If you were to ask Leo Tolstoy, spring is the time for new projects.
If you were to ask Sparkly, Leo should have gotten a jump-start in winter.
You’ve not read much about Sparkly on this blog. That’s been by design — Sparkly’s design. Spurning her look-at-me name, the round little black cat lived her days out of the spotlight, under the radar, just beyond your reach. Only the luckiest could so much as catch a glimpse of her secret sparkle, the wispy white locket above her heart. And Sparkly’s heart, we feared, was forever out of reach.
We couldn’t blame Sparkly for her severe scaredness. She’d just lost her beloved human, the one member of our species who’d ever broken through to tickle her with love and touch and true connection. Such a bond brooks no comparison, no competitor. And so, resigned to life in the shadow of loss, Sparkly walked the shadows and sidelines of Tabby’s Place.
There were incandescent exceptions, great flashes of light over the years. One young man made it his mission to snuggle Sparkly, and he succeeded, a true and trusted friend, the only one. But then his life changed, and he could no longer volunteer with us. Again, Sparkly was severed from her sole soulmate. Life is fragile and frightening when all your eggs are in one earth-basket.
So it was time for a project, no need to wait for spring.
Sparkly was going to give and receive love, come what may.
It can be startling when a cat makes a “decision” like this, going from Fluffy-fearful to Adam-affectionate in the glimmer of an eye. But Sparkly stepped into a long and honorable line of courageous cats when she let herself shine. First, she was staying out in the solarium while frightful beasts (e.g. you, me, Jimmy Fallon) were in sight. Next, she was letting her love flow with other cats. We’d thought her a loner, only to find her lounging all lovey-luscious with Carrot and company.
And then it came, the day when she shattered that shell. First just a thread of light shot forth, then a ribbon. Before you could say “sparkle plenty,” the onetime contender for the title of Most Fearful Cat At Tabby’s Place was allowing, enjoying, adoring our touch.
The cat who’d seemed born to trouble was trying new things.
Sparkly’s project is ongoing. That’s as it should be. Opening your heart to hurt and wonder, love and loss, is the work and rework of a lifetime. But if you’ve been loved well, don’t let go, kittens. Keep your hand to the plow, your heart cracked at least a little, and sparkle plenty. You are born for more love than you can fathom.