I hear that in Narcotics Anonymous, they advise people starting or re-starting recovery to avoid taking a lover. Human relationships are complicated and fraught. First, start with a plant. If you can keep a plant alive and healthy, then you might be ready to adopt an animal. If you can care for the animal for a good while, then you might open to the possibility of a romantic partner.
In some ways, companions are mirrors for our own behavior. Can we water a plant faithfully? Can we walk a dog consistently, and clean out a cat litter box regularly? Can we respond reliably to the needs of another being?
And in other ways, companions remain true to their own nature. For instance, if a cactus plant needs to be constantly avalanched with sunlight, it might just go ahead and die in our small dark Seattle apartment. No matter how tender our plantly serenades, or how perfectly calibrated our soil-dampening schedule, this thing needs sun, and sun we ain’t got.
Last week I brought home three Haworthia plants, of a genus native to Southern Africa. I’m not sure how well they’ll do in our house: one on the kitchen windowsill, one on the dining table, and one in our bedroom, brightening our meditation space (which I’ve temporarily surrendered to a small but persistent faction of the invasive Argentine ant supercolony that has overtaken the West Coast).
On Thursday, Ryan and I went to the Berkeley city animal shelter with our friends Kate and Rane, and after hours of tough deliberation (so many cats to love = virtually impossible to select just one), signed the paperwork for a semi-feral black kitten, two months old. She’ll be spayed Monday morning and then come home with us, sequestered in the bathroom until she gets comfortable enough with us, her bed, litter box, etc., to finally roam the apartment. I hope she likes it here.
So yeah, co-adopting an animal. How adult-like. It’s nearly two years that Ryan and I have been together, including nine months in this apartment. He’s lived with a partner before. First time for me. I watch myself adjusting to coupledom.
[To be continued . . .]
Take that kitty to bed! Who adapts to being locked in a fucking bathroom??!!
lol Roger, I think it’s good so that the kitten learns not to run away and hide at the back of the closet or under the bed, where we’ll never see her again! First she can get used to a small space, and feel like it’s hers. Don’t worry, we made a nice cozy bed for her. I think she’ll enjoy some homemade and store-bought toys, and soon come to appreciate the barrage of human affection and touch.
Best of luck with the new kitten, and thank you for sharing so bravely about that which you are nurturing. xo