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happy birthday; do not forget us
august 02, 2001
the shadows of our kittens
"Je suis désolé, mais je n'ai pas le choix
Je suis désolé, mais la vie me demande ça."

~ Mark Knophler

One year ago very early in the morning, Edsel and I discovered a family of newborn kittens in the room overlooking the Victorian Garden.

Their round ears were creased over like little envelopes. Small, inexplicable fold marks across the bridge of their noses made them seem newly assembled. With eyes pinched shut, their faces had sweet, perplexed expressions. And their paws, they were most remarkable. Like miniature human hands.

They pulled themselves, froglike, across the soft sheepskin we laid out for them and constantly toppled over though they were already stretched out as flat as could be. They spoke in rubbery squeaks, like rubbing your thumb on the surface of a balloon.

Any one of these kittens would fit easily in the palm of your hand. They altered our lives forever.

At 6:30 this morning, we stood in the Kitten Room and drank a toast to our kittens. Raised glasses of milk and said skol.

Snooples and Chessie joined us, a year old now but still dainty, like does. The four of us watched the daylilies and hollyhocks nodding in the gardens outside the Kitten Room window.

Little Rabbit and Nosegay, though, they are far away. Their distance from us is infinite in that we will not see them again. Not until we join up once more and for always in the great menagerie that awaits us and a lifetime of friends.

So we sent them their birthday wishes out across the gardens; past the farms, the meadows, and the woods; over Bald Eagle mountain ridge; off to somewhere beyond.

The happiest of birthdays, Little Ones. Do not forget us. We will never, ever forget you.

Photo: shadows of our kittens
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