In this monochrome winter, all things colorful are dear to our hearts.
If ever there were a color worth cheering for, it would be orange.
Orange is tigers and lilies and Princeton. Orange is vitamin C and zest and life. Most importantly, orange is Eli.
But it’s been a long, cold road to full-on orange for Eli. Perhaps an aphorism will help explain.
My father was a master of the vaguely erudite, British-tinged one-liner, such as:
“Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.”
“We’ll weather the blast and land at last on Canaan’s happy shore.”
For our purposes, his most relevant exclamation would be:
“The <expletive> flew, and the wind blew, and you didn’t see Eli for a day or two.”
Since this is a family friendly blog, I will allow you to use your imagination for that first noun. (Somehow I think you will not have to dig too far in the garden of your mind.) Fortunately, Eli was not literally embedded in flying excrement. Unfortunately, if you substitute “snow” for that deleted noun, you have one very true story.
Somehow, during one of 2014’s storms, Eli ended up in a carrier…on a front stoop…in the snow.
The snow flew. The wind blew.
Nobody saw Eli for a day or two.
By the time a goodhearted somebody saw Eli’s carrier, all his orange was obscured by a mound of white. In the words of diabolically gleeful forecasters, this particular snow event had “overachieved,” leaving one cold marmalade cat in one snow-smothered carrier.
Happily, better circumstances were brewing, and Eli made it to Tabby’s Place. Other than his mandarin mane having become a bit wet and ragged,* the Aslan-like cat hadn’t suffered any ill effects — not even so much as a chip on his shoulder. He sauntered out of that cold carrier all debonair and delighted, loving and lolling and rolling and rumbling. “Ah, I’ve arrived,” he realized with overt delight. “Excellent. Oh, hello, folks. I love you. I LOVE YOU! Let’s roll around and around and around and then hug each other!”
We’ll never know quite how Eli ended up in that carrier on that stoop. He’s clearly put it behind him, forgiving in that complete way that only the pure in heart are capable of. Eli’s not lingering over grievances when the future is so very orange.
I would like to get to the point where I’m equally able to truly let go. I want to be so distracted by the glory of the present moment that yesterday’s annoyances are boring and buried. If Eli has no time to sulk, why should we? Why waste time stoking ugly sulfur unforgiveness fires when you could be waxing the ends of your twirly mustache, or handcrafting steampunk watch fobs, or loving and being loved in return?
Isn’t our future orange, too?
Eli’s story ends with a final flourish. When some AwesomeAdopters we’ll call Team Orange visited Tabby’s Place, no kitten on earth could have distracted them from nine-year-old Eli. Never was a hardship more forgotten than Eli’s the moment he met his family. He just went home with them today, and cold winds will never threaten his flame again.
Blaze on, orange king. The best is yet to come.
*OK, that evokes one last Dadism I must share:
“We might be ragged and funny; we might not have any money. But we’ll get along, singing our song, side by side.”
Here’s to the rad and the ragged of all species. Bright may we blaze.