I can’t tell you much about Wordle.
Not the game: savage Scrabbler, Boggler, and Bananagrammer though I am, I have no little green and yellow squares to show you.
Not the cat: he has arrived just one hour hence.
But I can tell you a thing or two about what words can and cannot do.
Words cannot capture the love you feel for a creature you’ve met just one hour hence.
Words flap their arms if you ask them to make sense of mercy.
Words scratch their scruffy, shaggle-haired heads if you try to explain that love bends time and breaks rules and bursts through the walls of your heart like the Kool-Aid man.
Words are weak, but love is strong.
This is coming from a woman who has hitched my star to the word-wagon since shortly after birth. I’m told I was a scrunched pink siren of a creature until I could speak, at which point I became incandescently happy and unshuttupable.
But there’s a time to yammer, and a time to just gaze.
Words are a blanket and a basilica, a parade and a pontoon boat that can take us far. But they can’t take us everywhere, and we can’t take them with us on certain shores.
Today our toes are scrunching in sacred sand, so I’ll let my words be few.
We have just welcomed one Wordle Rosenberg, a world of trouble wrapped in silver fur and springtime secrets. Words wrap his story only loosely, a threadbare layer of breathless details: he was crossing a highway. The lilacs were blooming. The cars were careless. The angels were leaning in very close. One of them took human form, and opened the dictionary to Selfless, and shot into time and traffic and the place where words and wishes run out.
From there, it was a short trip across the galaxy to Tabby’s Place, a gabby place on an ordinary day, a place that knows its place in the order of things, the place for the displaced and distressed and dispossessed and despairing.
I reserve this last word for the likes of you and me, because cats don’t do despair.
If a cat could or should, it might be Wordle. We don’t know much of the grey gnome with the tear-glittered eyes, but what we do know is hard: he’s dehydrated. He’s anemic. He’s emaciated. His liver is, in the words of our beloved Senior Vet Tech Denise, she who minces no words, “angry.”
But the cat is not angry.
The cat is whispering.
The cat is a wordless testament to the world beyond words, the gentle planet far beyond the reach of our shouty space junk and self-important satellites. The cat, a wisp of a wonder of a Wordle, is sweetness and patience, presence and gratitude, eyes and essence, need and dignity.
The cat is commanding our hearts before we even know his favorite flavor of fish mush.
Can we really fall in love so fast?
Yes, at least, we can at Tabby’s Place, where it’s such captains and commodores we heed and need. My word, how we need them.
In less than an hour, Wordle wound friendship bracelets around our hearts, all while untying the knots we tell ourselves we need. When you’ve fallen in immediate, irrevocable love with a creature, solely because he’s here and you’re here and the great wide mystery has given you to each other, all the lesser, louder things fall silent.
Wordle needs us, and I can’t yet tell you what that will look like. I can’t tell you what his future holds, whether he’ll break our hearts or breakdance on Spaghetti and Doby‘s heads once he’s feeling better. I can’t tell you if he’s obsessed with roller derby or regularly scores over 500 at Scrabble. I can’t even tell you if he likes provolone cheese.
Good thing love tells its own tale without my help.
Today, I can tell you what full-sun life is supposed to look like, and it’s an awful lot like Tabby’s Place.
It’s an awful lot like my coworkers, working their wonders on a cat they already love as much as if he’d arrived a billion hours hence.
It’s an awful lot like the Angel of Traffic, thundering past Subarus and Buicks to save a life.
It’s an awful lot like the lilacs who sing without speaking, and the love that gives without calculating, and the cat whose coming has given us great silver gallons of grace.
I can’t tell you much about Wordle, but Wordle can tell us much about who we’re meant to be.