He-who-shall-not-be-named testified this week in his New York fraud trial. Horrific fighting between Israel and Hamas entered its second month. Environmental groups around the world began revving their bases’ engines in preparation for the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference, which kicks off in two weeks. 

And there’s a cat in my lap.

The CDC reported this week that the number of American newborns with syphilis shot up exponentially over the last ten years. House Republicans continued to disagree about funding the government when its current funding expires on Nov. 17. Some of Tuesday’s state elections focused on protecting abortion rights, legalizing pot, and shielding the richest from a “wealth tax.”

I don’t have a cat. I used to, but he’s been gone for over 15 years. He was a great cat, but this one? She’s not mine.

The Supreme Court began considering this week whether violent domestic abusers should be allowed to possess firearms. The American Library Association reported that book bans – and attempted bans – have hit record highs. After almost two years of war, about one-fifth of Ukraine is occupied by Russia.

The cat made her first appearance in my backyard a year ago and wanted nothing to do with my visiting family, who called to her from the fire pit. I figured she had snuck under the fence from a neighboring house. I didn’t see her again for months. Until this summer.

She returned, and she had company. A tiny striped kitten followed along, wide-eyed and very wary. Over several visits, the two built up the courage to climb the stairs and lounge in my deck chairs. The kitten was still nursing, and Mama didn’t seem to mind my presence.

Over three months, the duo made occasional appearances in the deepest part of the back yard, on the back deck, and even on my front porch. The kitten doubled in size and grew to appreciate a gentle pat and tug on the ears. She doesn’t accompany Mama anymore – I haven’t seen her in weeks. And the fact that a neighbor recently shared a video of two coyotes walking in front of my house in broad daylight doesn’t bode well.

But Mama has become a regular solo visitor. She now loves to be pet and circles around my legs until she’s gotten all the affection she can stand. I’ve begun rewarding her with a small bowl of milk, and I think she’s hooked. Now she looks through my glass kitchen door, waiting for an invitation inside. It’s not going to happen. She’s not my cat.

Earlier this week, on a picture-perfect afternoon, Mama jumped into my lap, stretched herself out with her chin resting on my wrist, and fell asleep. I took the picture you see here to prove to others that it really happened. Even as the news of the world whirled around my head, I became singularly aware of this fellow being, this life source, this trusting visitor. I watched her breathe, stroked her neck, and felt her lightness on my lap. Amidst all the troubling news, she was a furry comfort, and I rested in the warm brilliance of “the interdependent web of all existence.” 

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JOURNEY WITH US: The Climate Action Team is for you. Yes, you. Because you want to act on your love for the planet and because you need caring companions as you navigate these changing times. Learn all about the group here, and check out our lending library and Carbon Offset Fund. Contact Nicole Haines to connect to the CAT and join us for our next Zoom meeting on Nov. 20 at 7:30 PM using this meeting link.