Say hello to Onyx, my beautiful black domestic shorthair. Sadly, I had to say goodbye to him early in the year when cancer claimed him prematurely. We had 13 wonderful years together, an interesting number for a black cat now that I think about it. During that time, Onyx taught me several things, foremost among them patience. Cats have an endless supply of that all-elusive, mystical quality.
A cat can outwait time.
Onyx had two favorite diversions (aside from the cat-popular sun-bathing and sleeping): chasing shadows and stalking whatever colorful trinket I dangled in front of him. He’d crouch behind a piece of furniture (the African bush), tail swishing, waiting for the precise moment to spring. Trust me. There are only so many ways to make a glittering neon green ‘twirly stick’ festooned with feathers seem like enticing prey. I swear there were times when he waited for the planets to align!
I always thought I was patient, but Onyx showed me I’m reactionary at heart. Like most people, I’m used to instant results. Whether I’m Googling information, nuking veggies in the microwave, or 1-clicking my Kindle for an e-book download, I rarely have to wait more than a few seconds. Technology is great, but it’s made me into a fidgety wreck when the world slows down. God forbid I’d have stand in line for a teller at the bank rather than use the MAC machine; get stuck with a slow internet connection, or be restricted from fast forwarding through commercials when using On Demand (who made that taboo anyway?). I remember when nuking a potato for eight minutes seemed like a godsend. Now it’s eight minutes too long.
I need to be more like Onyx. Slow down. Pause. Study. Appreciate.
I do it with writing, choosing just the right word for a snippet of dialogue or a passage of descriptive prose. I take my time. I listen to the music of the sentences and how they flow together. I don’t rush. I savor.
We live in a fast-forward world and that makes it easy to get derailed. Sometimes, we need to press ‘stop’ and be the feline in the grass. My cat, the sage. He had it together.
Which is why I’m going to chill with a book later today and savor my downtime.
What do you do when you need to unwind?