There was this moment
when your steps
took a different path from ours,
that is the truth that we can see
recorded in the snow
captured by the photograph.
yet you live on in us
and the others you have touched
in so many ways.
Yesterday was a sad day. Ginger, who has been a part of our lives here for several years slipped quietly away from us as we sat with him at the vet. He had been active and healthy until very recently, but rapidly lost weight and became ill. Tests showed that his kidneys had failed, and he also had a large mass inside that was probably cancer. I think he caught his last mouse about 3 days before he died.
Ginger's first owner said that "Ginger always thought he was a person". And she was quite right. He was a wonderful companion, and enjoyed the strange world of a pottery. I don't think he ever broke a pot, which is remarkable, and he took a professional interest in my wood firings, and would keep us company in the wee small hours of the night when we sat by the kiln.
He was a great ratter and defender of our property against adult cats, and dogs..., but Nigella Stopit got round his defences as a kitten when she decided that she would come to live here, and she shadowed him everywhere, until he actually became fond of her. Ginger taught Nigella Stopit to hunt, and would bring her mice to play with. When she was very young, he would even use her to "flush out" mice for him to dispatch from under furniture where he could not reach.
Some cats are very independent in nature and seem unable to give much affection, Ginger was quite the opposite, and had a caring and friendly nature. He loved to sit on shoulders and be carried around. He and I had a little walk that we would do together some evenings. He would trot to our back gate and we would walk out together to the corner at the end of the road. Me strolling slowly down the footpath, and he following a pace behind, threading his way with nimble steps on the kerb. We would stop occasionally for him to savour strange smells, or for him to have a dust bath in a patch of dry dirt. Sometimes Nigella Stopit would follow us, 20 or 30 good human paces behind.
At the end of the street, Ginger would walk closer to me, look up, and, more often then not, extend a paw as he did when he wanted to be carried. I would scoop him up and he would sit on my right shoulder, always that side, and would lean into me, vibrating gently with joyful purrs. Then I would retrace my steps, and he would revel in the sights that he could see from this new altitude. We would stop and peer into bushes, and over the fence into the field where he often hunted. I would chat to him, and he would purr.
There has been a time of tears here, and it will take a while to adjust. We did so expect to have Ginger around for many more years. Yet I am happy remembering Ginger as I write this, and feel so fortunate to have known him at all. Our kind thoughts go out to the family that he lived with before he moved in with us.