get back, I’m thinking of meeting up with Michael who will be doing ABC’s Roscoe Ramble (which I sadly had to miss this year). I’m thinking of doing the route backwards from Canal Fulton as they come back up from Coshocton on Sunday. Depends on how jet-lagged and such I feel.
No big rides planned for the rest of August. Michael is going to Utah the week after I get back. I’ll have to scrounge up something in his absence. Kick up some dirt on my own. I will need to make up time… How am I going to get that 3000 by November?
Well, hope you all have a great time doing whatever it is you are doing this week… Even if it’s just working and hanging out in the blogosphere. Enjoy the last true month of summer. For what it’s worth.
I leave you with a spooky picture of one of the alien flowers (okay, Mom, pink Cleome)… Does it not look like an alien??