Cats can move faster than we can, physically.
Cats can’t understand why we move so fast, mentally.
If you’re anything like me (and I’m afraid you are), you’re still trying to slow down a little after the election, the holidays, the year-end whirlwind, the year that was.
Maybe we’ve been trying to slow down far longer than that.
Cats and children know how to take life at a pace that allows breathing. Dunderheaded adults, not so much. Throw in a global pandemic and a gasping sea of uncertainty, and we all start paddling faster than a platypus choreographing a Cabaret routine.
Case in point: I recently thought a podcast was buffering just because the speaker paused for more than five or six seconds. Get on with it, man! my mind shrieked.
I could do with a lot less mental shrieking. Maybe you feel the same.
We should be looking for ways to slow down, but we’d need to slow down long enough to look. Fortunately, the cats witness our plight and have pity on us. (Benevolent rulers, they are.) And what they cannot teach in words, they demonstrate or demand in love.
You cannot run yourself ragged when Bucca has you pinned to the floor in a drooling pool of lap-overlapping love.
You cannot find a hundred things to worry about when Warren has found you, and used his telekinetic powers to force a brush into your hand for the spalike purposes of grooming him. (To clarify, this is spalike for you. Warren digs it, but you need it more than he does.)
You cannot work yourself into a frenzy of fears and plans and tomorrows when Blink is bringing you entirely into today, working her weird wild wonders just to get you to laugh.
And suddenly, you’re breathing again.
Your brain has the chance to buffer.
You stop mowing things down mentally long enough for flowers to grow. Even in the winter. Especially in the winter.
And the next thing you know, you’re noticing things you don’t need to understand, things that will feed you long beyond this courtesy-of-cats moment.
You see the way your finger is exactly the same width as Warren’s stripes.
You spot the way the late-morning light makes your child’s eyes especially blue.
You realize the inside of your church looks more beautiful on a winter morning than a summer one.
You learn that David Byrne’s “It’s Not Dark Up Here” can always make you feel at least a little better.
And then, if you’re a dunderheaded human adult, you forget it all again. You ramp back up to unsustainable speeds. Once again, you’re in need of remedial work.
Fortunately, cats never tire of teaching slow creatures like us to slow it down. May we learn, and may we see the light that the frantic will never find.