Thursday, July 1, 2010

Who Came First?

I can still remember that much-anticipated moment, once a week during my freshman year at Wellesley, when my favorite art-history professor would stride onto the stage in the art center's auditorium and whisper dramatically into the microphone, “May I have the first two slides, please?”

The slide projectionist accepted her cue, and reproductions of two works of art filled the big screen quickly. "Let's compare and contrast the Mondrian and the Matisse." The opportunity to study works of art--their similarities and their differences--was new and exciting, and I got hooked on the visual exercise very fast.

I think of our ten cats more as furry people than as works of art. But an advertisement in a recent issue of Antiques magazine caused me to do a double-take. I stopped flipping through the pages to examine a full-page image of a cat doorstop by Oscar Peterson, the American sculptor hailed as the “master carver of Michigan.” The cat depicted resembles Lucius on the day we found him in our backyard, crouching on the wooden deck rail. He was emaciated and wounded, and too scared to move.

As I stared at the ad, I couldn’t help but wonder if, in one of his nine lives, Lucius was an artwork carved from wood, dating to about 1930. Or did the artwork spring to life as the stray cat we named Lucius, appearing in 2000?

This weekend marks our ten-year anniversary of rescuing Lucius, who came to us first and paved the way for more cats to arrive, and even more to follow, and for eventually nine other felines to join our family.

As we celebrate our nation’s independence this coming holiday weekend, I also will commemorate the start of my new personal decade of codependence with Lucius. He will always be the first among felines, and forever joined to my hip.


Query of the Day: Do you, too, cherish codependence with your cats?

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