Made of stories

Made of stories

I would like to kiss the New Year, but I can’t reach that high.

I would like to glimpse what’s next, but I can’t open my eyes that wide.

So I will simply sit here, on the floor, with the cats, telling stories.

All the countdowns (2023’s best books, worst mullets, most sensational slipper-socks, et al) might convince us that we are made of time. But take it from a species who cannot lie: we are made of stories.

We are made of Prescott, the comet who fell from January and landed in quicksand. There was no prologue or opening poem, just bold letters in a gaudy font: “incompatible with life.” But love grabbed all the magic and markers and ran down the New England coast. We kept vigil and kept stubborn and kept believing that death would drop its prey. Prescott was alive at dawn. Prescott is our precious queen. Prescott will jump the line to greet a very different January.

We are made of Rose and Reese and Allie and Possum and Crinkle Bob, the furies of February who left us weeping on the ground. It was almost too much. It was almost enough to make us guard our hearts, raise the drawbridge, fill the moat with alligators. But we can only honor our loves by loving. We have yet to meet everyone we will adore, everyone who will adore us. We find ourselves back on our feet. We find our friends are still with us, somehow.

We are made of letters and syntax, un-pronounceables that turn un-scary when they grow faces: F-e-L-V. It is no longer the disease most feared, no more an entry in the encyclopedia of woe. It is Oram, the oversized orb who owns the title to the word “slaphappy.” It is Sammy, the daystar. It is Puff, the magic shag carpet who will fly you over your own fears back to tenderness. It is friends who are fully alive, and folks brave enough to learn new languages. It is a-d-o-p-t-a-b-l-e, written in gold by Miriel and Boba and Espresso and Andy and Poncey and more.

We are made of Snowy, the cat courageous enough to grieve and to receive a second chapter.

We are made of Mika, the dancing girl.

We are made of Eartha, eccentricity summoning the elements.

We are made of Sky, airborne on unconditional acceptance, solid beside his Audrey.

We are made of Arthur, the king who reigns evermore over gentle beings.

We are made of Harriet, maned in glory, beginning again.

We are made of AwesomeAdopters, the species that saves the world.

We are made of mystery, the genre best suited to our survival. The price of sardines and sneakers soared. The year yelped threats. The Tabby’s Place family sang louder, in the crystal key of compassion.

You cherished the kittens more than your own comfort. You dropped your plans so you could hold the broken. You opened Quinn’s Corner with the grandeur reserved for the gentle. You carried four thousand cats on your backs for twenty years. You gave and you gave and you gave and you gave, and you wrote and you wrote and you wrote and you wrote, and again we find ourselves on page one.

We are all beginning again.

My arms cannot open that wide, but they can link with yours, and Rashida‘s, and Chicken Nugget‘s, and Paterson’s, and Prescott’s.

We are made of stories, so I say we make up our minds right now, before the next beginning begins.

We will love 2024.

We will permit it to love us, even when all its waves break over us, even when we fear that no dawn will ever break into song again.

We will not despair, not as long as there are pages in the book, not as long as there are faces we have yet to love.

We will not let go of each other’s arms and tails.

We welcome you, little year. We are good at loving little ones here. We will take care of you. We will read you our storybook. We cannot wait to meet your characters.

Pictured top to bottom, just a few of the cats of 2023: Fantasia, Rashida, Rose, Miriel, Mika, Arthur, Prescott

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