Very few things went “right” this year for a lot of people.
It’s been a year that has shaken us all out of our routines and forced me to love my home despite the floors than need refinishing and the flooded basement. I count myself lucky to have come through 2020 relatively unscathed.
I know this is the time of year where people traditionally make resolutions, set intentions, and plot out how they want the new year to unfold. I won’t be doing that this year. I may never do it again.
“Things will work out,” my Mom used to tell me when I got upset over things I couldn’t control. How can she be so sure?
She didn’t really know. Yet, despite her not knowing the English language very well, never having driven a car, and being used to living in the city, she married my dad and moved to the woods of Connecticut. That was 1967. They are still married. Things worked out.
And her mother didn’t know either. She had three children during World War II in the Netherlands, and endured her husband being taken away by the SS to a work camp. She endured and he came back. Sometimes things really work out.
I’ve come to understand that things will work out the way they will work out. Acceptance is the path of least resistance.
And a few things actually did work out this year.
After a slight delay at an auto shop in Laurel, Maryland and some new brakes… I made it to Connecticut to visit my parents for Christmas. This was not without its challenges. I traveled with my kitten, Captain Pickles because I feared leaving her alone for a few days would render my couch a pile of upholstery shredded to bits.
We made it to Baltimore before the howling and other feine-in-distress sounds started. They were so piercing that I missed my exit off of 295 and ended up in a sketchy warehouse district.
As I idled by the welding shop on the side of the road, I made an executive decision. She was to roam free in the car. A bold move. I had decided that Things will work out.
After 20 minutes of exploring and crawling under the seats, she settled into my lap. She stayed curled up on my lap through all of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. Things worked out.
Things really worked out a day later when my Mom started hollering for me to come to the window!!!
There, in the dusk of the backyard were three black bears. A momma and her two almost full grown cubs.
I had been waiting almost five years to see the infamous bears that roam the hilly and woody terrain of my parents neighborhood.
I almost didn’t believe they existed.
But there they were. A magical Christmas gift for me, Captain Pickles, and my parents. We all stood watching safely from the window as they approached the bird feeders.
My father made a clanking noise with a wooden stick on the tile floor. The sound was enough to deter Mamma from going any further towards the feeders. She turned around and walked back towards the woods. Her two cubs diligently followed her.
This year there has been a lot of uncertainty. But things worked out. So, instead of a grand list of things I’d like to accomplish in 2021 or a resolution for grander things, I’m going to stick with: Things will work out the way they will work out.
That’s where the adventure is anyway.
Happy New Year’s Everyone.
Meet Pickles! Modified to Captain Pickles after I realized she could sail around the room, jumping four feet from bookcase to dining room table without twitching a whisker.
I did not want a cat. I wanted a dog. COVID house arrest had me applying to various shelters and rescue groups. I had a dog for 13 years. Petie was my constant companion. I know the joys and comforts of owning a dog. They are loyal, they are forever by your side... forever able to take in whatever kind of day you are having. Perfect for my grumpiness over being stuck at home!
I applied to three different shelters. I got the same answer from all: There is a waitlist. Apparently, everyone else had the same great idea that I had. Evidence was popping up all around me. On my daily walks, I noticed WAY more hound dogs in the neighborhood. Apparently, the hound dog rescue group has been busy.
I put the dog search on the back burner. A week later, a friend I hadn't heard from in a while texted me and said a woman she knew had a cat she was trying to rehome.. and was I interested?
Hmmm.. a cat? In my mind, they are second class citizens to dogs. Aloof, independent, only cuddly when they want to be... What would I do with a cat, I thought?
But I contacted the woman anyway. She sent me a photo of the cat: black, with a white tipped tail. She called him Tippy. I contemplated. I mused. I tuned in to my intuition. I passed. I just wasn't sure about the cat thing. I knew dogs were THE BEST COMPANIONS EVER. And a cat... well...
A few more months passed. Each time I went for a walk, I longingly looked at the dogs and their human companions.
My neighbor Mario found a dog left at the local dog park and brought it home. I offered to take the dog until the owner could be found. For two hours, I doted over this dog. I made plans with this dog. Then, the owner showed up. I was slightly crushed.
Where was my animal companion?
A few weeks later on my local community listserv a neighbor announced: A friend of mine found two kittens in the woods. She'd like to find a home for them. Contact me, if interested.
Something nudged me. I talked to the woman who had found them. She had one kitten remaining. She sent me a photo. Something about THIS cat made me say yes, immediately. I just knew I had to take this one and it would be o.k.
She delivered the kitten to my door, complete with a makeshift litter box from a shoe box.
The first day, the kitten sniffed my toes and then retreated to her corner. But over the next few weeks, she started coming out of her shell.
And as she did, I was glad I followed my intuition to take THIS cat.
Captain Pickles has been nothing but a constant surprise to me.
She's more like a dog... following me around the house from room to room, hanging out in the kitchen with me while I am cooking (not even my dog did that!). She's cuddly, constantly purring and mewing and seeking attention and touch.
She likes her belly rubbed.
She greets me every morning when I wake up. She runs down the stairs ahead of me as I slowly stumble down to get my coffee.
She talks to me a lot. I talk back. She causes chaos. My house now looks like a kitten playground. There are toys everywhere.
I'm in kitten love. And I’m glad I said yes, to THIS cat.
Looking at the world from above the fray. Houkje writes about following her intuition, observerations on the magic of the natural world, and navigating creativity and chaos in an uncertain world.