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Some things I learned from my cats…

Posted By Beth Terry On April 24, 2008 @ 10:45 pm In Expired,Personal Musings | 12 Comments

Just a few thoughts tonight before signing off for the week. I was watching Soots and Arya (or Suit Scenario, as Axelle calls them) examine the common objects of their lives. They chew on cords. They bat at invisible specks. They jump onto the kitchen counter and invariably knock things off. They drag balls of yarn through the house, creating intricate and artistic messes that I have to clean up. They are way too curious about curly CFL lightbulbs for my comfort, and, as I mentioned yesterday, they are ruining the window blinds in their fascination with all things that move, swing, or make noise.

They are terribly curious and examine every object in their world with fierce intensity. And yet as much as they study and even learn the behaviors of certain objects, for the most part, they will never, ever understand why those objects are here in their world and what they are for. They bumble and break things and don’t understand what they have done.

And we, as their humans, get exasperated but love them unconditionally. We do understand the purpose of the lamp or the ball of yarn or the pull cord or the cloth pantiliner (oh yeah, Arya loves dragging my freshly laundered cloth pantiliners out of the basket and having her way with them, and Michael loves to let her do it cuz he thinks it’s funny and cuz he’s the good cop and can’t bear to say no.) We know that the cats will never understand, and we love them anyway.

Now think about humans. Aren’t we kinda like cats, toying with the universe, poking and prodding and testing and trying to understand, and oftentimes breaking things and creating all kinds of environmental messes in the process? I’m not saying we shouldn’t study and try to learn as much as we can. But shouldn’t we also admit that the universe is way too complex for any of us to ever understand fully? And shouldn’t we have a little humility and awe for the intricacy of the world and quit thinking we can just take it apart and put it back together?

And now I’m going out on a limb here because I have said before that I’m not religious and don’t have any specific belief in any god or “higher power.” But what if there is some higher consciousness aware of all of this, watching us the way we watch the cats, and laughing and loving us just the same? What if we’re all doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing right now? Me blogging about plastic and recycling and eating chocolate and staying up all night. Others driving SUVs or shopping at the farmer’s market or logging old growth forests or studying stem cells or mining coltan or tutoring children? What if we’re all just doing the very best we can, bumbling along, arrogant or humble or a combination of both? And what if that’s okay?

Now don’t freak out and think I’m letting anyone off the hook. On a personal level, I’m driven to care for the earth in a particular way and to be part of a movement urging others to learn to care as well. All I’m saying is that there are vast complexities at work in the universe about which none of us has a clue. Why is the universe here in the first place? Not how did it get here, Big Bang and all that, but why? I don’t think it’s a question humans will ever be able to answer. Just like cats, we can figure out how some things work. We have learned about processes like evolution which explain how everything developed. But I don’t think our brains can ever comprehend why the material world should exist at all. So it’s nice to feel that perhaps we are part of something big and mysterious that loves and encompasses all of our perfect imperfections.

And now I’m going to take my perfectly imperfect self to bed.

P.S. I killed all the ads for new cars on Fake Plastic Fish, even though they paid pretty well. Did you notice? They were depressing me and not in keeping with the spirit of this site. Toyota doesn’t need me advertising the Prius, hybrid or not. I wish I could get Walking and its sister Biking to pay me to advertise. Oh well. I’ll settle for Zip Car.

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